These don’t get Republicans to 50 percent + 1 in elections as readily as they used to:
- The pro-torture dog whistle,
- the drug war dog whistle,
- the anti-immigration dog whistle,
- the anti-gay dog whistle,
- the fear-of-terrorism dog whistle,
- the anti-Muslim dog whistle,
- the anti-crime dog whistle,
- the black menace dog whistle,
- the anti-feminist dog whistle,
- the anti-abortion dog whistle,
- the anti-Obamacare dog whistle,
- the anti-UN dog whistle,
- the have-prayer-in-schools dog whistle,
- the save-our-automatic weapons (!) dog whistle,
- the war-on-Christmas dog whistle,
- the increase-military-spending dog whistle,
- the anti-China dog whistle,
- the axis-of-evil dog whistle.
Conservatives are suddenly coming across largely as cranks when they deploy these. But the hysteria, fear, and emotional pain that adheres to these issues are still with us. It’s just that they’re not infecting more than half the voting population (as they have in the past).
I wonder why this is. Is it as simple as demographics? Internet exposure? After the presidential election, it feels like the country may have shifted as starkly as when the 1950s turned into the 1960s. The Obama era seems to be representing the permanent consolidation of cultural liberalism in the country–the end of numerous aspects of the culture wars (not within the Republican Party, of course, but nationally).
My guess is that conservatives will become less politicized and more insular going forward. But where will psychological pain find its expression? Who or what will be left for projection, demonizing, and moral panic? Is there really no going back on such things as gay marriage?
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