It doesn’t take a Tim Blessing to figure out that rules regarding intraparty GOP rivalries follow one of the same rules as business: location, location, location.
Southern and Midwestern Republicans are more populist conservative, Northern and urbane Republicans more moderate in the libertarian sense, and West Coast Republicans are becoming increasingly nonexistent. Are there exceptions? Of course. But thems the general breakdowns.
However, it goes deeper than that. Within those regions are significant differences when it comes to metropolitan Republicans, suburban Republicans, and exurban Republicans. In local, county, and state races, which make up the benches of the national party, the delineations mean a lot.
For a guy who volunteered in his first campaign in 1970 and who turned pro in 1991, I’ve seen this upclose and personal.
Metropolitan Republicans, a group I count myself amongst, tend to be innately contrary, as they’re surrounded by political opponents and don’t care about challenging prevailing opinions. In fact, we rather enjoy the experience, as it’s like shooting fish in a barrel.
I had an encounter relatively recently with a guy who works for a state government. Nice individual, but he decided to play the Trump is a racist card. Now, I have my criticisms of the former president. But he is no racist.
So I asked the man to name one racist thing Trump has ever said. Just one. He gaped and choked like a suffocating guppy. His wife came to his rescue by apologizing for the fuss and changing the subject. Smart girl. Such is the challenge to urbane Republicans, to put up with airhead leftists.
Though on a range of social issues we find our live and let live attitude in stark contrast to our populist fellow Republicans. Which, in a way, brings us to suburban Republicans.
While allied with metro Republicans on a host of topics, their attitude towards people can be highly linked to material considerations. These communities, often quite exclusive, tend to look down upon and actively discourage associations with anybody, both in the political and social sense, who do not stem from their cultural backgrounds and career choices. Trust me on this. While many mouth the right platitudes, suburbanites can be nasty pieces of work. I prefer the unalloyed disagreements with the populist exurbanites.
These folks are patriots, courageous, and passionate. But their passion can lead them off political and ideological cliffs. Having been the whipping boy of liberals for years, these people have a highly tuned sense of cultural persecution. When a politician comes along who plays into that and whips them up into a frenzy it’s Massah Robert all over again. That can prove disadvantageous to rational discourse.
These differences will be a big factor in the 2024 GOP presidential primaries. Whoever can get their base to the polls gets the prize. As such, per the aforementioned divides, location will matter. A lot.