How Pacifist Was the Last Anti-War Movement?
By Bryan Caplan
many antiwar Democrats saw the election of President Barack Obama as
a sufficient victory for their cause and withdrew from the streets.
The researchers conducted 5,398 surveys at 27 antiwar protests from
January 2007 through December 2009. They also interviewed movement
leaders and conducted ethnographic observations. The largest protest
during that period occurred on Jan. 27, 2007, and drew over 100,000
people, by the researchers’ count. By October 2009, however, protests
were drawing mere hundreds (which is about where they’ve remained).
What changed? During the period studied, the proportion of
protesters who identified themselves as Democrats dropped from about
50% to roughly 20%…
…Democrats viewed the
election of President Obama as a victory per se, while
nonpartisan protesters were more attuned to policy continuities. Such
continuities as–well, the wars not ending, and the one in Afghanistan
I do wonder, though, why Lyndon Johnson’s Democratic identity and leftist domestic policies failed to prevent massive opposition to the Vietnam War. Sure, it’s a lot more plausible for Obama to say, “Bush started the war, I’m just trying to finish it,” than it would have been for Johnson to say the same about Eisenhower. But since when have partisans of any stripe balked at implausible excuses?