Opinion If today’s GOP baffles you, consider what motivates its base

cigaretteman

HR King
May 29, 2001
73,000
52,663
113
By Jennifer Rubin
Columnist |
November 1, 2022 at 7:45 a.m. EDT


How can so many people buy into false election fraud claims, climate change denialism or panic over White people being “replaced”? How can they vote for manifestly unfit Republicans such as Georgia U.S. Senate nominee Herschel Walker or Pennsylvania gubernatorial nominee Doug Mastriano?

Sign up for a weekly roundup of thought-provoking ideas and debates

For answers, turn to the Public Religion Research Institute’s American Values Survey, which provides insight into the beliefs of White evangelical Christians, who make up the core of the GOP. It reveals a lot about what they think and why they vote the way they do.

A striking 71 percent of these voters think the country has gone downhill since the 1950s (when women were excluded from most professions, Black Americans faced barriers to voting, 50 million Americans still used outhouses and only about 5 percent of Americans were college-educated). Because White Protestant evangelicals make up such a large share of the GOP, that means 66 percent of Republicans want to go back to the time of “Leave It to Beaver.”









Half of White evangelical Protestants also think God intended America to be the promised land. Nearly two-thirds say immigrants are a threat, and 61 percent say “society has become too soft and feminine.” And they are the only discrete religious group polled to support overturning Roe v. Wade.



On race, only 19 percent of the group agrees that “the legacy of slavery and discrimination have limited Black Americans’ upward mobility.” They are the least likely to accept that African Americans disproportionately receive the death penalty. And here’s the kicker: Unlike a majority of Americans, “six in ten white evangelical Protestants (61%) agree that discrimination against white Americans has become as big a problem as discrimination against racial minorities.”
Given these figures, it shouldn’t be surprising that while 58 percent of Americans think white supremacy is still a major problem, only 33 percent of White evangelical Protestants do, the lowest among religious groups. Similarly, 51 percent of the group believe that public teachers and librarians are “indoctrinating students with inappropriate curricula and books that wrongly portray America as a racist country,” compared with only 29 percent of Americans broadly.



And on immigration, only 30 percent of Americans buy into the “great replacement theory.” But 51 percent of White evangelical Protestants agree that “immigrants are invading our country and replacing our cultural and ethnic background.”
As one might expect, this group is bolstering former president Donald Trump. “White evangelical Protestants are the only major religious group in which a majority of adherents say they view Trump favorably (63%), roughly similar to the share in 2021 (67%),” the survey finds. Likewise, 54 percent believe in the “big lie” of a stolen election, compared with 28 percent of all Americans.
In a nutshell, this group’s beliefs clash with the essence of the American experiment and conflict with objective facts, demography and economics. White evangelical Protestants’ outlook is warped by right-wing media and refracted through a prism of visceral anger and resentment.







It makes little sense to debate whether the MAGA movement radicalized White evangelical Protestants or the other way around. They are essentially one and the same.
Last year, Eastern Illinois University professor Ryan Burge wrote for the New York Times, “In essence, many Americans are coming to the understanding that to be very religiously engaged and very politically conservative means that they are evangelical, even if they don’t believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ.” In other words, Burge explained, more people are “conflating evangelicalism with Republicanism — and melding two forces to create a movement that is not entirely about politics or religion but power.” (This helps explain how evangelicals can embrace views that fly in the face of Christian theology; it’s not about the religion.)
The implications of the American Values Survey are profound. If millions of Americans think our country was best when White males were dominant and now think feminization plagues it, a great many would find comfort in the GOP’s toxic masculinity and in forced-birth laws that relegate women to the role of motherhood against their will. And if they dismiss the legacy of racism, many would favor policies that make it harder for minorities to vote and to access higher education (i.e., opposing affirmative action to rebalance college admissions in Whites’ favor).







These views also explain why so many Republicans seem perpetually angry and dissatisfied. What they want is unattainable. America is becoming less White, less male-dominated and less religious. Nothing politicians do or say will change this.
Moreover, White evangelicals are fundamentally out of step with the majority American opinion on everything from abortion to immigration to the legitimacy of the 2020 election. That, too, won’t change, no matter how angry they become.
Millions of White evangelical Protestants will therefore remain bonded with whatever cultlike figure can channel their anger. As long as he reaffirms and amplifies White evangelical Protestants’ fears, he can do no wrong. It also follows that a group that feels so besieged won’t much care about a candidate’s smarts, ethics or decency. Faced with a perceived existential threat, these Americans are inclined to support anyone who gives voice to their frustrations.
What endangers American democracy and democratic values goes far beyond one demagogue, one election or one set of policies. When so many Americans are driven by fear, resentment and antipathy toward inclusion, pluralistic democracy is at risk. Until we grapple with that reality, millions will remain vulnerable to cynical right-wing media and ruthlessly ambitious Republicans.

 

Hoosierhawkeye

HR Legend
Sep 16, 2008
48,231
41,013
113
40
Umm has it occurred to you that it's possible that people who think the country has gone downhill since the 50's may be referencing things other than racism, lower technology, and limited women's working opportunities?

In the 50's most kids had a mom and a dad who lived in home.

In the 50's an entire family could be sustained from one parent working one job.

Granted I think ignoring the other unsavory aspects of the 50's is a major oversight, but there were some positives there.
 

binsfeldcyhawk2

HR Legend
Gold Member
Oct 13, 2006
27,583
37,187
113
Umm has it occurred to you that it's possible that people who think the country has gone downhill since the 50's may be referencing things other than racism, lower technology, and limited women's working opportunities?

In the 50's most kids had a mom and a dad who lived in home.

In the 50's an entire family could be sustained from one parent working one job.

Granted I think ignoring the other unsavory aspects of the 50's is a major oversight, but there were some positives there.
Good post.

There's never any nuance in these arguments when the 50's come up.

50's were Great!!!!

50's were a racist and misogynist hell scape!!!!
 
  • Like
Reactions: Hoosierhawkeye

CLUB215

HR MVP
Apr 28, 2015
2,160
1,970
113
Iowa City
Umm has it occurred to you that it's possible that people who think the country has gone downhill since the 50's may be referencing things other than racism, lower technology, and limited women's working opportunities?

In the 50's most kids had a mom and a dad who lived in home.

In the 50's an entire family could be sustained from one parent working one job.

Granted I think ignoring the other unsavory aspects of the 50's is a major oversight, but there were some positives there.
I'm happy to be living in 2022 compared to 1952.
 

SB_SB

HR Heisman
Apr 4, 2006
6,369
6,413
113
Umm has it occurred to you that it's possible that people who think the country has gone downhill since the 50's may be referencing things other than racism, lower technology, and limited women's working opportunities?

In the 50's most kids had a mom and a dad who lived in home.

In the 50's an entire family could be sustained from one parent working one job.

Granted I think ignoring the other unsavory aspects of the 50's is a major oversight, but there were some positives there.

You can still buy a house with one income but it's going to be the size of a house from the 50's, not some 3-4,000 sqft house. You can't have it both ways.

In the 50's the wife had no choice but to stay, because she didn't work.

Unless you're wanting to make it a law that women can't work and have to be stay at home moms, you can stop comparing to the 50's.
 
Feb 9, 2013
21,139
59,248
113
Umm has it occurred to you that it's possible that people who think the country has gone downhill since the 50's may be referencing things other than racism, lower technology, and limited women's working opportunities?

In the 50's most kids had a mom and a dad who lived in home.

In the 50's an entire family could be sustained from one parent working one job.

Granted I think ignoring the other unsavory aspects of the 50's is a major oversight, but there were some positives there.
It’s possible, but I think what underlies this “good ol’ days” mindset is not so much hatred but simply people’s fear of the world changing around them.

They are scared of immigrants, gays, non-whites in positions of power, etc.…they long for what they were comfortable with growing up and are frightened of the direction society is moving. We fear what we don’t know.

Just my opinion.
 

CLUB215

HR MVP
Apr 28, 2015
2,160
1,970
113
Iowa City
You can still buy a house with one income but it's going to be the size of a house from the 50's, not some 3-4,000 sqft house. You can't have it both ways.

In the 50's the wife had no choice but to stay, because she didn't work.

Unless you're wanting to make it a law that women can't work and have to be stay at home moms, you can stop comparing to the 50's.
This. Even a well maintained house from the 50s is shit compared to a modern home
 

BelemNole

HR Legend
Mar 29, 2002
34,085
71,689
113
Umm has it occurred to you that it's possible that people who think the country has gone downhill since the 50's may be referencing things other than racism, lower technology, and limited women's working opportunities?

In the 50's most kids had a mom and a dad who lived in home.

In the 50's an entire family could be sustained from one parent working one job.

Granted I think ignoring the other unsavory aspects of the 50's is a major oversight, but there were some positives there.
Or maybe you're just finding yourself surrounded by uncomfortable friends due to your religious beliefs and you're trying to find an excuse.
 

Hoosierhawkeye

HR Legend
Sep 16, 2008
48,231
41,013
113
40
Or maybe you're just finding yourself surrounded by uncomfortable friends due to your religious beliefs and you're trying to find an excuse.

Not sure I'm really friends with either side. However I do think that some of our long standing social rules that we have dispensed with in the last 50 or so years had a point and a purpose that would have prevented a lot of the social ills we see now.

Rules such as marriage being a lifetime thing

Obviously the 50's had it's own problems with racism. Certainly not an aspect of society that needs to come back. But there is a great deal of social stability created by tighter sexual norms and lifetime marriages.
 

CLUB215

HR MVP
Apr 28, 2015
2,160
1,970
113
Iowa City
Not sure I'm really friends with either side. However I do think that some of our long standing social rules that we have dispensed with in the last 50 or so years had a point and a purpose that would have prevented a lot of the social ills we see now.

Rules such as marriage being a lifetime thing

Obviously the 50's had it's own problems with racism. Certainly not an aspect of society that needs to come back. But there is a great deal of social stability created by tighter sexual norms and lifetime marriages.
The church of England was formed so the King could get a divorce. Rules for thee not for me huh?
 

BelemNole

HR Legend
Mar 29, 2002
34,085
71,689
113
Not sure I'm really friends with either side. However I do think that some of our long standing social rules that we have dispensed with in the last 50 or so years had a point and a purpose that would have prevented a lot of the social ills we see now.

Rules such as marriage being a lifetime thing

Obviously the 50's had it's own problems with racism. Certainly not an aspect of society that needs to come back. But there is a great deal of social stability created by tighter sexual norms and lifetime marriages.
Sure, like domestic violence and alcohol abuse.
 
Feb 9, 2013
21,139
59,248
113
Not sure I'm really friends with either side. However I do think that some of our long standing social rules that we have dispensed with in the last 50 or so years had a point and a purpose that would have prevented a lot of the social ills we see now.

Rules such as marriage being a lifetime thing

Obviously the 50's had it's own problems with racism. Certainly not an aspect of society that needs to come back. But there is a great deal of social stability created by tighter sexual norms and lifetime marriages.
Eh…people just cheated more and/or were in the closet.
 

B1GDeal

HR Heisman
Jan 21, 2005
7,576
8,941
113
Not sure I'm really friends with either side. However I do think that some of our long standing social rules that we have dispensed with in the last 50 or so years had a point and a purpose that would have prevented a lot of the social ills we see now.

Rules such as marriage being a lifetime thing

Obviously the 50's had it's own problems with racism. Certainly not an aspect of society that needs to come back. But there is a great deal of social stability created by tighter sexual norms and lifetime marriages.
Domestic and child abuse were also rampant back then due to being stuck in marriages. Women couldn't work so were dependent on a man to provide for them. Many harken back to the good old days, but the good old days aren't as good as they make them out to be in their minds.
 

CLUB215

HR MVP
Apr 28, 2015
2,160
1,970
113
Iowa City
Domestic and child abuse were also rampant back then due to being stuck in marriages. Women couldn't work so were dependent on a man to provide for them. Many harken back to the good old days, but the good old days aren't as good as they make them out to be in their minds.
Depends on your vantage point. I can see why men look fondly to the good ol days
 
  • Like
Reactions: TC Nole OX

abby97

HR All-American
Sep 16, 2010
4,487
4,084
113
Umm has it occurred to you that it's possible that people who think the country has gone downhill since the 50's may be referencing things other than racism, lower technology, and limited women's working opportunities?

In the 50's most kids had a mom and a dad who lived in home.

In the 50's an entire family could be sustained from one parent working one job.

Granted I think ignoring the other unsavory aspects of the 50's is a major oversight, but there were some positives there.
Thank you. It drives me crazy when people say the good old days were never good, that's because those same people only want to consider race and gender issues. You mentioned a few good examples of a lost yesteryear but there was also a lower crime rate, a more moral society, less drug use, more civility and a can do attitude not the modern day, what's in it for me attitude.
 
Feb 9, 2013
21,139
59,248
113
Thank you. It drives me crazy when people say the good old days were never good, that's because those same people only want to consider race and gender issues. You mentioned a few good examples of a lost yesteryear but there was also a lower crime rate, a more moral society, less drug use, more civility and a can do attitude not the modern day, what's in it for me attitude.
And yet you guys choose Trump.

Get outta here with that nonsense.
 

Huey Grey

HR King
Jan 15, 2013
50,477
73,853
113
It's truly amazing to me how Dems think they know what is in Republicans' heads, and what motivates them.

The title of this should replace 'base' with 'fringe'.
I know what's in the Republican head: whole bunch of racism, bigotry, and hatred of the left. Nothing else could explain Trump.
 

Hoosierhawkeye

HR Legend
Sep 16, 2008
48,231
41,013
113
40
Domestic and child abuse were also rampant back then due to being stuck in marriages. Women couldn't work so were dependent on a man to provide for them. Many harken back to the good old days, but the good old days aren't as good as they make them out to be in their minds.

They could it just wasn't as common for married women to work. Also you could get of a marriage on the grounds of cruelty.

Not saying there wasn't areas for improvement there. But it wasn't like a person was stuck in an impossible situation.

Thank you. It drives me crazy when people say the good old days were never good, that's because those same people only want to consider race and gender issues. You mentioned a few good examples of a lost yesteryear but there was also a lower crime rate, a more moral society, less drug use, more civility and a can do attitude not the modern day, what's in it for me attitude.

I don't know about a more moral society. Hatred of your fellow man is just as immoral as sexual immorality. And civility between white people was high but it certainly was not high between whites and ethnic minorities.

However a lot of our social ills came about with divorce and single parent homes.
 

TarponSpringsNole

HR All-American
May 27, 2003
2,525
5,154
113
I will take modern insulation, modern poured foundation over block walls, modern high efficiency windows, modern appliances, any day.
Is there a law against modern appliances in a home built 60 to 70 years ago? Updated insulation?
I am in and out of homes all day. In attics and crawlspaces as well. I see it all, and today’s homes don’t compare imo.
 
  • Like
Reactions: pablow

Hoosierhawkeye

HR Legend
Sep 16, 2008
48,231
41,013
113
40
I will take modern insulation, modern poured foundation over block walls, modern high efficiency windows, modern appliances, any day.

How much of that actually adds significantly to the costs of a home though?

I mean I believe every home I've lived in the original home was constructed prior to the 1950's. There were of course renovations to it that happened over the years.
 

ThorneStockton

HR Legend
Oct 2, 2009
25,137
36,360
113
It's truly amazing to me how Dems think they know what is in Republicans' heads, and what motivates them.

The title of this should replace 'base' with 'fringe'.

Truly amazing how? It's literally in the second paragraph, be amazed: "For answers, turn to the Public Religion Research Institute’s American Values Survey, which provides insight into the beliefs of White evangelical Christians, who make up the core of the GOP. It reveals a lot about what they think and why they vote the way they do."

Your dumbassery would be amazing if it wasn't so common.
 

Hoosierhawkeye

HR Legend
Sep 16, 2008
48,231
41,013
113
40
Eh…people just cheated more and/or were in the closet.

Some I'm sure were in the closet. However you don't know that there was a great deal more adultery going on at the time. Quite frankly adultery is far more permissible now than it ever was before.

In the 1950's no one would have voted for a person that was known to have committed adultery on his spouse. Nor would they have voted for a person who has been divorced.

But in the 80's we elected Reagan and in 2016 we elected Donald Trump.
 

Capernum

HR MVP
Gold Member
Aug 26, 2015
1,043
1,585
113
Relegating entire swaths of the population to second class citizens again is your dream? Can't return to the 50's without it.
 
  • Like
Reactions: lucas80

TheCainer

HR Legend
Sep 23, 2003
24,263
18,546
113
By Jennifer Rubin
Columnist |
November 1, 2022 at 7:45 a.m. EDT


How can so many people buy into false election fraud claims, climate change denialism or panic over White people being “replaced”? How can they vote for manifestly unfit Republicans such as Georgia U.S. Senate nominee Herschel Walker or Pennsylvania gubernatorial nominee Doug Mastriano?

Sign up for a weekly roundup of thought-provoking ideas and debates

For answers, turn to the Public Religion Research Institute’s American Values Survey, which provides insight into the beliefs of White evangelical Christians, who make up the core of the GOP. It reveals a lot about what they think and why they vote the way they do.

A striking 71 percent of these voters think the country has gone downhill since the 1950s (when women were excluded from most professions, Black Americans faced barriers to voting, 50 million Americans still used outhouses and only about 5 percent of Americans were college-educated). Because White Protestant evangelicals make up such a large share of the GOP, that means 66 percent of Republicans want to go back to the time of “Leave It to Beaver.”









Half of White evangelical Protestants also think God intended America to be the promised land. Nearly two-thirds say immigrants are a threat, and 61 percent say “society has become too soft and feminine.” And they are the only discrete religious group polled to support overturning Roe v. Wade.



On race, only 19 percent of the group agrees that “the legacy of slavery and discrimination have limited Black Americans’ upward mobility.” They are the least likely to accept that African Americans disproportionately receive the death penalty. And here’s the kicker: Unlike a majority of Americans, “six in ten white evangelical Protestants (61%) agree that discrimination against white Americans has become as big a problem as discrimination against racial minorities.”
Given these figures, it shouldn’t be surprising that while 58 percent of Americans think white supremacy is still a major problem, only 33 percent of White evangelical Protestants do, the lowest among religious groups. Similarly, 51 percent of the group believe that public teachers and librarians are “indoctrinating students with inappropriate curricula and books that wrongly portray America as a racist country,” compared with only 29 percent of Americans broadly.



And on immigration, only 30 percent of Americans buy into the “great replacement theory.” But 51 percent of White evangelical Protestants agree that “immigrants are invading our country and replacing our cultural and ethnic background.”
As one might expect, this group is bolstering former president Donald Trump. “White evangelical Protestants are the only major religious group in which a majority of adherents say they view Trump favorably (63%), roughly similar to the share in 2021 (67%),” the survey finds. Likewise, 54 percent believe in the “big lie” of a stolen election, compared with 28 percent of all Americans.
In a nutshell, this group’s beliefs clash with the essence of the American experiment and conflict with objective facts, demography and economics. White evangelical Protestants’ outlook is warped by right-wing media and refracted through a prism of visceral anger and resentment.







It makes little sense to debate whether the MAGA movement radicalized White evangelical Protestants or the other way around. They are essentially one and the same.
Last year, Eastern Illinois University professor Ryan Burge wrote for the New York Times, “In essence, many Americans are coming to the understanding that to be very religiously engaged and very politically conservative means that they are evangelical, even if they don’t believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ.” In other words, Burge explained, more people are “conflating evangelicalism with Republicanism — and melding two forces to create a movement that is not entirely about politics or religion but power.” (This helps explain how evangelicals can embrace views that fly in the face of Christian theology; it’s not about the religion.)
The implications of the American Values Survey are profound. If millions of Americans think our country was best when White males were dominant and now think feminization plagues it, a great many would find comfort in the GOP’s toxic masculinity and in forced-birth laws that relegate women to the role of motherhood against their will. And if they dismiss the legacy of racism, many would favor policies that make it harder for minorities to vote and to access higher education (i.e., opposing affirmative action to rebalance college admissions in Whites’ favor).







These views also explain why so many Republicans seem perpetually angry and dissatisfied. What they want is unattainable. America is becoming less White, less male-dominated and less religious. Nothing politicians do or say will change this.
Moreover, White evangelicals are fundamentally out of step with the majority American opinion on everything from abortion to immigration to the legitimacy of the 2020 election. That, too, won’t change, no matter how angry they become.
Millions of White evangelical Protestants will therefore remain bonded with whatever cultlike figure can channel their anger. As long as he reaffirms and amplifies White evangelical Protestants’ fears, he can do no wrong. It also follows that a group that feels so besieged won’t much care about a candidate’s smarts, ethics or decency. Faced with a perceived existential threat, these Americans are inclined to support anyone who gives voice to their frustrations.
What endangers American democracy and democratic values goes far beyond one demagogue, one election or one set of policies. When so many Americans are driven by fear, resentment and antipathy toward inclusion, pluralistic democracy is at risk. Until we grapple with that reality, millions will remain vulnerable to cynical right-wing media and ruthlessly ambitious Republicans.

 
  • Like
Reactions: cigaretteman

gohawks50

HR Heisman
Gold Member
Dec 28, 2010
9,497
16,255
113
They could it just wasn't as common for married women to work. Also you could get of a marriage on the grounds of cruelty.

Not saying there wasn't areas for improvement there. But it wasn't like a person was stuck in an impossible situation.



I don't know about a more moral society. Hatred of your fellow man is just as immoral as sexual immorality. And civility between white people was high but it certainly was not high between whites and ethnic minorities.

However a lot of our social ills came about with divorce and single parent homes.
Women couldn't get credit in their own names until the 70s. Society was set up so women were dependent on their husbands.
 

hawkifann

HR Legend
Gold Member
Oct 5, 2001
38,912
17,214
113
It’s possible, but I think what underlies this “good ol’ days” mindset is not so much hatred but simply people’s fear of the world changing around them.

They are scared of immigrants, gays, non-whites in positions of power, etc.…they long for what they were comfortable with growing up and are frightened of the direction society is moving. We fear what we don’t know.

Just my opinion.
The 50s were also a time where the US was literally the only power in the world that wasn’t cleaning up wreckage from WWII in its own homeland. The manufacturing capabilities were cranking from WWII and were able to be pointed at internal projects and private enterprise. As a nation, we were much more interested in acting collaboratively, doing things like the interstate highway system and building out a crap ton of airport infrastructure.

We can’t just go back to the 1950s for a variety of reasons, but if we did, we would need to step back to more modest homes & vehicles, be more open to public works and act more collaboratively with our neighbors.
 

lucas80

HR King
Gold Member
Jan 30, 2008
99,729
132,399
113
It's truly amazing to me how Dems think they know what is in Republicans' heads, and what motivates them.

The title of this should replace 'base' with 'fringe'.
It seems to me they asked people what was in their head and what motivates / scares them. That the answers make you uncomfortable is a you problem.
 

EasyHawk

HR Heisman
Gold Member
Jun 21, 2015
9,879
14,868
113
The 70's and 80's were pretty darn good. A guy could get a pack of smokes or a can of Skoal for under a dollar, kids actually played outside and got fresh air and everybody wasn't sitting around staring at their cell phones. No social media blowing everything up. Lots of outdoor pickup games, baseball, basketball football. Just like the All in the Family theme song, "Those Were The Days."
 

TheCainer

HR Legend
Sep 23, 2003
24,263
18,546
113
The 70's and 80's were pretty darn good. A guy could get a pack of smokes or a can of Skoal for under a dollar, kids actually played outside and got fresh air and everybody wasn't sitting around staring at their cell phones. No social media blowing everything up. Lots of outdoor pickup games, baseball, basketball football. Just like the All in the Family theme song, "Those Were The Days."
The funny thing about "Those Were the Days", if you listen to the lyrics, is they were lamenting the 1920's and 30's. I think it's just a natural phenomenon that people look back on the "innocent years" of their lives and have a longing for simpler times when they had fewer responsibilities. For me it would be the 60's and early 70's, and I am in my mid 60's. For those that look fondly back on the 50's probably are up there in years by now.