Trump has accelerated the process by which I have long predicted that the GOP will go the Way of The Whigs: GOP primaries are increasingly controlled by a Neo-Confederate base with a platform of resentment that boils down to a simple request: make sure that "normal American" is synonymous with "rural, white, religious male" forever. The request manifests variously as nativism, racism, misogyny, and a hatred of govt benefits going to "those" people.
This last bit is frequently expressed as hatred of all govt. That's certainly how the press understands it. But the Tea Party Neo-Confederates love Social Security, love Medicare, love ethanol subsidies, love the police, love the military, and on and on.
The Koch brothers might not understand why the Republican base is so willing to overlook Trump’s heresies on progressive taxation and unions (Scott Walker is even more flummoxed); the media may be scratching its collective head at his appeal to Evangelicals, but Populism wasn’t about protecting the Haves or promoting the Holy. It was driven by the certainty that you were being robbed of your money and your status in the socioeconomic hierarchy, and that your enemies were establishment politicians, the elite money powers, and the swarthy immigrants that they used as their tools.
What's great about Trump is that he serves this group exactly what they want, blowing wide open the sleight of hand that the GOP has used since Reagan to paper over the very real differences between what the party does and what the base wants.
The sleight of hand required a control of party candidates. As long as this control was maintained, it was easy to manipulate the press. Present the GOP primary voter with a slate of candidates that unanimously agree that blacks, Mexicans and women are fully-fledged human beings. When one of them becomes the GOP House Member from District 9 in the boondocks of Georgia, the press swallows the specious logic that the voters themselves endorse the humanity of traditionally oppressed groups.
But give the base a real choice and watch the madness as the GOP base votes for exactly the positions they have been supporting all along. That's Trump.
Still, there are a lot of Red states that have never killed American soldiers to defend the right to own black people. In those states Republican voters are fine with Trump, but only because his style is jocular, cracking wise about murderous Mexicans. Places like Kansas, Colorado and Utah may be red, but they don't long for the days when you could own people and sell their family down the river. They aren't motivated by the same hatred that flows in places like Mississippi and Alabama.
People in Kansas may be Republican, but they don't want to prevent black people from voting. They may like low taxes, but not at the expense of schools. They may like small government, but health care for poor people sounds like a pretty good idea. They may be hunters, but they don't live in fear that college students may encounter an armed (ie, black) mugger. They may go to church, but they think their creationist governor is running the state into the ground:
A new poll from the Docking Institute of Public Affairs at Fort Hays State University shows only 18 percent of Kansans are satisfied with Gov. Sam Brownback's performance in office, and most (61 percent) think his signature tax policies have either been a "failure" or a "tremendous failure."
The Fall 2015 "Kansas Speaks" survey also showed a large majority (61 percent) favor expanding Medicaid. Another 84 percent oppose requiring colleges and universities to allow firearms on campus, and 82 percent are skeptical that voter fraud is a significant problem in Kansas.
But when it came to assessing Brownback, even among those who identified themselves as "strong Republicans," 45 percent said they were either somewhat or very dissatisfied with his performance. Only 9 percent said they were very satisfied.
Thirty-eight percent of "strong Republicans" said they believe his tax policies have failed to stimulate economic growth.