The far extremes of both parties get too much of the news. Currently the far right with their Barack as Adolph signs and their most outrageous comments play well to the show business side of the 24/7 news. These are the so-called wingnuts. Among them are the birthers, those who think Obama is a secret Muslim, and who wants to pull the plug on grandma. The far lefties, the moonbats, grumble about Obama’s health care not being socialist enough and cast their counter-parts on the other extreme as rednecks and racists. Why can’t we just ignore the extremists and pay attention to the rational Republicans and Democrats? (See William Safire: “On Moon Bats and Wing Nuts”)
Where’s why we shouldn’t. The actual numbers of extremists on each side matter for two reasons.
One is that they vote and the other is that they can persuade others to vote.
The recent incident of a local Fox News reporter coaching an anti-Obama group to be more expressive earned her a reprimand. However all the television news programs are guilty of selective reporting. The reporters go into a crowd and interview the people with the most inflammatory signs and I suspect those pushing to get in front of the camera. My hunch is that they don’t seek out the quiet person in the back of the crowd who may have more considered views to interview.
Fear can be contagious and people tend to believe what they see on television news.
I think that while a few moonbats will vote for a third party candidate with no chance of winning or not vote at all as a protest, most will vote for the Democrat no matter who it is. Most moonbats, with the exception of Ralph Nader and those like him who are angry at the Democrats for not nominating a candidate far left enough, have traditionally voted knowing that a “flawed” candidate is better than the alternative.
Avid supporters of Hillary Clinton watched enough Sarah Palin interviews to lead them to begrudingly vote for Obama.
In the past decade so-called values voters, those on the religious right, have complicated the picture because most of them don’t fall into the category of wingnuts. They are a part of the equation because while the majority of values voters are not wingnut extremists, the majority of winguts probably identify themselves as values voters and they vote Republican.
I’ll leave it to the pollsters to do the research on this. I’d like to see the results of a scientific poll of those at the recent Washington “Tea Party” rally as to how many had never voted in a national election before but absolutely planned to do so in the future.
I think for every new young Democratic voter coming of age there are two first time Republican voters of any age coming out the of the wingnut contingent.