I think the answer to Phil’s question is, in many cases, yes. Conservatives aren’t the only people who are out of touch, of course. As voters are increasingly sorted into heavily red or blue counties and political movements left, right, center, and libertarian retreat into their echo chambers, there is a whole lot of out-of-touch-ness going on. But there’s a lot of evidence that just running on the standard Republican playbook without any connection to the electorate’s pressing concerns doesn’t work. In late 2005, I made the case that Jerry Kilgore’s loss in the Virginia gubernatorial race was one such example. We’re going to see more Kilgores in the Republican future if the conservatives and the GOP don’t come up with compelling responses to the public’s concerns and don’t shift the issue mix to our favor. Among my many problems with John McCain, I don’t see much evidence that he is a candidate prepared to do that.
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