The Changing Republican Coalition
In some ways the Republican coalition is the sames as always: asset strippers, car dealers, guys who are really in to machine guns. And their wives
Or so I would say until the end of Roe v Wade. The women who have fled the Republican Party have left a huge electoral hole to be filled. No-information voters are helping the GOP do it.
Political scientists will recognize this coalition: its the one that almost propelled Millard Filmore to the Presidency in 1854 (and led to the demise of the Whig Party -ed)
Who Are No-Information Voters?
Who are these No-information (NI) voters and how have they managed to learn nothing? Indeed how do they function at all?
You would expect that people with no information would be particularly vulnerable in a knowledge-based economy. But that’s not quite how it plays out in practice. It is instructive to think of the not-informed as a kind of knowledge freeloader. Every single day informed people make functional, evidence-based decisions. Over time our political and cultural institutions have evolved to respond to this resulting in many of the wonders you take for granted, like elevators and planes that fly. None of this is because of ignorance. NIs are along for the ride.
But that doesn’t make them mere ciphers. Their presence in our politics influences a broad range of political outcomes. For example, No-information voters have a weak understanding of physics. This makes them a stolid ally in the battle against climate scientists.
No-Info Voters Don’t Understand the Physical World
|Low-Info Voter||No-Info Voter|
|CO2 is best described as…||A green house gas||A gas||Fake news|
How Do the Politics Play Out?
No-information voters are particularly coveted by political campaigns. Political Scientist Juliet Aziyat explains, “Informed voters are expensive to win over and keep. Grounding every policy in fact takes paid interns, for example. With no-information voters almost any policy, no matter how trivial, will do.”
“Almost is an important caveat”, continues Juliet with a shrug. “There are some things even a disinformed voter won’t believe.”
“You mean conspiracy theories like that Hilary Clinton runs a pedophile pizza-delivery ring and ran for President to cover up her crimes?”
“No, that’s plausible.”
NIs Voters Comes With Baggage
Among professional liars there has always been deep respect for the depth and versatility of the Republican bench, covering the range from lying to the United Nations Security Council in order to start a war, to pretending to protect social security. This has led to allowed very implausible ideas to enter our political discouse, for example the meme about the Wuhan virus.
No-Info Voters Have a Poor Understanding of Geography
|Wuhan is …||A town in upstate New York||3%|
|Those dimples on shrimp dumplings||2%|
Its easy to call the “Wuhan virus” meme a political job well done, and otherwise dismiss it. But this is a dangerous practice. Using memes to manipulate the a-informed poses real challenges. Research shows time and again that No-information aren’t paying any attention at all. Consider what that means in terms of practical considerations, like getting out the vote.
NI Political Engagement
|Would you rather …|
|Engage in political discourse||3%|
|Do something else||98%|
“Getting No-information voters out to the polls is like herding lobotomized cats” -Professor Aziyat.
Looking at these negatives, some Republicans are beginning to question whether NIs are worth the effort. Industrialist Thomas “Daddy” Warbucks is one of the skeptics. “I think it comes down to policy. If you’re Mitch McConnell and your goal is to help your cronies loot the federal government No-Information voters are a perfect base. But I’m interested in policy. I want clean factories that provide good jobs and produce things we need. Politically, NIs may help me achieve that goal, but they are a terrible foundation on which to build a party. And a nation.”