Sounds like there is a new book I’ll have to read Off Center: The Republican Revolution and the Erosion of American Democracy as the review at Crooked Timber made it sound great.
So why hasn’t the Republican party been punished by voters for its radicalism? As I understand it, Hacker and Pierson’s explanation has three main components. First, information. Voters are often poorly informed about politics, and are vulnerable to “tailored disinformation,” which distorts public perceptions. Second, institutions. The Republican Party has been able to use its dominance of Senate, House and Presidency to set the agenda and to sideline opposition. Finally, networks. “New Power Brokers” like Tom DeLay have been able to assemble networks that bring together politicians, think-tankers, funders and lobbyists, creating a coherent agenda across separate institutions, rewarding and protecting loyalists while brutally punishing those who go off-message.