David Frum

02.11.13

Alienated White Men

I think Sam Tanenhaus' claim in the New Republic that the GOP has become "the party of Calhoun" is wrong. He is (in my opinion) over-diagnosing the grumblings that always follow an unexpected election defeat. But this one point by Tanenhaus does provoke deep thought:

What happens to US politics, and especially to conservative politics, when the former "insiders" become the alienated outsiders?

The image of the "angry black man" still purveyed by sensationalists such as Ann Coulter and Dinesh D'Souza is anachronistic today, when blacks and even Muslims, the most conspicuous of "outsider" groups, profess optimism about America and their place in it. A politics of frustration and rage remains, but it is most evident within the GOP's dwindling base—its insurgents and anti-government crusaders, its "middle-aged white guys." They now form the party's one solid bloc, its agitated concurrent voice, struggling not only against the facts of demography, but also with the country's developing ideas of democracy and governance.