The Cuckoo In The Nest

Nate Cohn notes that the GOP has problems with swing-state white voters:

[T]he Republicans shouldn't let their national standing among white voters obscure their real challenges with white voters outside of the South. It’s not useful for Republican strategists to take solace in Obama's 39 percent showing among white voters if Obama still managed to do much better than Kerry or Gore in states like Iowa, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Colorado, and Minnesota. In the Electoral College system, turning "lean Republican" states like Arkansas, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Missouri into "solid Republican" states just doesn't matter.

It's pretty simple. The South is a very powerful influence on any party – it defined the Democrats for a very, very long time, but the Dems also had a strong Northeastern and MidWest reach to balance it out. The GOP's current no pre-nup marriage to Dixie, rooted this time in fundamentalist religion and racial and cultural panic, has no such counter-balance. They used to have the libertarian West, but that is simply incompatible with a religious party bent on suppressing "sin" through political power. It is a region that has been culturally and politically hijacked by fundamentalist charlatans. They cannot adjust their policies on the evil of gay relationships or abortion or, increasingly, contraception. They answer to God, not focus groups.

It's also a culture almost defined against the "other" from the get-go – and getting most Southern populist Republicans to find common ground with Latinos, as Krauthammer, in an almost self-parody of denial and certitude, now swiftly recommends, is, well, unlikely absent a truly gifted pol. Maybe that is Ted Cruz. But he, like Rubio, was grown in a hydroponic right-wing pol factory.