Then we have this truly crazy Presidential electoral system in which truly tiny numbers of people in small states have an inordinate influence on who wins the Republican Presidential nomination. In 2012 little more than 200,000 generally far-right voters in Iowa determined who "won," Romney and Santorum with about 30,000 (!) each, and who "lost," all of the others. The Iowa caucuses are then followed by primaries in two more small states with right-wing Republican bases, New Hampshire and South Carolina, and then by Florida, which while not small also houses a right-wing Republican electorate. Thus, to have a chance of winning the nomination, more and more the Republican candidates' pitches have to be pitched to the Right.
It was left for Norman Orenstein of the (formerly right-wing) U.S. "think tank," the American Enterprise Institute, no liberal he, to say, with Thomas Mann of the (no longer liberal) Brookings Institution, in their book It's Even Worse than It Looks (16): "[Today's Republican Party] is an insurgent outlier --- ideologically extreme, contemptuous of the inherited social and economic policy regime; scornful of compromise; not persuaded by conventional understanding of facts, evidence, and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition."
Further Examples of the Thinking of Leading Candidates for the Republican Presidential Nomination, 2012
Let's start with Newt Gingrich (17). In 1995 he proposed executing "drug smugglers." In 1994, before the election returns were in, he referred to the President and Mrs. [Bill] Clinton as "counterculture (sic)." He said that he would seek to portray Clinton Democrats as the "enemy of normal people," and in a speech during the campaign he described America as a "battleground" between men of God, like himself, and the "secular anti-religious view of the left." He also blamed a tragic murder-suicide by a young mother in South Carolina on the "values" of the Democratic Party. In 1995, he said: "We are the only society in history that says that power comes from God to you . . . and if you don't tell the truth about the role of God and the centrality of God in America, you can't explain the rest of our civilization. I look forward to the day when a belief in God is once more at the center of the definition of being an American."
In 1985 he addressed the issue of AIDS, which at that time appeared to be a disease that would affect only homosexuals. At one point he said: "AIDS is a real crisis. It is worth paying attention to, to study. It's something one ought to be looking at. . . . [For] AIDS will do more to direct America back to the cost of violating traditional values, and to make America aware of the danger of certain behavior than anything we've seen. For us [the GOP], it's a great rallying cry." Finally, in March, 2012, in discussing the possible imposition of (Islamic) Sharia Law in the United States (sic) that so many of his Republican colleagues seem to perceive as such a real threat, he said: "I am convinced that if we do not decisively win the struggle over the nature of America, by the time [my grandchildren] are my age they will be in a secular atheist country, potentially [one] dominated by radical Islamists." (How can a man of his reputed intellectual stature proclaim in one breath such nonsensical contradiction is typical of the range of unchallenged imbecility that exists today in America's political culture. I, for one would like to know how radical Islamists, known for their deep religiosity, would dominate in a nation defined by Newt as "secular" and "atheist.")
Let's consider Rick Santorum next. (18, 19) He is the most like my fictional "Jefferson Davis Hague," (who, as the nominee of the "Republican-Christian Alliance" becomes President in "2004"). A major exception is that Santorum really believes the religious doctrines he pronounces while Hague doesn't believe the stuff at all. Hague just used it to get to the Presidency and then spouted it as necessary in order to remain unchallenged in office. If Mitt Romney does not win the Presidency in (the real) 2012, Santorum will be quickly nominated, by the Fox"News"Channel at least, as the Republican "front-runner" for their nomination in 2016. (Fox "news" actually performed the same service for Romney in December, 2008.)
Santorum has referred to the science behind our understanding of global warming and the threats to humanity and indeed many of the Earth's species that it presents as "punk science." He feels that we should continue to rely on fossil fuels and indeed would vastly expand the extraction of same regardless of the pollution of the air, water and ground that such extraction causes (see the book's "Resource Based Economy" [chap. 14]). He seems to be bothered by homosexuals and homosexuality to a rather extraordinary degree. He has compared homosexual intercourse to "bestiality," for example, and would outlaw it (see Chapter 11, "The Proclamation of Right." Then see Chapter 18, "The Second Final Solution.") In referring to the excesses of the French Revolution, he inferred that he believes in the "eternal values" upheld by the absolute monarchy that it overthrew.
On abortion policy, based on his religious belief about when life begins he is against it and wants it to be criminalized (see Chap. 7, "The Morality Amendment," which would put the contemporary "Personhood Amendment" also supported by Mitt Romney, almost word-for-word into the Constitution.) In the process he would of course criminalize the religious/secular belief of those of us who hold that life begins at the time of viability. He does not tell us if he would be for sending just the abortion providers to prison, or would he include those women who have them too (see also Chapter 7). He has not told us how he would go about paying for the massive increase in the size and scope of the criminal justice system that the criminalization of abortion in the way he contemplates it would entail. Finally, he has said that he would outlaw contraception, for it is "a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be."