The next questioner I'll answer who wins a free Kindle copy of Patriots is Cindy. Please keep submitting questions. Cindy asks:
The Democrats seem to have found a way to marginalize the far fringes of their base without completely losing their vote, while the Republicans seem currently to have been overwhelmed and taken over by their far fringes. Assuming you agree with that rather generic statement, why do you think that the GOP has been less successful in holding their middle? And, how do you think they can pull back from this current trend? Or, do you think it's possible at this point for that to happen?
About 20% of America calls itself liberal; about 40% calls itself conservative. That asymmetry explains a great deal of the difference between the parties. The Democrats cannot remotely convince themselves that their base can deliver elections for them. They know they must work to broaden their coalition—and to restrain their base. Their base knows it too.
The bigger Republican base, however, can imagine itself as representing the majority of the country, or anyway, something close to it. All that's needed is one last push! And when you are so close to having everything your own way—why compromise?
That aversion to compromise is intensified by a strange fact of American government. Republicans, the anti-government party, depend on the votes of the elderly, the affluent, and the rural—in other words, the American government's redistributional winners. From the point of view of those voters, any compromise will bring only bad news to them. They like things the way they are now! And—in contrast to more prosperous times in the past—they don't today feel they have anything like the margin of security that would allow them to share.
This is one of the major themes of Patriots: the most affluent have become the most anxious. My selfish protagonist, heir to a mustard fortune, stands in for these winners—and then breaks with them, not because he is so very remarkably generous, but because something in him recoils and rebels at a political game that heaps accumulating rewards on the winners—and only accumulating penalties on the losers.