So clearly what’s been happening since Nixon is this:
- Republicans worry because their base is shrinking
- They can’t broaden their base to other voters because their reliable base hates those other voters.
- They have to find people who aren’t yet voters — those people exist! They hate politicians because they keep telling them they’re wrong to be (a) racist, (b) sexist, (c) fearful of anyone different than them, and (d) anti-Semitic. Trump did this with (famously) motorcycle
gangclub members. (Remember! They’re not a gang if they’re White!)
- Republicans’ job is clear: be (a), (b), (c), and (d) and capture those voters.
- Other Republicans aren’t thrilled about this, but they’re team players, so they justify (a), (b), (c), and (d). In the course of doing that, those fusty, old-fashioned “norms” become less normal.
- Since Nixon’s Southern Strategy, when Democrats alienated their Dixiecrat base by extending a hand to Blacks, this strategy has been pretty effective.
- Now Republicans have to find smaller and smaller numbers of more and more extreme and hateful voters. These are not many people, but every one counts and thanks to modern computational power, they can be unearthed.
- To accommodate the very small potential group of voters who might be described as Heavily Armed Mass Murderers, Republicans have to normalize these people’s passions in murdering lots of people with powerful weapons. The rest of the party, being team players, will work at justifying this behavior.
The Republican party is well on its way to becoming the Party of Heavily Armed Mass Murderers. Even now, their speechwriters are working on stirring, patriotic defenses of this slim, but crucial, voting bloc.