The flight of the moderates

As Trump wins Indiana and with it the nomination, I hear rumblings of somewhat prominent republicans leaving the party. For pretty much this whole cycle, I’ve been saying that we’re watching the dissolution of a coalition between plutocrats (rich people who want to set up the economy so they get richer) who want policy that helps the rich, and bigots who want policy that hurts “the wrong kind” of people. (Obviously there’s more nuance here than this, but this works as a stripped-down model). Since these two policy goals are reasonably compatible, it was a coalition that worked for a long time.

Somewhere along the way though, it seems that the bigots got a little more assertive, and the plutocrats got a little more squeamish about bigotry, and so some plutocrats left the party, and leaving the average of the party more tilted towards the “bigot” angle, and more plutocrats left the party, and… now Trump is the nominee. I’ve heard this dynamic described as the “evaporative cooling” model of group beliefs, since the most moderate individuals “evaporate away.”

My profound hope is that the process will lead to a three-party system, in which the bigots have their own party devoted to shouting incoherently about “the Mexicans” and “the Blacks” and “the Gays” (hi Donald), while being roundly ignored by the rest of us.

 


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