David Hopkins NYT oped:
You might say that the winner of the culture wars is neither Democrats nor Republicans. In legislative terms, American corporations have claimed the biggest victories so far.
The growing sectional divide — the coasts and a handful of Midwestern and Mountain West states vote blue, while voters in the culturally conservative heartland of the South and interior West largely vote red — is magnified by winner-take-all electoral rules that concentrate representation in the hands of local partisan majorities. The Alabama Senate race was an exception, but this largely produces a stable arrangement of “red” and “blue” states and districts that seldom deviate from their normal partisan alignments regardless of the individual candidates seeking office….
The contemporary geographic coalitions of the parties primarily reflect the nation’s roiling cultural conflicts, but the representatives chosen via today’s electoral map are equally polarized over economic policies — and it is pocketbook issues, not social matters, that dominate the business of Congress. Increasingly unfettered by a declining bloc of dissident party moderates from the Northeast and Pacific Coast, ascendant red-state Republicans have prioritized an ambitious conservative economic agenda encompassing regulatory rollbacks, repeal of the Affordable Care Act and substantial cuts to federal taxes — like the tax bill passed last week — and entitlement programs. Departures from this small-government approach, such as the No Child Left Behind and Medicare Part D programs enacted during the George W. Bush presidency, have fallen out of fashion among post-Tea Party Republican leaders increasingly devoted to the pursuit of ideological purity.