Where have all the moderate Republicans gone?
Tom Edsall at the New York Times has a long and detailed explanation of how the Republicans went from a conservative but sensible party to a frenzied and freaked-out herd steered by angry reactionaries. He cites a concise explanation from Frank Wilkinson:
A lot of Americans were not ready for a mixed-race president. They weren’t ready for gay marriage. They weren’t ready for the wave of legal and illegal immigration that redefined American demographics over the past two or three decades, bringing in lots of nonwhites. They weren’t ready — who was? — for the brutal effects of globalization on working- and middle-class Americans or the devastating fallout from the financial crisis.
Their representatives didn’t stop Obamacare. And their side didn’t “take back America” in 2012 as Fox News and conservative radio personalities led them to believe they would. They feel the culture is running away from them (and they’re mostly right). They lack the power to control their own government. But they still have just enough to shut it down.
As we’ve seen in the last few years and especially in the last few weeks, the moderates in the GOP are like the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker: rumored to still be alive, but unsighted and considered extinct.