Brad Carson lost his bid for the Senate in Oklahoma earlier this month and just now I read his essay in The New Republic (11/22/04, p. 34) addressing the moral issues which keep hurting Democrats in Red States. Some editors and writers have told me how much they admire Carson's willingness to embrace difficult truths. Excerpt:
For the vast majority of Oklahomans--and, I would suspect, voters in other red states--these transcendent cultural concerns are more important than universal health care or raising the minimum wage or preserving farm subsidies. Pace Thomas Frank, the voters aren't deluded or uneducated. They simply reject the notion that material concerns are more real than spiritual or cultural ones. The political left has always had a hard time understanding this, preferring to believe that the masses are enthralled by a "false consciousness" or Fox News or whatever today's excuse might be. But the truth is quite simple: Most voters in a state like Oklahoma--and I venture to say most other Southern and Midwestern states--reject the general direction of American culture and celebrate the political party that promises to reform or revise it.