Wednesday, October 02, 2013

GRAPHIC: Explains Why GOP Acts The Way It Does

Ryan Lizza of the New Yorker explains why the GOP majority in the U.S. House voted to shut down the federal government for the first time in 16 years last night. It was primarily due the far rught wing of the Republican majority, who have been dubbed the "suicide caucus" by fellow conservative commentators.
As the above map, detailing the geography of the suicide caucus, shows, half of these districts are concentrated in the South, and a quarter of them are in the Midwest, while there’s a smattering of thirteen in the rural West and four in rural Pennsylvania (outside the population centers of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh). Naturally, there are no members from New England, the megalopolis corridor from Washington to Boston, or along the Pacific coastline. 
These eighty members represent just eighteen per cent of the House and just a third of the two hundred and thirty-three House Republicans. They were elected with fourteen and a half million of the hundred and eighteen million votes cast in House elections last November, or twelve per cent of the total. In all, they represent fifty-eight million constituents. That may sound like a lot, but it’s just eighteen per cent of the population. 
In short, these eighty members represent an America where the population is getting whiter, where there are few major cities, where Obama lost the last election in a landslide, and where the Republican Party is becoming more dominant and more popular. Meanwhile, in national politics, each of these trends is actually reversed. 
In one sense, these eighty members are acting rationally. They seem to be pushing policies that are representative of what their constituents back home want. But even within the broader Republican Party, they represent a minority view, at least at the level of tactics (almost all Republicans want to defund Obamacare, even if they disagree about using the issue to threaten a government shutdown).
So this explains why Republicans seem so far out of touch with the rest of the American population. It's because they actually are!

Hat/tip to Rachel Maddow.

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