writes in The Atlantic that there's a "class war inside the Republican Party" between candidates who are dependent on wealthy donors and a white, blue-collar, less educated base:
These days, the GOP tone and agenda are set by a voting bloc of mostly white, blue-collar workers whose sensibilities skew more toward NASCAR than golf. In a general election, the party's most reliable supporters are white voters without college degrees. And they increasingly control the contest for the White House nod: In 2008, according to a tabulation of exit-poll data acquired by the National Journal, blue-collar workers made up 51 percent of all GOP primary voters.
...The problem for some Republican candidates...is that many of them still hail from the party's managerial ranks. And that leaves them on unsure footing as they try to communicate with a base whose experiences and outlook are fundamentally different than their own.
..."Ten years ago a Republican primary was decided by who has the best resume," said Joel McElhannon, an Atlanta-based GOP strategist. "Having broader experience was considered a big plus, but we've seen this shift over the last several years. There is this populist strain going through the Republican primary electorate, and now it's less about experience and it's more about being an outsider. It's less about being qualified than who is more angry and more likely to ruffle feathers."
..."Blue-collar whites have been migrating to the Republican Party ever since Ronald Reagan called them Reagan Democrats," said Whit Ayres, a Republican pollster. "It's a culture that is heavily family based, more small-town and rural. It's very pro-gun, and very patriotic. We're talking about a group of folks who see Democratic efforts at gun control as a cultural assault, an attack on their values."
..."There's a complete lack of understanding of what primary voters are all about," said one GOP strategist involved in a potential presidential candidate's campaign, who requested anonymity to speak candidly. "You go around and hang out with big Republican donors, and if you were to take all their advice on how to win, you'd be screwed beyond belief, particularly in a primary."