Watching all the talking heads and pundits and pollsters and analysts and campaign operatives discuss the returns Tuesday night, I was struck by the fact that the most glaring difference between the political parties was never mentioned.
Practically all the discussion of Democratic returns focused exclusively on demographics: how did blacks, whites, old people, young people, Latino people, male people, female people, etc., etc., vote? I suppose that’s because the Democrats are ideologically homogeneous, with virtually no internal disagreement among themselves on major issues.
In stark contrast, most of the discussion of Republican votes noted the differences among conservatives, moderates, religious voters, voters primarily concerned with the economy or terrorism or Iraq.
A viewer who knew nothing of American politics but what he or she saw on TV analyzing these votes would think that the only things that matter to Democrats are one’s race, ethnicity, sex, age, etc., and that Republicans are concerned only with how conservative or moderate or concerned about terrorists or gay marriage one is.
Now that I think about it, that uninformed view is pretty close to the the truth.
UPDATE [10 Feb.]
Jonah Goldberg has noticed the same thing:
First, look at the Democrats. Listen to the discussion about their strategies. Hillary needs to win more blacks and men. Obama must capture more Hispanics and peel away more white women. Both need to fight for “the youth.”
Now look at the Republicans and how we talk about them. Can McCain win over conservatives? Should he apologize for his support of amnesty or his opposition to tax cuts? Can Romney convince pro-lifers? Will Huckabee ever make inroads with economic conservatives? Were Rudy’s positions on gays, guns, and abortion too liberal?
…. If substance were water, the Democratic campaign would be a desert….