What I Got Wrong: The Irrationality of Republican Voters

The most surprising trend on Election Day was Democratic Senate victories in bloodred states.

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I often say that my four favorite words are I told you so, so I’m doing plenty of gloating about President Obama’s comfortable victory. But I’m also doing some thinking about a trend I didn’t foresee: Democratic Senate victories in bloodred states. I was sure Republicans would win in Montana and North Dakota; I even thought the GOP rape-theory twins in Missouri and Indiana might shock the world.

I guess I didn’t think the voters would be so irrational.

I know, it’s uncouth to question the great wisdom of the public. And I’m glad that Missouri and Indiana voters rejected Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock; as an Obama sympathizer, I’m glad he won’t have to face obstruction from Denny Rehberg of Montana and Rick Berg of North Dakota either. But Republican partisans ought to be asking: What’s the matter with the heartland?

The truth is, Akin, Mourdock, Rehberg and Berg all would have been reliable votes for the GOP agenda, just like Deb Fischer of Nebraska, Ted Cruz of Texas and other Republicans elected to the Senate from states that Mitt Romney won easily. And when you’re electing a Senator, you’re basically electing a vote. For a President or a governor, character and experience and competence and ability to work across the aisle truly matter; you’re choosing someone to run your country or your state. In partisan Washington, the main responsibility of a Senator is to uphold or break filibusters, to advance or block the President’s agenda. The best way to know what politicians will do in Congress is to check whether there’s an R or a D after their names.

I get that Jon Tester, the seven-fingered farmer, and Heidi Heitkamp, the independent-minded breast-cancer survivor, were both charming salt-of-the-earth people and excellent candidates. But ultimately, they’re Democrats, and Democrats tend to vote with Democrats. I remember a chat I had a few months ago with Noah Bierman, the excellent Boston Globe reporter who was covering the Scott Brown–Elizabeth Warren race, back when Brown was ahead. I told him Warren would win in a blowout, because Massachusetts is a Democratic state. He told me Brown was an excellent candidate and that I’d feel differently if I were covering the race. I said that was probably true, but I was still right; the fundamentals just seemed too strong.

Well, I was right — those are my second-favorite four words — but when I applied the same logic to the middle of the country, I was wrong. Someone who wasn’t wrong could probably explain why better than I can, but I guess it comes down to voter psychology. Most Americans don’t follow public policy closely; voters in Montana and North Dakota saw Tester and Heitkamp as one of them. And after the backlash over the rape comments, voters in Missouri and Indiana saw Akin and Mourdock as theocratic embarrassments; they didn’t want to be the kind of people who supported candidates who had become national jokes. I think Republican politicians say crazy things all the time — about climate science, about the relationship between taxes and deficits, about the President — but apparently rape is a topic about which crazy things must not be said. If even the Republican establishment wouldn’t back Akin, why would Missouri voters?

Ultimately, though, they voted to advance the Obama agenda, which presumably wasn’t what they had in mind. And it wasn’t what I expected.

204 comments
JoeKidd
JoeKidd

Can Michael Grunwald comment on the fact that, if theoretically, people who did not pay federal income taxes weren't allowed to vote, Romney would have won 438-100?

parttimecongress
parttimecongress

The scary part for me is that this past election proves that you no longer have to bring a proven record of success to the table, when you can just blame the former administration for your current failures.

http://InsuranceMistakestoAvoid.com



MargaretHimes
MargaretHimes

You call tweedle dee and tweedle dum rational! I wonder how rational you are that you thought the American female would fall for that garbage in the campaign!

PeterKafin
PeterKafin

Perhaps the Republican voters were being rational in not wanting the ideological brand they respected to be sullied by the neanderthals that had won their primaries.

BrinVR
BrinVR

The election is over, idiot. Move on ...

jpigg86
jpigg86

You are right you have no idea what you are talking about. All politics is local. Despite Indiana being a conservative state, it is not an ideological deadlock for Republican candidates. Your premise that it is bloodred ignores certain aspects the Indiana politics.

Indiana has had a Democrat Govenor for 16 years prior to Mr. Daniels. You also do not consider that the Democratic setbacks in Indiana are a direct result of Liberal Democrats forcing Moderate Democrats to go along with their agenda's. The ACA cost the democrats significantly among independent voters and conservative democrats. Mourdock was neck and neck prior to the fall, because he ousted a popular centrist Republican. He did it through radicalizing the southern portion of the state. But he cost himself significant support in the Marion County area, and in the Northern Portion of the state.It would do the writer well to evolve his political understanding of Left v Right, Blue v Red, and Liberal v Conservative. A conversation without considering Blue Dog Democrats, is just as ignorant as a conversation without considering Tea Party Republicans.Indiana, while conservative prefers centrists, just ask Luger and Bayh.

RickLondon
RickLondon

As FORBES & The Economist said, Obama was the only real conservative running in this election.  So being a conservative I voted for him as Huntsmann was my 1st choice but long under the big bad GOP Bus after tweeting he believes in science.....Romney/Ryan was far far left of liberalism, in fact far far left of communism.  Can you imagine the cost of regulating womens bodies, policing bedrooms etc etc?  It make the Afghanistan War seem like pocket change.  That's "Stalinism On Steroids" frankly.  Wanna try for Benghazi/Impeachment still?  I wouldn't go there.   Remember, Mr. and Ms. Stevens (Christopher's) parents publicly slapped down Romney for doing so rancid/putrid as using their son as a political football, and don't think for a minute they wouldn't come back out in public and knock down whomever they see obstructing (once again) President Obama. And Condoliza Rice said it just how it is; "Info flow changes as the dust settles"....anyone who works in (or has worked in news knows that)....Mr. & Ms. Stevens are angry.  The USA is mad, and there are anti-obstructionist petitions with hundreds of thousands of signatures; the GOP's in Congress either do ther job, or get voted out (many military veteran groups are a part of it).  And they will get expulsion if votes don't work but they'll be gone every single voting cycle. Promise. 

thequeenbee9
thequeenbee9

What you really got wrong is the inherent decency of Republican voters. They are still Americans and at the end of the day, most are lucid people who have their limits with all the shenanigans being pulled by their so called leaders.  In certain places the threshold and tolerance for obvious idiocy is lower than in others--as each reaches their threshold, neither hyperbole from politicians or stupid, inane observations intended to incite backlash or doubling down by YOU will change the local demographics perception that an immediate change is needed even if it crosses the so called sacred lines of "party".  Your remarks were intended to goad--they were rude and certainly would not bring the sides together.

JohnYuEsq
JohnYuEsq

The Age of Jackson, by Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.Edward N. Saveth — February 1946Liberalism’s Ebb And FlowAmerica, educate thyself.

EvaGonzalez
EvaGonzalez

The man that bamboozled USA and the WORLD ! ( INCLUDING DONALD TRUMP )Obama wrote this biography of himself to promote his first book back in 1991. Again, this was written in 1991 before he was even thought of as a competitive politician. Barack Obama says it himself he was born in Kenya and raised in Hawaii.

Either he lied (why?) or we are living through one of the truly greatest cover-ups & FRAUD of our time.

SEARCH: Obama Admits Born in Kenya - Part 2 HARD EVIDENCE ------



See all pertinent videos and SHARE

superlogi
superlogi

What's irrational is voting for a person who would initiate European style socialism while at the same time watching Europe implode from it.

brauber18
brauber18

@JoeKidd keep KiDDING yourself! The majority of people who dont pay Federal Income Taxes are disabled or retired. Why should they not be allowed to vote?? Because the candidate you wanted to win lost?? (pretty horribly I might add.) These people aren't any LESS American because they've already spent 50 years paying Federal Income Taxes! And not being allowed to vote because you are either physically unable to work or unable to find work (in the disasterous economy this administration INHERITED) is plain IGNORANT thinking.

Leftcoastrocky
Leftcoastrocky

@JoeKidd how about elderly white retired voters (who voted overwhelmingly for Romney)?


and how about poor white voters in dark red states (who also voted overwhelmingly for Romney)?

brauber18
brauber18

@parttimecongress If you think for one second that more than half the problems we had in 2008 were NOT created by the previous administration, you have clearly never tried to clean up someone else mess, particularly while an entire party, rather than picking up a broom and trying to help, just keeps dumping more garbage on the floor.

ProductoEndorsair
ProductoEndorsair

@EvaGonzalez The conspiracy is huge. Even Fox News and RedState.com are afraid to stand up for birtherism now. Only a few hard core patriots like you remain...and we will find you and convert you too.

Fla4Me
Fla4Me

@EvaGonzalez Eva!  You've uncovered the secret!  Do you realize how much danger you're in?  Such important information as this must be guarded by vast numbers of world police secret agents.  Run, run, run....you must change your identity and drop out of sight....surely they'll be breaking in your door at any moment.  Good luck to you and thank you so much for your great service to our country....no, the world.

oldwhiteguy
oldwhiteguy

@superlogi You wouldn't know what socialism is if it bit you in your hanging chads.

If this blog under a pecan tree?  What are all these nuts lying around here??

giantsloar
giantsloar

@superlogi Europe isn't imploding, and its economic difficulties aren't from socialism. Look at the Nordic states, exemplars of European-style "socialism." They're doing fine.

oldwhiteguy
oldwhiteguy

@Fla4Me @EvaGonzalez I agree. Eva needs to get out of town fast or the guys in the sunglasses and the ear phones will grab her!  Eva, if you don't want to run, dye your hair orange and comb it over your head.  Fox News will hide you!

superlogi
superlogi

@oldwhiteguy @superlogi Including my time in the armed services, I've spent about 20 years living and working in communist, socialist and so-called socially democratic countries.  I read both he Communist Manifesto and Das Kapital over 45 years ago.  I'm pretty sure I know what most iterations of Marxism are and your numerically challenged twit in the White House is leading us in that direction.

superlogi
superlogi

@giantsloar @superlogi The only Nordic state doing fine has a population less than Minnesota's whose socialism (as even they would define their form of government) is bankrolled by 20% of their GDP coming from an ocean of oil.  If you've got a point, make it but don't suggest reality doesn't exist.  Europe is failing economically and it is due to it's socialistic form of governments over the last two generations.

superlogi
superlogi

@EugenePesikov @superlogi @Marky_D_Sodd @oldwhiteguy Thou shalt not covet thy neighbors goods and thou shalt not steal have been around since the old testament and are considered "Gods" Law in three different religions, two of which are non-christian.  On the other hand, "from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs" and "workers of the world, unite" are ideologies which have never worked anywhere.  But unfortunately, the progressive mind simply can't accept that and continues to try to make it work.

JimSatterfield
JimSatterfield

@Marky_D_Sodd @superlogi @oldwhiteguy It is also impossible for someone whose opinion is too much colored by his ideology to learn anything by travel. Remember the concept of the Ugly American? Why do I feel that login, with his sense of superiority, probably personified that stereotype in his time overseas?

superlogi
superlogi

@Seeleywolf @superlogi @JAG @oldwhiteguy @Seeleywolf @superlogi @JAG @oldwhiteguy @Seeleywolf @superlogi @JAG @oldwhiteguy I said nothing about socialism being the only cause of our imploding economy. In fact, it actually works until you can't afford it any more. That may take several generations as it did in Europe. In any case, we've had recessions throughout our history (more than 50 in the last two centuries). But, one thing is for certain, recession will be the least of your worries if your debt get's to the portion of your income, where you can't service it and/or try to monetize it.

Seeleywolf
Seeleywolf

@superlogi @JAG @oldwhiteguy explain why socialism is the cause.  Explain how in a Capitalistic economy, we also imploded in 2007 and 2008.  That was because of Socialism?  

superlogi
superlogi

@EugenePesikov @superlogi @JAG @Marky_D_Sodd @oldwhiteguy Pesikov, I didn't suggest I'd served in a communist country, ever.  That is a figment of your delusional imagination, although I did serve in Moldova in the mid 90's which had a communist President.  However, I've served in mother Russia beginning in 1992, ending 1997 and I'm quite certain I I've seen more of it than you have.  With regard to serving in a war, yes I had that unfortunate experience in SE Asia in the late 60's and early 70's which included both Vietnam and Cambodia.  Pesikov, what is it you know, that I don't about anything?  Anything at all.  Pesikov, if you want to know about Russian geography, just ask.  I've been almost everywhere you can imagine.  Again, just ask.

EugenePesikov
EugenePesikov

@superlogi @JAG @Marky_D_Sodd @oldwhiteguy  BTW, i'd love to hear what communist/socialist country you were stationed in while serving in the military. I had no idea America had bases in commie countries so I'd love to hear how the mainstream media (aka UC education) mislead me this whole time. 

EugenePesikov
EugenePesikov

@superlogi @Marky_D_Sodd @oldwhiteguy Mark 10:25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."

A rich man - This rather means one who loves his riches and makes an idol of them, or one who supremely desires to be rich. Mark says Mark 10:24 "How hard is it for them that trust in riches." While a man has this feeling - relying on his wealth alone - it is literally impossible that he should be a Christian; for religion is a love of God rather than the world - the love of Jesus and his cause more than gold...

(Contin. on the rich)"..that they often produce luxury, dissipation, and vice. that it is difficult to obtain wealth without sin, without avarice, without covetousness, fraud, and oppression, 1 Timothy 6:9-10, 1 Timothy 6:17; James 5:1-5; Luke 12:16-21; Luke 16:19-31."

This is how they came up with the idea that jesus and christianity is "socialistic". Or maybe the bible is also some mainstream media concoction made to oppress a rich man from enjoying his wealth. 

JAG
JAG

@Marky_D_Sodd @superlogi @oldwhiteguy 

Mark... YOU have this guy pegged.... 

Most of these dumbasses do not even come CLOSE to understanding that the problem is not with socialism... the PROBLEMS stem from Corporation... and GREED..... If EVERY Country in the WORLD Signed a treaty that they would not allow US and European Companies and Wealthy persons to avoid taxes in the County that they reside.... and ALL of the Countries came up with an EQUAL Tax law..... then People like Romney would be FORCED to pay their fair share....

It would eliminate a lot of hurt..... 

There is not a company in the world that decides not to open a business that they think will make money, because of the taxes they might have to pay.... 

By the way... I say this as somebody in the top 5%... 

I think the wealthy get away with too much.... THO, not in Sweden.... Our taxes do not allow the kind of tricks they allow in the USA.... 

JAG
JAG

@superlogi @oldwhiteguy 

Except ONE thing.... that was 45 YEARS ago.... and now it is a WHOLE lot different than you think.....

superlogi
superlogi

@Marky_D_Sodd @superlogi @oldwhiteguy Well, it is pretty difficult to manufacture a riot in Greece, even on the tely.  With regard to my resume, I doubt anything I would send you would be considered proof.  Certainly, the only proof I have that you are a moron, are from your posts.  I'm especially interested in how you came up with the idea that either Jesus or Christianity is socialistic?  Oh well, apparently there's little difference between free will and big brother's forced will to a progressive.  But then, that's always been a problem for pathetic little twits who consider themselves humanity's saviors.  Unfortunately they've never been able to do it without spending other people's money.

Marky_D_Sodd
Marky_D_Sodd

@superlogi @Marky_D_Sodd @oldwhiteguy 

The TV is your source of/for reality?  You are even more stupid than I thought.

 You make many claims about yourself.  Fantastic claims.  And you offer no proof.  

 I think you are just another garden-variety manic depressive Red American.

Call the nurse to change your diapers, and then go to sleep.

Marky_D_Sodd
Marky_D_Sodd

@superlogi @Marky_D_Sodd @oldwhiteguy 

Really?  I have lived 2 years in Austria, 2.5 years in Saudi Arabia and 3 years in Germany.  I have taught at University of Puget Sound, American university, and taught at UIC while finishing my post graduate work there.  

 Never been anywhere or done anything?  You are a fool in fool's clothing.  And you wear it very well.

superlogi
superlogi

@Marky_D_Sodd @superlogi @oldwhiteguy Australia.  I'll send you a PO Box number and you can send a cashiers check.  OK?  It never ceases to amaze how so many of you who have never been anywhere or done anything seem to know so much about everywhere and everything.

Marky_D_Sodd
Marky_D_Sodd

@oldwhiteguy @superlogi 

He makes a great many claims for which he offers no proof...nor even any indication, in his conversation, that they could possibly be true!

JoeKidd
JoeKidd

@shepherdwong

Greece is not in trouble for trying to implement an American form of capitalism. Nor is Spain.

superlogi
superlogi

@BobJan @Dachman Nor does the President.  In fact, given the amount of time the guy spends on the golf course, on vacation and campaigning for a job he wants but doesn't like doing, I would suggest to you he's the laziest of them all.

BobJan
BobJan

@Dachman Then why isn't the Congress starving, they surely don't work?

superlogi
superlogi

@TheFrog1 @superlogi @shepherdwong The standard of living is not higher in Europe.  Not now and not ever.  Same goes for both Australia and Canada.  Enough said, except you're not to be taken seriously and I suggest you talk with a CPA before spewing your knowledge of various tax regimes.

TheFrog1
TheFrog1

@superlogi @shepherdwong   As a matter of fact I have lived  both in Canada and in Europe..  I worked  in Europe for several years.  I was shocked to discover that the standard of living was higher there than it is here. (We rank behind a half-dozen or so  western European countries, according to the UN.) 

Consider Austria:  excellent health care is free. An Austrian worker is entitled to unlimited sick leave (and NO that's not abused, as far as I could tell from the workers who worked for me). Education is available for everybody (not entirely free but very affordable). and everybody speaks at least two or more languages.   The arts -- flourishing.  The economy is struggling a bit right now but nothing like what we're going through.  

Consider Canada:  Despite our efforts to demonize their health care system, it provides excellent  health care for about a 3% administrative cost.  Our health insurance companies take 30% off the top.  (We pay about $5 thou more per patient per year.) And PUHLEEZE can the business about long delays.  If you need medical attention NOW you get it immediately.   That decision is made by medical personnel not by some insurance executive. Canadians live longer than we do too (about three years).  Education is readily available for all (on average a four-year degree costs less than a third of what it costs here).  Their stock market is thriving.  Their economy is healthy (no deficits).  The average Canadian citizen is more than $40 thousand American dollars richer than their counterparts in the U.S..

One last thing:  The average Canadian pays about the same in total taxes as we do (it's less than a half-percent higher).

Apparently you could use a glass bellybutton so you could see the real world.

superlogi
superlogi

@thequeenbee9 thequeenbee9 Who's emulating the US form of capitalism? I lived there and I, certainly, don't know of any European countries that do, save a couple who employ the free market system more than the rest and enjoy greater success than the others (The Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany).

PS Where did you come up with 200 years. Marx didn't even exist until the 19th Century and national socialism wasn't even employed until the 20th Century.

thequeenbee9
thequeenbee9

They are failing after employing american style capitalism and crashing their stock market and removing their safety nets--it is not from following 200+ years of socialism it is from trying to keep socialism while trying to emulate the US capitalistic successes that are the problem.

superlogi
superlogi

@Dachman If the real narrative doesn't fit, a progressive liberal will figure out a way to make it fit, even if it's a figment of his/her pathetically ludicrous imagination.

Dachman
Dachman

2 Thessolonians 3:10 says if a man will not work he should starve. Jesus was always talking about living by faith day by day never about living off of the state. He was never talking about security coming from a communal social group, there is no such command in the bible. Even in Acts when it says that they had all things in common that was not a command to how someone should live.What Jesus expects is complete obediance to Him end of story!

JAG
JAG

@superlogi @shepherdwong 

Well... I happen to be one of MANY Americans living in Socialist Sweden.... 

and I can tell you that people in Sweden live FAR BETTER than in the USA.....

Our Bottom half lives like the middle class....

Sure, I am in the top tax bracket... and pay 55% in taxes... BUT, there is FAR MORE Social and Economic mobility here than in the USA....

Our Standard of living here is one of the highest in the country.....

WE do not have a lot of homeless..... You might see one in many months of living here.....

You won't see a poor single mother having to work 2 jobs to make ends meet.... NOPE.... they make a living wage.....

If we have to see a doctor... we walk down the street to our local clinic.... and 5 minutes later we are in our doctors office.... Unless it is cold season.... then it will take about a half an hour....

Sweden is NOTHING like the Republicans have lead you to believe.... 

superlogi
superlogi

@shepherdwong @superlogi $16 trillion in debt and we're being austere with the credit agencies suggesting our debt is going to be downgraded again.  Are you really that stupid?

PS  Have you ever lived in Canada and/or the "nordic" countries"?  I have and when you attain our standard of living in any of them, let me know.

Marky_D_Sodd
Marky_D_Sodd

@superlogi @Marky_D_Sodd @giantsloar Argue with Jesus, shitforbrains.  He was, after all, the first socialist.It is not possible for a person to be both a true Christianand a true Republickkkan.  Thephilosophies are diametrically opposed.It was Jesus, after all, who established Christianity as the firstsocialism by giving away healthcare, absolutely free, to anyone who asked himfor it.  Can you see RepubliKKKansgiving healthcare, or anything else, for free?You cannot serve god AND money.Other examples of the fact that Christianity is socialism –and therefore the reason that Republikkkans cannot be Christians:Acts 4:32-35:  Now the full number of those whobelieved were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the thingsthat belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common. And with great power the apostles weregiving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great gracewas upon them all.  Therewas not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands orhouses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold  and laid it at the apostles' feet, andit was distributed to each as any had need.Acts 2:44-45: And all who believed were together andhad all things in common. And they were selling their possessions andbelongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need.Matthew 19:21: Jesus said to him, “If you would beperfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will havetreasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”Matthew 19:21: Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what youpossess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come,follow me.”1 John 3:17: But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother inneed, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him?Galatians 6:2: Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.Acts 20:35: In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way wemust help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himselfsaid, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”Galatians 5:14: For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love yourneighbor as yourself.”Luke 3:11: And he answered them, “Whoever has two tunics is to share with himwho has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.”James 5:1-6: Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are comingupon you. Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten. Your goldand silver have corroded, and their corrosion will be evidence against you andwill eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure in the last days.Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back byfraud, are crying out against you, and the cries of the harvesters have reachedthe ears of the Lord of hosts. You have lived on the earth in luxury and inself-indulgence. You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. ...

shepherdwong
shepherdwong

@superlogi Europe's problems are from the American form of speculative bubbles and laissez faire capitalism, and "conservative" starve-the-middle-class austerity. And, yes, the Nordic countries (along with that other socialist bastion, Canada) are all doing better than most of more capitalist and "conservative" western economies.

If you've got a point, make it but don't suggest reality doesn't exist.

http://www.swedishwire.com/economy/5235-nordic-countries-leading-europe-out-of-crisis