Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Why are the Republicans so weird?

David Seaton's News Links
This blog post, by the excellent Thomas Edsall, makes some very interesting points about the make-up of the Republican electorate. In the GOP’s South Carolina primary, 98% of those who voted were white: this in a state where nearly 28% of the population is black. Republican voters are also relatively old: 72% in South Carolina were over the age of 45. Could it be that some of the panic and anger among Republican voters is because they fear that “their” country is slipping away from them. Gideon Rachman - Financial Times
For someone who came to consciousness of the difference between Democrats and Republicans in the age of Eisenhower, the current metamorphosis of the GOP into the party of cranks and grinches and Gingriches is dismaying.
When I was a boy the Republicans that lived around me were mostly pallid, though vigorous, high church Episcopalians, solid, smug types who struggled mightily with golf and sedately clipped stock coupons. As to the younger ones, crew cuts and white bucks, energetically embalmed in stifling, Pat Booney squareness come immediately to mind.
Certainly a Mormon, no matter how enamored of money, and conventional in every other way, would have been an outlier in the extremely Republican, Chicago North Shore of my youth... Not to imagine the likes of the indescribably corrupt and lewd Newt Gingrich or a Rick Santorum that would have Joseph Ratzinger vetting the US Constitution.
I cannot think of a better bellwether of America's malaise then that of the party of the formerly priggish, self-contented, self-righteous, self-satisfied, conventional and sensible becoming the party of the paranoiac, the exasperated and the kooky. DS


walt said...

I have a Republican friend who in moments of embarrassment says "I'm really more of a libertarian". But he is so culturally identified as a Republican (i.e., white, pro-business, Christian) that he keeps voting the label even after it has moved downscale. The key to understanding the GOP is that there is no majority without the white working class now. That's their Faustian bargain. It means Joe the Plumber running for Congress and Olympia Snowe leaving it. It entails near-constant racialist hysteria (witness Trayvon Martin), and tweaking a maudlin sense of victimhood (witness Rush Limbaugh). The GOP is fully imprisoned inside its own success. They did the impossible, getting union workers to vote against Democrats and Baptists to think abortion was the world's greatest evil. But the price they pay is a party now more a punchline to a bad joke. Republicans have so damaged their brand that Donald Trump tried to host one of their debates. This is the party of comb-overs, kitschy displays of wealth, and empowered idiots.

Matthew said...

David: Without fear, the Republican party will be the permanent minority party. They know this. Hence, Americans have to be kept permanently afraid. From hoodies to mullahs, the Fear Express will roll on until the boiler blows.