This is the reality of modern American politics: a large and cohesive bloc ofOnly, it's actually worse than Krugman makes it out to be. As I've noted before, the birth of this alternate conservative reality can be traced back to the end of segregated schools in the South, when white bigots withdrew their children from newly-desegregated public schools and sent them to whites-only "segregation academies". While the rest of America moved forward to the point of electing a black president, the Resegregated and their descendants have remained stuck in 1954. When William F. Buckley was standing athwart history yelling "Stop!", that's what he wanted to stop: the oncoming arrival of racial equality.
voters lives in an alternative reality, fed fake facts by Fox and Rush — whom
they listen to out of tribal affiliation — and completely unaware that it’s all
It’s also, by the way, why attempts at outreach by Obama will
fail. Even if he gives the GOP 95 percent of what it wants, these voters will
never hear about it; they will still know, just know, that he’s a radical bent
on destroying America.
And this is the reason why American politics has become steadily more polarized for the last 60 years: because there's a large segment of the American voting public that has remained stuck in the past. The further ahead the rest of the country moves from the Resegregated, the deeper the partisan divide between conservatives and everyone else becomes.
The Sensible Centrists like Thomas Friedman and the late, not-so-great David Broder, who have made careers out of decrying political polarization and partisanship, insist that the way to deal with it is to pretend that there's no "there" there, that it just sort of happened for some inexplicable reason, and that it can be done away with by an act of will -- all we have to do is all hold hands and sing "Kumbaya", and the nasty partisanship will go away.
In a more "practical" vein, the Sensible Centrists try to reduce partisanship by compromising with conservatives, which in effect means giving conservatives what they want and hoping they won't demand more. However, all this does is validate the conservatives' belief in their alternate reality, and make them even more determined to stay in their bubble; hence, compromising with conservatives actually worsens the partisan divide.
The only way to make the partisan divide go away is to pop the conservative bubble, force them to give up their Jim Crow fantasia, and make them live with the rest of us in the 21st century, where white people are no better than anyone else, women control their own bodies, homosexuality is normal, and global warming and evolution are real. Because if we don't force them to live in our reality, they'll never give up trying to make us live in theirs. And if you're not white, male, rich, straight, cis, and Christian, you won't like living in their reality.