Sunday, September 26, 2004

Let's try this again...

I'm reading my comments about jobs, abortion and What's the Matter with Kansas, and I'm not sure I understand them. So, let me try again. I think once you have people convinced that abortion and gay rights are the most important issues, you can convince them that jobs don't matter, that the economy doesn't matter. That's the essence of single-issue voting (or I guess now with gay rights/gay marriage in play, it's dual-issue voting). And that's Keyes' point. Who cares about jobs, when "babies are being killed." And frankly, phrased that way, it sounds somewhat reasonable. So, in my opinion, the problem with Thomas Frank's book is two-fold. First, I don't actually think he does a good enough job of explaining how Republican economic policies are bad for the average Kansan. Second, although I think he recognizes that for many voters, abortion trumps everything, he fails to explain "why." And until we get to the heart of "why" and "how" conservatives have convinced voters that abortion should trump everything else, we will continue to lose those voters. To come back from Kansas to Illinois, here's two interesting statistics from today's Trib poll of GOPers.
Only 44 percent of self-identified GOP voters said they intended to support Keyes
and this
"44 percent of those surveyed said they supported activities of conservative political organizations, such as the Christian Coalition, that are strongly influenced by religious beliefs."
Is the similarity in numbers coincidence? I'd love to see if those are mostly the same people. (If someone knows, or if I'm missing something in reading the poll numbers, let me know.) So, to those people that Keyes is speaking to, he knows them and he knows that they don't care about the economy near as much as they care about stopping abortion. My own thoughts on the "how" and "why" evangelicals got to the extreme right--the Keyesian right--and what can be done to correct the trend in an upcoming post.