1. The Language That Divides America: From Red And Blue To Percents

"[The] red-blue distinction came about as pure serendipity. During the marathon battles over the recount in the 2000 election, those just happened to be the colors the media were using for the broad swaths of states that went for Bush or Gore. But the colors instantly became a proxy for all the differences in values and lifestyle that seemed to be cleaving the country into warring tribes.
That picture really had its roots in the ’70s, when we all took to using marketing jargon like “upscale,” “yuppie” and “lifestyle” itself to map out our cultural geography, and we suddenly discovered a nation called Middle America sitting in our midst. For the right, it was an occasion to brand liberals with the consumer choices that revealed them for the poseurs they were. Liberals drove a safe but ugly car built by the socialist Swedes. They consumed Chardonnay and Brie, and they followed sports that didn’t require helmets or gasoline.” 
- Geoff Nunberg, linguist


Chart via NYT View in High-Res

    The Language That Divides America: From Red And Blue To Percents

    "[The] red-blue distinction came about as pure serendipity. During the marathon battles over the recount in the 2000 election, those just happened to be the colors the media were using for the broad swaths of states that went for Bush or Gore. But the colors instantly became a proxy for all the differences in values and lifestyle that seemed to be cleaving the country into warring tribes.

    That picture really had its roots in the ’70s, when we all took to using marketing jargon like “upscale,” “yuppie” and “lifestyle” itself to map out our cultural geography, and we suddenly discovered a nation called Middle America sitting in our midst. For the right, it was an occasion to brand liberals with the consumer choices that revealed them for the poseurs they were. Liberals drove a safe but ugly car built by the socialist Swedes. They consumed Chardonnay and Brie, and they followed sports that didn’t require helmets or gasoline.” 

    - Geoff Nunberg, linguist

    Chart via NYT

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  1. In the Obama era, you’ve seen [the Koch Brothers’] political network grow by leaps and bounds. Part of this was because there was a major conservative backlash to Obama, and the Kochs managed to capitalize on that. Part of this too was because the Democrats made the Kochs such boogeymen. They essentially drove a lot of Republicans into their arms. The Kochs have always had an uneasy relationship with the Republican party, or they traditionally did, because their politics aren’t exactly Republican, they’re very much more Libertarian, and there’s only a narrow subset of issues on which they actually agree with Republicans, but by demonizing the Kochs, [Democrats] made them hugely popular within the conservative movement.

    — Daniel Schulman talks with Fresh Air’s Terry Gross about the rising political influence of the Koch Brothers

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  1. In the 1860’s it was the Republican Party in Washington - the home of former abolitionists – that sought to grant legal rights and social equality to blacks in the South. The Democrats of the day had broad support among white Southerners and conservatives in the North.
The Republicans, then dubbed radical Republicans, managed to enact a series of constitutional amendments and reconstruction acts granting legal equality to former slaves, giving them access to federal courts if their rights were violated. But Lawrence Goldstone says that in a series of cowardly rulings, the Supreme Court undermined those laws, and laid the basis for years of lynchings and Jim Crow rules in the South. View in High-Res

    In the 1860’s it was the Republican Party in Washington - the home of former abolitionists – that sought to grant legal rights and social equality to blacks in the South. The Democrats of the day had broad support among white Southerners and conservatives in the North.

    The Republicans, then dubbed radical Republicans, managed to enact a series of constitutional amendments and reconstruction acts granting legal equality to former slaves, giving them access to federal courts if their rights were violated. But Lawrence Goldstone says that in a series of cowardly rulings, the Supreme Court undermined those laws, and laid the basis for years of lynchings and Jim Crow rules in the South.

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  1. We’re in a period of incredible volatility. The last time our country went through a period like this, you could argue, was in the years after World War II, when between 1946 and 1952, the House changed hands repeatedly. …But I think it means the public’s impatient, the public’s worried, the public’s lurching a little bit from side to side saying ‘We’ll take a chance on you. No. We don’t like what you’ve done. We’ll take a chance on the other guy.’ And I think what it means in the short-term is it’s a very cautionary tale for John Boehner and the Republicans and I think John Boehner’s well aware of this. They have to be very careful with how they handle their majority or they’ll lose it.

    — Todd Purdum on the massive changes taking place in American politics

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  1. Our guest tomorrow, history professor Sean Wilentz, on Glenn Beck and the Tea Party’s Cold War roots.

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