I shall continue with my musings about the Humanities and higher education a bit later today, but every so often I like to reflect on the passing political scene. In general, I operate on the premise that people who do something for a living tend to think about it and to behave with regard to it in a recognizably rational fashion. The evidence does not always confirm this assumption, but it does seems to me sensible to suppose, for example, that if I am in the shop of an antique dealer looking for bargains, the shop owner probably is more likely than I am to spot a real bargain lurking among the tschatschkes and reprice it accordingly.
My faith in the rationality of professionals has been tried in recent times by the Republicans. Professional Republican politicians are in the business of winning elections, or so I have always thought. And save when you have a Supreme Court in your pocket, winning elections requires getting more votes than your opponents. So let us see. The Republicans have long since conceded the Black vote, which goes nine to one for the Democrats, even though the Black community tends to be conservative on social issues. The Republicans have done everything in their power to alienate the Hispanic vote, which is the most rapidly expanding demographic segment of the American electorate. They have done nothing at all to win the Asian-American vote, although one would have thought they might have a shot at making some headway there. They have as much as told the LGBT vote to take a hike, and now Peter King has opened Congressional hearings designed to convince the three million American Muslims that they cannot find a home in the GOP fold. In Wisconsin and elsewhere, Republican governors have launched a frontal assault on the union vote, always more likely to vote for the Democrats but not yet so overwhelmingly as the Black vote. And now, having more or less run out of people to alienate, they have decided, in Wisconsin, Florida, and elsewhere, to take on the perennially most popular employment category -- teachers.
Will someone explain to me the deep, subtle, as yet unrevealed rationale for this strategy?