The flip side of the last 40+ years of the Republicans using social issues as wedge issues has meant that if someone is interested in, say, gay marriage, or equal protection under the law, or legalization of marijuana, or divesting from South Africa, or helping poor folks in Appalachia, or whatever, the Democratic party is the only place they could turn. And more recently, if you are an economic conservative as well as a social liberal, the Republican party has actually been actively hostile.End of quote. Thanks, Douglas.
For the last 8 years--and even arguably before then--the Republicans have been fixed on personality, the personality of The Leader. For the last 8 years, that has been Bush, and no matter what Bush did, his base didn't desert him. Torture? Pre-emptive, nation-building wars? Vast expansion of executive power? Huge new benefits programs? New cabinet-level government department? Massive deficits? None of these are "conservative" stances in any way, yet Republicans supported them because *Bush* did.
The disorganization of the Democratic Party seems to have some merit now. Politics really are very personal and, therefore, should be messy. When a group of disparate individuals agree too often, the word "cult" should maybe come to mind. But, to be fair, I think a lot of Republicans were quietly unhappy about how the last 8 years were turning out. It's just that we are all so partisan now, we do not perceive that we have choices. So we live like soldiers in trenches, adjusting our bayonets and getting ready for the next charge, the next drive for a few more inches of land (the NFL really reflects our culture back to us). This trench warfare, this constant winning and losing of territory, is what our elections feel like.