The United States has never veered too far to the right or left politically. The recent spate of GOP presidential candidates is rewriting this history. Among them Michelle Bachman, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry…….. that is, almost all of them, have declared a stubborn, unyielding dogmatism that has put Romney’s LDS faith in the shade. Few of us question what Romney will do as a Mormon in light of the terror we feel at what Santorum would do.
My guess is that those who can support Santorum fall into two camps: those who so oppose Obama and liberal policies they will ignore the crankier and weirder aspects of Santorum and those who like what he says about controlling women and keeping gays under control. Roughly one-third of the electorate, perhaps of the population, I’m not sure, fall into this latter camp. Decades ago they either voted on particular issues like the economy and jobs or perceived foreign threats but were not a cohesive bloc. The GOP changed all that, first by recruiting the anti-integration folks down South, then spreading to their religious confederates, the Evangelicals.
Now they form a cohesive bloc and vote that way but still represent less than a third of Americans, one way or the other. Their anger and ignorance have spawned a candidate of some power, the power to take the GOP down.