I want to be honest in that I try to be reasonably equanimous on people's political partisanship. Different people believe different things for different reasons. I think a lot of conservative policy choices are wrongheaded, but I understand the extent that reasonable people can disagree. That being said, some truly abominable opinions have been coming out of the woodwork since the Tea Party began dominating mainstream political discourse. Gingrich's appeal, it seems, is his nakedly appeal to this kind of constituency. Specifically, Gingrich is "[...] more willing to name-check many of the anti-Obama arguments favored by the Tea Party that are too politically incorrect for the frontrunner to touch." For example
Gingrich frequently warns of creeping Sharia law, calls Obama a “food stamp president,” and credits the president’s decision-making to his “Kenyan anti-colonial” ideology. Even for a Republican candidate, Gingrich’s voters skew elderly, the wing of the party most susceptible this kind of language.Examples of this include Tina Skipper, a retired school teacher from Jacksonville, FL who said that
“When Obama knelt with the Muslims of New York City, I knew we had something bad going on — he really scares me”Not to be outdone, an accountant named Eileen Loney claimed that
The threat from Muslims — I think the others shy around itIf all TPM could find was voters attuned to the anti-Muslim dog-whistling that has been going off for the past decade, that would be one thing. But then there is an unnamed retired manufacturing entrepreneur in Cocoa, FL who complains that
Everybody’s becoming dependent. Are the blacks going to vote for Newt or Romney? The Hispanics? The unions? The teachers? The only way to win is to get someone articulate who can turn out conservatives while the others stay home. But if everyone ends up being subsidized voters, we’re dead.” (emphasis mine - JMG)There's a certain point where I'm at a loss for words as to how people can hold these types of views, let alone be proud of them enough to articulate them to a reporter with their name attached. Specifically, the contention that traditionally Democratic-supporting constituencies are nothing more than "subsidized voters" is doubly galling in the sense that it a) denies the validity of claims the poor might have for social assistance with the actual challenges of poverty, but b) it casts those that receive assistance for said poverty as nothing more than naked rent seekers who vote Democratic.
I understand it is easy to have glib views about "the Blacks" or "the Unions." It's something else entirely, I think, to openly appeal to such a segment of America's voters. In some ways, the success of the politics of grievance in recent years is an indictment against the political opportunists that court such sentiments; in other ways, it's commentary on the state of our electorate.