How the Republican party is like bundled cable

Okay, the Democratic Party is, too, to be fair.  You are getting the Food Network whether you want it or not and only watch sports and science channels.  Likely you may live for all the movie channels, but you are also getting all the news networks you ignore.  If you want the low taxes on rich people of the Republican Party that also comes with a major helping of racial resentment.  If you want racial resentment, you also get low taxes on rich people.  Much like many cable channels nobody ever seems to watch continue to survive, really unpopular political positions do so because they are bundled with more popular positions– like racial resentment.

Loved this column from Krugman:

These are, it turns out, related stories, all of them tied to the two great absences in American political life.

One is the absence of socially liberal, economically conservative voters. These were the people Schultz thought he could appeal to; but basically they don’t exist, accounting for only around, yes, 4 percent of the electorate.

The other is the absence of economically liberal, socially conservative politicians — let’s be blunt and just say “racist populists.” There are plenty of voters who would like that mix, and Trump pretended to be their man; but he wasn’t, and neither is anyone else.

Understanding these empty quarters is, I’d argue, the key to understanding U.S. politics…

Meanwhile, the modern Republican Party is all about cutting taxes on the rich and benefits for the poor and the middle class. And Trump, despite his campaign posturing, has turned out to be no different.

Hence the failure of our political system to serve socially conservative/racist voters who also want to tax the rich and preserve Social Security. Democrats won’t ratify their racism; Republicans, who have no such compunctions, will — remember, the party establishment solidly backed Roy Moore’s Senate bid — but won’t protect the programs they depend on…

But why are there so few voters holding the reverse position, combining social/racial liberalism and economic conservatism? The answer, I’d argue, lies in just how far to the right the G.O.P. has gone.

Polling is unambiguous here. If you define the “center” as a position somewhere between those of the two parties, when it comes to economic issues the public is overwhelmingly left of center; if anything, it’s to the left of the Democrats. Tax cuts for the rich are the G.O.P.’s defining policy, but two-thirds of voters believe that taxes on the rich are actually too low, while only 7 percent believe that they’re too high. Voters support Elizabeth Warren’s proposed tax on large fortunes by a three-to-one majority. Only a small minority want to see cuts in Medicaid, even though such cuts have been central to every G.O.P. health care proposal in recent years.

Why did Republicans stake out a position so far from voters’ preferences? Because they could. As Democrats became the party of civil rights, the G.O.P. could attract working-class whites by catering to their social and racial illiberalism, even while pursuing policies that hurt ordinary workers.

The result is that to be an economic conservative in America means advocating policies that, on their merits, only appeal to a small elite. Basically nobody wants these policies on their own; they only sell if they’re packaged with racial hostility. [emphasis mine]

Whatever the least popular Democratic policies are (and I’m not sure) there’s not even remotely a contest with the Republicans love of low taxes on rich people.  Asymmetry!

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

One Response to How the Republican party is like bundled cable

  1. homeys44 says:

    .Krugman’s come to the realization that the GOP can get many white voters while not appealing to them at all on economic policies. However, he appears to have zero interest in appealing to these voters, the “racist populists” as he calls them. Or “deplorables”.

    That leaves Democrats with “less racist” college educated whites in order to remain a viable party. Krugman seems to think these voters are quite economically liberal and that Democrats have nothing to fear from the likes of Schultz as he speaks for almost nobody. We shall see.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: