Trying to Understand

In a recent post, I noted that Greenberg, Quinlan Rosner–the well known polling and survey research outfit–has issued a report titled “Inside the GOP,” detailing conclusions from a variety of focus groups conducted with the Tea Party, Evangelical and Moderate factions of today’s Republican Party.

Some of those conclusions simply confirm the hunches of political nerds like me, who obsessively follow politics and government. For example, the report notes that “the base thinks they are losing politically and losing control of the country–and their starting reaction is ‘worried’ ‘discouraged’ ‘scared’ and ‘concerned’ about the direction of the country and their powerlessness to change course.”

We sort of figured that.

Despite the disproportionate media attention generated by the Tea Party faction, Evangelicals continue to make up the largest bloc in the GOP base, and they focus far more on issues like same-sex marriage and abortion than either of the other factions. Evangelicals characterize the President as a socialist, as ‘worst President in history’ and as ‘anti-American.’ These accusations are echoed by the Tea Party faction. (For those of us who do not fall into these categories, these extravagant and overwrought accusations have a “never-neverland” quality to them–they make you want to scream things like “Do you even know what a socialist is?” and “Where were you when George W. Bush was President?)

The research paints a picture of dispirited moderates who wonder where their party went; however, it also notes that moderates are a rapidly diminishing presence in the party. They are “very conscious of being illegitimate within their own party.”

The report also acknowledges the Elephant in the Room (no pun intended).

The GOP base is “very conscious of being white in a country with growing minorities.” As they see it, “Their party is losing to a Democratic Party of big government whose goal is to expand programs that mainly benefit minorities.” As the report delicately notes, “Race remains very much alive in the politics of the Republican Party.”

There is a good deal more, and the entire report is worth reading. For those of us who wonder why the GOP has expended so much energy and vitriol trying to prevent working-class Americans from accessing basic healthcare, the answer is that  they are panicked by their conviction that “Obamacare” is the “end game”– a program which will cement voter loyalties to the Democrats.

The next explosive–and divisive– issue, according to the report, will be climate change. “Climate skeptics are a majority in the conservative factions.”

All in all, the report paints a picture of a party that has been captured by what used to be considered the fringe–or, more accurately, the fringes. And while those fringes overlap somewhat, there are major differences that do not bode well for what used to be a Grand Old Party.

I’ve been predicting a schism for nearly twenty years, so obviously I’m not a reliable soothsayer….but the divisions–both within the party and from the American mainstream–are getting pretty deep.


  1. I belive it is the followers/voters (aka – staunch Republicans) who cannot see the changes within their own party and refuse to accept the external consequences of GOP action or non-action. They blindly vote the same party they have trusted for decades; unaware the majority of them are paying the penalty by being blinded by pseudo religious speeches as their civil rights dwindle away from those who most need and deserve support. Those within the GOP, Tea Party, NRA, etc., are well aware of their own circumstances but, denying or making changes will lose votes come election day because they will lose face along with losing faith of their constituents. When party affiliation comes before civil and human rights for American citizens – and those who truly want to become American citizens – we all lose.

    I am well aware that many of my comments are of a personal nature but; everything every administration does or does not do effects each of us in a personal way sooner or later. Recently these effects have come sooner to all but the wealthy. Have you all forgotten the major battle that began in 2009 regarding reestablishment of tax level for the wealthy to the fair percentage they paid prior to Bush’s extreme cuts?

  2. It might be that this country no longer serves the needs of all of its inhabitants and would likely be better for all parties if it were divided into smaller nations that more accurately represented regional interests and goals. By land mass, the United States is the third-largest country.

    Perhaps we’re simply too big.

  3. Balkanization. Now there is a solution that would open up a real can of worms. So the “red” country would consist of the poorest people with the fewest resources, yet who have consistently advocated policies and governance that has worked to their ruin, and who have traditionally needed support and resources from the “blue” country. As I recall, Texas is the only part of that group which is not on the ropes. I wonder how that would work out for the reds.

  4. The man is causing dangerous global warming that will doom the existence of the planet (I’m not going to call it “climate change” because the climate has been changing for the entire 4.5 billion years the planet has been in existence ) won’t divide Republicans because there is only a tiny percent of Republicans who actually believe the theory. The last several years it has faded as an issue nationally and will continue to fade as more and more of the doomsday predictions continue to be proven wrong. It’s more likely to divide Democrats if that party continues to push the issue because blue collar, union Democrats are not going to want to sign on to the draconian measures to addressed the alleged crisis, measures that will hurt job creation and devastate the economy.

  5. Stuart:

    The red states need not a thing from the blue states. The only apparent need the reds have of the blues is that the reds are forced to participate in programs not of their choosing, so the feds pay the bill to keep everyone in the game.

  6. I will not dignify these comments by responding, other than to acknowledge it has been read…and the mind-set behind them understood.

  7. As I recall the Reds are the biggest recipients of Federal aid and support, the location of the military bases and the income which they provide, and are a drag on the rest of the country, despite their whining about the terrible requirements placed upon them. (“Separate but equal” schools really weren’t equal.) If the programs you are talking about include receiving money and resources to keep them surviving and following the essential civil rights of most civilized societies, I guess they are forced to participate. If it weren’t for the Fed, Misssissippi and Alabama would be 3rd world states. With very little assistance, I could show how Louisiana, South Carolina and some of the others are in hot competition for the bottom rung, too, except in the area of corruption where they seem to outshine the nastiest 3rd world dictators. The south has been historically poor and rural, and they depended on slavery to bring in that income. The Reds are historically at the bottom of education, health and socioeconomic class. Now those are the facts. On the other hand, if you want to say stuff just to make noise and juice up the delusion that the Reds would be just fine on their own–data notwithstanding– fine, whatever. We can believe what we want as long as it doesn’t hurt someone else.

  8. Paul,

    You really do need to read the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report that was published a few weeks ago. It’s not one of those 300 page reports with tiny text, but it is concise, very well organized and covers about 13 separate areas in which people who really know what’s going on rate predictions and the current situation. It is not a political document, at least in the usual sense. These are science folks at work, and where significance is p < .05, not just an emotional statement. This problem is happening and it's not going away.

  9. Ogden uses one of the most popular of the many logical fallacies employed by the sociopathic greedheads (and yes, that is the 100% perfectly exact synonym for the term “right-winger”) who engage in AGW denialism–the strawman argument. “…doom the existence of the planet” is a grossly and intentionally inaccurate characterization of the conclusions of the IPCC and the majority of those who advocate measures to mitigate the effects of AGW. All right-wing thought on all topics is based entirely on the mottos “I am not my brother’s keeper” and “I got mine, so screw you, Jack”. Ogden believes that there should never be any authority that has any power to EVER require him to make even the tiniest sacrifice of his personal desires for the common good or the benefit of future generations.

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