Aaron Blake writes that, contrary to popular opinion, the Republican Party is not more extreme than the Democratic Party.
“The chart below shows what percentage of the two parties’ bases feels ‘extremely’ or ‘very’ strongly that they would like to have a candidate who has a given position on a given issue. So on Obamacare, it would be the percentage of Democrats who feel ‘extremely’ or ‘very’ strongly that the law should be kept, while it would be the percentage of Republicans who feel that strongly that the law should be repealed.”
“There is a huge premium in the GOP on purity and not letting anyone (a primary challenger, for instance) out-conservative you — even when the base’s position isn’t one shared or emphasized by huge swaths of the party.”
“And it’s in large part because conservatives and the tea party (and Grover Norquist on the tax pledge) have instilled the fear of God in Republican members of Congress by defeating just a handful of them in primaries over the last few elections. On the Democratic side, there simply isn’t the same kind of fear and intraparty activism.”