Sorry, but those polls on what people call themselves are worthless. How many people, if asked on the spot, could give a decent definition of what a conservative, liberal, libertarian or socialist is? I’d be shocked if 10%. Look at the actual polls on issues, the public takes positions on issues that are solidly on the left, almost across the board. In fact, self-identified Tea Party folks take positions on some issues that are 100% in opposition to their own stated philosophy. Some of them have taken to proclaim that the government should keep its hands off their Medicare. People make fun of them for saying that, as if they don’t realize that Medicare is a government program. I think that’s a mistake, they obvious do and don’t want the state to mess with a program that works already.
Single payer right now has a strong majority support from the public, even though one party is entirely against the idea, the other is divided (at least), and the media is openly hostile to single payer. Almost no one in power supports the idea, yet the public still supports it. Far more people support single payer, and far more people oppose “free trade” deals, and far more people oppose cutting taxes on the rich, than the percentage of those that self-identify with the left ideologically. The right has won the label war, but their ideas suck and are deeply unpopular. Any half way decent and progressive party would take these amazing starting positions and drive long-overdue structural change through. Problem is, the Democrats are corrupt and aren’t going to undermine the interests of their top donors. It’s also why they won’t do anything at the WTO about intellectual property to benefit the public and not corporate interests, why they won’t fight to allow government agencies to use their economies of scale to negotiate down drug prices and why they won’t even fight for the right to re-import drugs. That’s how pathetic our system and the Democrats are. We can save money by re-importing drugs, drugs produced here and bought elsewhere, but won’t even do that. Don’t tell me that is because of some polls showing people calling themselves this or that.
Beyond that, does the left continue to just write off large parts of the country without at least trying to offer them an actually leftist platform? It isn’t as if the national party has even given them that option in decades, or that the neoliberal Southern Democrats have often pushed for candidates offering progressive policy stances. Maybe they’d fail (although that wouldn’t be certain, given that the positions of the left on bread and butter issues are wildly popular), but it seems that tons of people in the unDemocratic Party don’t want to even bother. Let’s just accept the situation and assume nothing can change. Say, how many people in those Southern areas don’t even bother voting? Hell, almost half of Texas didn’t even bother voting this last election. If the wining candidate won 60% of the vote, they’d still only have support from about 30% of the voting age population. Again, the left’s platform isn’t on the table and the left’s ideas are popular. Seems like there’s some obvious lessons here.