Stan Greenberg and James Carville of Democracy Corp just put out a report on their recent focus group discussions with Republican voters, and the findings truly are horrifying. The comprehensive survey, titled “Inside the GOP: Report on focus groups with Evangelical, Tea Party, and moderate Republicans” provides an insight into the mindset of average Republican voters, and shows conclusively that the country is, for lack of a better word, completely fucked.
You can read the whole thing here (PDF), but the authors sum up the findings in a horrifying introduction:
We know that Evangelicals are the largest bloc in the base, with the Tea Party very strong as well. For them, President Obama is a “liar” and “manipulator” who has fooled the country. It is hard to miss the deep disdain—they say the president is a socialist, the “worst president in history,” and “anti-American.”
For all that, this is a deeply divided base. Moderates are a quarter of those who identify Re- publican, and they are very conscious of their discomfort with other parts of the party base. Their distance begins with social issues, like gay marriage and homosexuality, but it is also evident on immigration and climate change. Fiscal conservatives feel isolated in the party.
Republicans shutdown the government to defund or delay Obamacare. This goes to the heart of Republican base thinking about the essential political battle. They think they face a victori- ous Democratic Party that is intent on expanding government to increase dependency and therefore electoral support. It starts with food stamps and unemployment benefits; expands further if you legalize the illegals; but insuring the uninsured dramatically grows those de- pendent on government. They believe this is an electoral strategy—not just a political ideolo- gy or economic philosophy. If Obamacare happens, the Republican Party may be lost, in their view.
And while few explicitly talk about Obama in racial terms, the base supporters are very con- scious of being white in a country with growing minorities. Their party is losing to a Demo- cratic Party of big government whose goal is to expand programs that mainly benefit minori- ties. Race remains very much alive in the politics of the Republican Party.
When the authors analyzed the words Republicans used when describing Obama, they came up with the following cloud:
And here’s a selection of quotes from some of the people they interviewed:
I had a concussion so they had to ask me a bunch of questions ‘cause my mind wasn’t quite working and they said, ‘who’s the President?’ And I said, ‘an S.O.B.’ and he said, ‘good enough.’ – (Tea Party woman, Roanoke)
Even when he’s trying his hardest to appease conservative capitalist-oriented peo- ple…he still is spouting pure Marxist philosophy. He can’t get away from it… I don’t know if he can…even find a speechwriter that can help him sound like he’s actually an American capitalist. (Evangelical man, Roanoke)
Obama’s…just pure distilled Marxism. – (Evangelical man, Roanoke)
He is going to try to turn this into a communist country. – (Evangelical woman, Colora- do Springs)
He supports everything that is against Christianity. – (Evangelical woman, Colorado Springs)
He is masonic Devil Illuminati, Lier can’t stand Him
Obama got elected because he kept saying, ‘I’ll keep giving you unemployment forev- er.’ That’s why he got elected. Now you can live in this country without a green card. Come on, we’ll give you insurance, we’ll give you money. That’s why he got elected. – (Tea Party woman, Roanoke)
The report essentially shows a party at war with itself, and the country. The GOP is comprised of evangelicals, the Tea Party and moderates, with shifting alliances and an increasing tendency towards extremism. The Tea Party and Evangelicals are growing closer and closer, making compromise with the Democrats almost completely impossible. The moderates no longer have sway within their party and as a result, are impotent on that national stage. As Andrew Sullivan writes, “The GOP have driven themselves into a tight, airless corner of ideological purity and self-destruction. The trouble is: their own self-destruction means ours as well.”
Are there any solutions on the horizon? I’ve been thinking about this for some time and I’m out of ideas other than shipping the Tea Party and Evangelicals off to Texas, rescuing everyone from Austin, and allowing the nut jobs to secede from the union and create ‘America Lite’. The Republicans who hate Obama can live with no assistance from the government in Washington, unadulterated free markets, and no public schools. Should they want back in, they can sign a treaty promising to vote for Swedish style socialism and free contraceptives for every teenage girl in the country.
Anyone got any sensible, or not so sensible remedies for the meltdown of the world’s most powerful democracy? Thoughts below people.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.