Posts tagged Kansas

Rebrand Undone

Hav­ing got­ten a thor­ough drub­bing in the 2012 elec­tions, Repub­li­cans have been dis­cussing what went wrong. One of the things that hurt them was the gen­der gap. Women are more likely to be Democ­rats than Repub­li­cans. Women voted for Pres­i­dent Barack Obama over for­mer Mass­a­chu­setts Gov­er­nor Mitt Rom­ney by a double-​​digit mar­gin. What makes it worse is that, while women make up only a shade over 50 per­cent of the Amer­i­can adult pop­u­la­tion, more of them vote, mean­ing the size of the gen­der gap is magnified.

One impor­tant ele­ment in women’s atti­tudes toward the Repub­li­can Party and Repub­li­can can­di­dates is the Repub­li­can atti­tude toward abor­tion. A Jan­u­ary, 2013, Pew Research poll shows that seven in ten Amer­i­cans do not want the Supreme Court’s land­mark Roe v. Wade deci­sion to be over­turned. Putting aside the mer­its of legal­ized abor­tion, the issue has become asso­ci­ated with women’s rights. This means a lot of women vote based on which party wants to restrict abor­tion access.

Repub­li­cans are des­per­ate to reha­bil­i­tate their image after last November’s dis­ap­point­ing results. After charges of wag­ing a “War on Women”, what are Repub­li­cans doing in the area of abor­tion rights? Well, they’re mak­ing it worse for them­selves. (more…)

What’s the Matter With Caucuses?

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…)

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