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September 26, 2014

Why the GOP Sucks

Just kidding on the headline; I just don't know what to call this.

Ross Douthat writes about why Romney is being seriously talked about.

In doing so, he links this analysis of the GOP and its nominating behavior. Henry Olsen says there are four -- not two -- factions in the GOP: Very conservative religious voters, very conservative secular voters, somewhat conservative voters (of, I guess, either secular or religious outlook), and, actually, liberal-to-moderate voters. (??? -- well, it's what he says, anyway.)

His basic take is that the conservative voters always back the winning candidate (or, turning that around: the winning candidate always gets the moderately conservative voters behind him).

The pathway to success is to win the moderately conservative voters while poaching and picking off some voters from other groups, while not actually alienating any of the others. (That is, without becoming flat-out unacceptable to them.)

The weird thing is his claims of each faction's strength. He says the somewhat conservative voters (not squishes, but not very conservative) are the most numerous, making up 35-40 % of the Republican primary vote.

Next come -- if you can believe this -- liberal-to-moderate voters, which make up 25-30% of the primary vote.

Third are very conservative religious voters, making up around 20% of the primary vote.

Finally, the smallest group of all is "very conservative secular voters," making up 5-10% of the primary vote.

Note his groupings are kind of arbitrary -- he lumps all "somewhat conservative voters" into the same group whether religious or secular, thus making that group appear bigger than it would be if it were split, like the Very Conservative voters, into two cohorts, religious and secular. He also notes that the more religious of the somewhat conservative voters are (as you might expect) more supportive of expressly religious candidates -- thus there is a difference in how the two halves of this group behave, and thus it is questionable that they should be grouped together as a single bloc.

Anyway, though, it is interesting on a lot of levels.

For one thing, if you're one of the guys saying "The less-conservative people almost always get their preference!," you're right.

And I guess it also explains, sort of, why this is so: The party is just not as conservative as some people seem to believe it is (or believe it should be).

Interesting. Not sure I believe all of it, but interesting.

I'm not sure if I'd be called a "Somewhat Conservative" voter in this scheme or a "Very Conservative Secular Voter." *

Turns out the Very Conservative Secular Voters supported Rick Perry last time around -- until he embarrassed himself in the debates.

* I guess I might also be a "liberal to moderate" voter in this scheme, as I do exhibit that cohort's defining characteristic: supporting the less openly-religious candidate over the more openly-religious candidate, almost always.

I'm not saying that's a Good Thing and You Should Do It Too; I'm just saying I do do that.

I like guys like Perry, Bush, or Romney, who talk about God in contexts I consider appropriate (when asked about it, when making a larger point about meaning and metaphysics, when solemnizing a thought, or when discussing points (abortion, marriage) in which religious thought is especially presented), and I definitely don't like guys who bring up God a lot in contexts I would consider inappropriate and mere matters of legislative preference.

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posted by Ace at 06:57 PM

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