Campaigns and elections

I think some readers of the Monkey Cage are not regular readers of the Monkey Cage

Jul 13 '12

Commenter Jason writes:

Poor whites are very much the republican base and have been for the past 20 – 30 years, I refer you to “what’s the matter with Kansas” and any number of other books about people voting against their economic interests.

If poor whites werent the GOP base who is it? College educated middle class voters? Not according to any study of political ideology I’ve seen in my lifetime.

Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! OK, I can understand that Tucker Carlson gets this wrong. But a commenter at our own blog, right here? Scary stuff.

P.S. Just to remark upon the original post for a moment, I have to say I find it disturbing that 20% of Americans survey think that Barack Obama was not born in the United States and 25% are not sure. I can excuse the “not sure” on the grounds that we’re “not sure” of anything. Maybe I’m not sure that Fiji exists—I’ve never been there!

Perhaps the problem here is that we’re analogizing political facts to actual facts. Maybe the correct analogy is to religion. Lots of people believe in heaven and hell but none of them have ever been there. This fits in with the idea of survey responses as expressive acts rather than statements of belief. Saying you believe that Obama wasn’t born in the U.S. is like saying that Joe McCarthy really did have a list of 208 Communists or however many there were. Even if it’s not true, it should be.