This is a great column by Paul Krugman.
I feel strange saying that given that the insight in this particular article is such a rare occurance, but he describes pretty much 90% of the content of this blog:
“Howard Schultz, the coffee billionaire, who imagined that he could attract broad support as a “centrist,” turns out to have an approval rating of 4 percent, versus 40 percent disapproval.
Ralph Northam, a Democrat who won the governorship of Virginia in a landslide, is facing a firestorm of denunciation from his own party over racist images on his medical school yearbook page.
Donald Trump, who ran on promises to expand health care and raise taxes on the rich, began betraying his working-class supporters the moment he took office, pushing through big tax cuts for the rich while trying to take health coverage away from millions.
These are, it turns out, related stories, all of them tied to the two great absences in American political life.
One is the absence of socially liberal, economically conservative voters. These were the people Schultz thought he could appeal to; but basically they don’t exist, accounting for only around, yes, 4 percent of the electorate.
The other is the absence of economically liberal, socially conservative politicians — let’s be blunt and just say “racist populists.” There are plenty of voters who would like that mix, and Trump pretended to be their man; but he wasn’t, and neither is anyone else.
Understanding these empty quarters is, I’d argue, the key to understanding U.S. politics. …”
There isn’t a constituency for libertarianism.
Only 6% of the electorate is socially liberal and fiscally conservative and most of them seem to work for conservative think tanks and magazines. In contrast, a large swath of the population is populist, socially conservative and fiscally liberal, but few, if any, politicians cater to their preferences.
The GOP is controlled by a tiny elite of wealthy donors who push a policy agenda that is at best tolerated or rejected by the White working class base of the Republican Party. It promises victories on social issues (abortion, gay marriage, build the wall, etc.) during campaigns that never materialize. The party leadership always spends the political capital on tax cuts, bloated military budgets and Israel.