Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Emerging Republican Majority

The days begins at 5 a.m. when I plod downstairs to pick up the paper.  Steam rises from the radiator as I open the front door of the apartment building and step out on the stoop.  Then it's back upstairs for a cup of cold coffee.

In today's news, or what catches my eye, are stories about the approaching fiscal cliff and the certification of results from Washington State's gubernatorial race.

Inslee beat McKenna by winning only eight of 39 counties.  But the counties he won included King, The Big Kahuna.  You win King County big and you win the state.  Part of what influences voting in the eastern and southern counties is a resentment of Seattle's demographic dominance.

One of the things I learned from reading Kevin Phillips' first book, The Emerging Republican Majority, is that a person votes not so much based on his own beliefs but on how the person he despises votes: you know who you dislike; you identify who he is voting for; and you vote for the other guy on the ballot.  This is how much of electoral politics works in a two-party system.  It is an exercise in negation.

With a month to go there are too many moving pieces to predict an outcome on the fiscal cliff.  One thing that is clear is that the GOP got its clock cleaned in the election.  I don't know whether the Birchers in the party think they have enough clout to repeat the Mad Mullah debt ceiling performance from the summer of 2011.  One of the items in today's story by Jonathan Weisman is that there is consensus among Democrats and Obama that any deal to avert going off the cliff must include a long-term agreement on the debt ceiling.  Will the Mad Mullah bargain away his billao?  It's hard to imagine.

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