Sunday, July 17, 2016

The Republican conventioneers

What will bind together the folks attending the Republican convention?  This may be interesting to watch.  Will unanticipated speeches and crowd reactions be part of the event, or will they pull off a calm and somewhat routine series of evenings.

Thinking about who the Republicans are now, and what holds them together, these are some thoughts. The first two are easy.  First, there are those Republicans, maybe new Republicans but in the party, who are simply pro-Trump.  He says things that they have always wanted to say and he says them in unvarnished fashion.  They do not seem to need an overall vision from him or a cohesive thought process.  They like immediate thoughts, clear in their singularity.

Second, there are the anti-Clinton Republicans, many who have an intense dislike for her that has built up over the years.  They would vote for just about anyone nominated to oppose her, without qualification.

These two groups are solid although not necessarily in line with each other on many issues.

A third large group could be called the "aberrationists".  They are long time staunch Republicans that will always vote as a Republican, even if they view the Trump phenomenon as unseemly, out of the ordinary, maybe as transient, or maybe just as election politics.  They believe in the pro-business, smaller government, low tax, and social conservatism that has long characterized the Republican party, even if that "ideal" has not been completely accurate for many years.

The last group will be called the "cognitive dissonance crowd".  They both like and resent parts of government.  They want all of the benefits that they "deserve", but they want low taxes and minimal regulation as well.  This is not unusual, as coming up with the right formula for government to please all is not easy, in fact it is impossible. What makes them a group within the party is that Donald Trump exhibits no "cognitive dissonance" of any sort despite making comments that are contradictory or at times nonsense.  They want to be like him. They, for the most part, come from of the once dominant white middle class that is in disarray as it shrinks.

These observations about the Republican party are of course simplistic and not at all comprehensive. What they don't mention is anything about foreign policy opinions.  In the past some Republican candidates led their campaigns with foreign policy opinions.  Reagan did in his own unique way, and George H. W. and Nixon were passionate about their positions and opinions.  This year's Republican primary has been U.S. centric.  With terrorist attacks in this country and fraying race relations on the fringes as well, this may become even more of the case in the general election.  That may be good for Trump, as he is close to clueless about international affairs, while Clinton, like her or not, is well informed on that front.

On to the conventions...


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