It'sl the result of a quarter-century Republican strategy, beginning with Ronald Reagan. Republicans, who had long since locked up most of the big-money demographic, decided the best way to scuttle Democrats for good would be to also lock up America's average (white) Joe and Joan demographic. But how?
To do this they would tap into the kind of voters who prefer environments where critical thinking skills are discouraged, in particular, the Christian evangelical movement. Also ready for the pickin' were those voters who live in constant fear the "gov-ment" is just "this close" to confiscating their guns, or coming to confiscate their property under eminent domain laws in order to build a hiring hall for illegal aliens. (They seen them black helicopters practicin'. And just wait til the 2010 census is over and they start rounding up hard workin' folk who dare to speak the truth..." yada, yada, yada.)
So the plan was to herd the herd-able, snatching them away from the Dems and directing them into a party composed largely of white, middle- to upper-crust Americans. This would be a neat trick since those GOP-ers of old normally avoided direct contact with Americans like these, unless they were in need of the services they provide, like fixing their cars, getting their summer home's septic tank pumped or their kitchens remodeled.
The hardest of all, this was a socio-economic group that barely scrapes by financially. The GOP needed candidates capable of getting them whipped up about issues that will never affect them, like capital gains taxes, and the inheritance tax -- which they rebranded as the "death tax."
These were voters,many of whom could not afford health insurance, but could be convinced that any Democratic policies that made it possible for them to do so, would surely ruin everything. Voters, many of whom have never been to Europe, but could be convinced that "Old Europe" was a Stalinist hell-hole, where patients with oozing cancerous ulcers were forced to stand in line on city sidewalks waiting for "gov-ment-run" health services.
They even were able to convince them to vote against their own best interests, enthusiastically. Even as their jobs disappeared overseas while the people they put in office handed nearly $2 trillion in tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans, and their retirement funds were looted into insolvency, and their 401Ks bled like stuck pigs thanks to phony baloney "trickle-down" voodoo economics ... this new GOP base remained convinced that those damn Democrats, those "libs," -- out of power for over a decade, were to blame for it all.
That new base is now the GOP's tail, wagging Lincoln's old dog of a party. And leading that herd are the very individuals raised from ranks of the paranoid, the under-educated, the pretty but vacuous, (wave Sarah Palin, wave Michele Bachmann.) And they include the holier-than-thou-ers, the Promise Keepers (wave John Ensign, wave Mark (Sparky) Sanford.) who couldn't keep those promises after all.
And now the GOP is stuck with them.