Archive for March 10, 2012
In the controversial 2005 book What’s the Matter With Kansas?, Thomas Frank described how conservative politicians have made a compelling case even to those who end up voting against their own economic interests, using Kansas as an example of a once-progressive state now wrapped in a conservative mantle. His introduction includes a passage which seems to predict the cultural phenomenon that is former Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA):
This derangement is the signature expression of the Great Backlash, a style of conservatism that first came snarling onto the national stage in response to the partying and protests of the late sixties. While earlier forms of conservatism emphasized fiscal sobriety, the backlash mobilizes voters with explosive social issues — summoning public outrage over everything from busing to un-Christian art — which it then marries to pro-business economic polices. Cultural anger is marshaled to achieve economic ends.
Normally, the Kansas primary or caucus has been as ho-hum as a drive through WaKeeney on I-70. (A week from today is the District IV Wrestling Tournament, if you want to visit.) This year, the Kansas Caucuses will be a bit of wrestling sport for the Republican Party. Forty delegates are up for grabs, as many as were available in Massachusetts or Minnesota, and it looks like Santorum will pull out of the state with a slick majority of delegates.
There doesn’t seem to be any real-world polling available. The outcome is caucus states is hard to predict in any case. We’re left with the virtual prognostication of Intrade (95 percent chance of Santorum win). At The New York Times, Nate Silver predicts (with not very much confidence) a delegate allocation of 28 for Santorum, and a dozen for former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. (more…)