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Your host, PM 'Papa' Carpenter


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December 29, 2015


Consider the blogiverse, the collection of political blogs and the markets they cater to. No wait scratch that. Consider the blogtrum, the spectrum of political blogs. That makes better sense. I have watched as they have evolved over time and to me that was as fascinating as the politics that were covered and discussed. This I have seen; when the new medium of direct communication and feedback first presented itself there was quite a bit more diversity of opinion on any given blog than you would find today. Taking CrooksandLiars (which initially described itself as a left leaning blog) and Redstate (which initially had a much more diverse group of bloggers) as examples, one can easily see how they have purged themselves of a large number of what could be described as moderate voices. The process of driving away all but the most strident and extreme voices was not even in my opinion a conscious act. The economics of maintaining high volume blogs increased while the revenue streams decreased. They became increasingly reliant on anger driven clickbait to the exclusion of all else. They go for the volume and cater to those like minded individuals who will regularly read and donate.

Divergent opinions need not speak. And I watched as eminently or at least reasonably voices of nuanced or balanced opinion simply left. Wither they went who knows? As humans they still exist and they are out there somewhere. What remains is extreme polarization on fewer blogging platforms. Which brings me to this blog and the very few low volume blogs like it. For Mr Carpenter's blog to become economically successful it would have to draw hits from people who feel better served by reinforcement of their existing beliefs. And it would die in consequence.

I only wrote this because it describes a process that parallels the post to which it is attached and the behavior of the Republican party in particular. When your business model, if you will, relies on capturing predominantly the most extreme elements this is what you get whether you are a party or a blog.

Trump's rhetoric is actually an indicator of how far Reaganism has degraded. It always included appeals to ignorance, but they worked on a fairly wide scale from common to relatively sophisticated. There were appeals to racists and militarists, but also to conservative intellectuals including dubious theories of government, economics, education, theology and sociology.

Trump's stuff is naked appeal to the most virulent bigots, xenophobes, paranoids and idolaters of wealth. Any facade of respectability has been abandoned lest it confuse the issues or the marks. That's "telling it like it is", the preferred language of the fool that can't tell the difference between straightforward honesty and pointless insult.

As I've noted in a past comment or two, a big chunk of the GOP base wants to vote for the biggest, most insufferable asshole on offer - they're basically one-issue voters in that respect. Trump has cornered that market. I'd posit that being at least somewhat of an asshole is a prerequisite with all GOP voters, but many will balance that with other concerns. But the Biggest Asshole bloc has grown into a plurality, if not outright majority, of the GOP primary electorate. And the party absolutely did it to themselves.

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