Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The New Republic on American Nations and the GOP Primaries

The New Republic's Alec MacGillis today offers this enjoyable piece which muses on how the winners of the Republican presidential primaries to date have each turned out to have each had a "national" home court advantage, as defined by my new book, American Nations.

Given the same assignment, I would have written almost exactly what MacGillis did. The pattern of national origins -- more or less -- has been hard to miss, but my paradigm is really about defining and explaining dominant cultures, not the individuals living within them (who may love, hate, or have mixed feelings about various aspects of the cultural atmosphere around them). Politicians are wonderful ciphers for understanding these cultures, but largely by dint of their policies having been accepted or rejected by the voting populace of a given regional culture. That, say, Tom DeLay was born outside of the Deep South isn't really of interest; that he was elected -- time and again -- by the people of a Deep Southern district very much is, because it is revealing of the dominant priorities of that area.

If cultural prerogatives continue to play out, Gingrich is likely to push Romney aside in Florida (because so much of it is in the Deep South), while Romney is going to have a leg up in Yankee Michigan.

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