Citizens, not victims: Why Americans aren't shifting left

I think the larger mistake the Obama Democrats have made is that they suppose ordinary voters want government to channel more money in their direction.

They’re not the only ones to take this view. In the Bush years, thoughtful conservatives — David Frum, Ross Douthat, and Reiham Salam — noted that most people’s real incomes had not been rising and wrote books calling for government policies to bolster their incomes.

But ordinary Americans don’t want money as much as they want honor. They want what the chance to achieve what American Enterprise Institute president Arthur Brooks calls “earned success.”…

They want public policies that enable them to earn success, and they resent policies that channel money to the politically well-positioned or to those who have not made decisions and taken actions necessary for earned success. They want to be empowered, not patronized.