| So Research 2000 did a poll on Republicans' beliefs and...well...they're kind of crazy. Nearly 70 percent of self-identified Republicans, for example, are open to the idea of impeaching President Obama. Sixty-three percent are certain he's a socialist. Forty-two percent are certain Obama wasn't born in the United States, and another 22 percent are unsure.
Of course, it's easy to claim some sort of superiority...without seeing a similar poll of self-identified Democrats asking them about their favorite conspiracy theories. That 9/11 was an inside job, say. It could that people are irrational, not just Republicans.
But I do like Nate Silver's observations of the poll. He noticed that the answers to the poll questions varied little, if at all, with demographics. Regardless of your age, location, or gender, pretty much you believe the same sorts of things.
This accounts for what might be the Republicans' greatest strength as we head into the November midterms as well as their greatest liability. The strength is that they can somewhat comfortably adopt a nationalized, one-size-fits-all message. They don't have to worry about the constellation of constituencies that Democrats have: labor voters, Baby-boomer liberals, blacks, Hispanics, college-educated technocrats, libertarianish younger voters, etc. Their base is the same pretty much everywhere, and actuating a strategy that appeals to that base is not challenging.
The liability, meanwhile, is that while the Republican base might be the same pretty much everywhere, the rest of the electorate isn't. Some states and districts have different ratios of Republicans to Democratic and independent voters. Moreover, they have different types of Democratic and independent voters, some of whom may be amenable to the Republican message and others of whom won't be.
The question is, how did this happen? How did the base of one party come to believe all the same things in the same way? That some of these monolithic beliefs include outright delusions - the Obama birth canard, for example - points to success in messaging, whether by cable news, talk radio, or email chains. Obviously simple messages are getting out and reinforced as they're passed along.
One thing, too, that neither Kos nor Silver mentioned is that the demographics of Republicans are skewed strongly towards white males to begin with. While the breadth of Republican demographics are similar in belief, what's not said is that most of the other demographics are small. That homogeneity probably also aids the message. Republicans probably congregate in the same places, talk the same language, and participate in the same activities. That's probably also why many are under the delusion that they represent "real" American values and ideas - the opposite is true, of course, they're actually a minority of the population - they don't really get out much.
All of that is opposite to the left. The left spans class, race, language, education, and the rural/urban divide. Democrats in Portland, Oregon, are vastly different from those in the Salish-Kootenai nation. They hardly interact, let alone hear the same unified message.