Blogs > HNN > Why politics are soooooooooo polarized

Sep 19, 2006 11:26 am

Why politics are soooooooooo polarized

Why has President Bush been able to govern by catering to his base rather than to the middle? Isn't this approach a serious break with the past--or at least with conventional wisdom? Aren't pols supposed to cater to the base in primaries and then in general elections cater to the middle--and to continue catering to the middle after they take office?

An answer to these questions can apparently be found in Thomas Edsall's new book, Building Red America.

Here's the money quote from the NYT review:

Securing the base, Mr. Edsall argues, became a central Republican strategy, especially after Mr. Bush’s chief pollster, Matt Dowd, sent a memo to Karl Rove, the Republican mastermind, in the wake of the highly contested 2000 presidential vote. The memo — which declared that the center of the electorate had collapsed, that true swing voters made up a mere 6 percent of the electorate — destroyed, in Mr. Edsall’s words, “the rationale for Bush to govern as ‘a uniter, not a divider,’ ” as he had promised. Instead, it “freed Bush to discard centrist strategies” and promote “polarizing policies designed explicitly to appeal to the conservative Republican core.”

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