by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Neoconservatives, who were in many ways the dominant foreign policy manufacturers of the 1970s through the 2000s, never had much of a popular constituency. There were never tens of millions of Americans who identified as neocons, nor is it clear that a whole lot of Americans actually agreed with their philosophy of globally and neverendingly exerting American might.
What they did have was a constituency of institutional power, at times including both political parties. This is what made their preferred policies dominant.
Likewise, it seems unlikely that the Justice Democrats, and their avatar Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, represent the beliefs of many Americans outside of our bluest, farthest left enclaves. They haven’t flipped any districts. But what they do have is an outsized constituency of cultural power. Among those who create and maintain our culture, their beliefs are disproportionally represented, just as the neocons were in the foreign policy establishment.
On the surface, both of these situations appear to be problematic and deeply anti-democratic. If most Americans didn’t think they never saw a bombing they didn’t like, and most Americans don’t believe there are 72 genders, then why should these attitudes become dominant in foreign policy and culture? The answer lies with America itself.