Is there evidence that suburban independents chose not to vote Republican primarily or even pluralily* because they worried about what Kathleen Parker calls the Oogedy Boogedy sect within the party? (i.e., Andrew’s Christianists, Ross’s conservative evangelicals.)? Lots of people assume that there is. This assumption is common more to liberals and centrists than it is to conservatives, of course. It’d be good to see some hard numbers from either side of this debate.
The problem with Sarah Palin, at least according to pre-election polls, was not that she exemplified/amplified the Christian right. It was that voters perceived her to be incompetent and not able to handle the job of commander in chief. In any event, there might be evidence to support this claim; Barack Obama ( a self-described evangelical, it must be said) turned over a whole bunch of suburbs in fast-growing areas. Democrats tried mightily to make inroads with conservative evangelicals, and they failed. This demographic group is, as Larison points out, is one of the most reliable factions within the party. At this point, they matter enough. The dirty secret is not that a large part of the Republican establishment is worried about their influence. There are two secrets, actually: one — that the “leaders” of the various movements within social conservatism are ill-adapted to modern politics and can exacerbate tensions between the movement and outsiders; and two — that a large part of the Republican establishment believes they can pander to these voters, not address their core concerns, and still rely on them for support. You can’t build a Republican Party without them, but, depending on where you are in this great land of ours, you can safely ignore their cultural demands and still be a success, even if you’re a Republican. When Charlie Crist ran for governor of Florida, he vacillated between pandering to the right and ignoring them. As governor, he’s ignored them. And his approval rating is at 68%.
American government is supposed to look and sound like George Washington. What it actually looks and sounds like is Henry Hill from Goodfellas: bad suit, hand out, intoning the eternal mantra: “F*** you, pay me.” American government mostly works by interposition, standing between us, the free people at ... Read More
The Russians are engaged in “information warfare” against the United States. That was the big soundbite at Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s press conference Friday afternoon, announcing Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s election-meddling indictment against 13 Russians and three Russian ... Read More
It has become more urgent to ask: Why is there a special counsel in the Russia investigation? At this point, that question should be put to the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel — in the federal government, it’s the lawyers’ lawyer. To get down to brass tacks: May the president of the United ... Read More
To understand the American gun-control debate, you have to understand the fundamentally different starting positions of the two sides. Among conservatives, there is the broad belief that the right to own a weapon for self-defense is every bit as inherent and unalienable as the right to speak freely or practice ... Read More
The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) first infantilizes its audience, then banalizes it, and, finally, controls it through marketing. This commercial strategy, geared toward adolescents of all ages, resembles the Democratic party’s political manipulation of black Americans, targeting that audience through its ... Read More