As I was driving in this morning, I heard some speculation that Indiana’s Democratic Presidential primary would “be decided by Republicans.” Given how thin the margins appear to be as between Clinton and Obama, I guess it wouldn’t take much for this to be the case. The speculation went that there would be two groups of cross-over Republicans — “Obama Republicans” who legitimately liked Obama’s policy approaches and “Limbaugh Republicans” who wanted to cross-over to vote for Clinton in order to cause mischief.
For the record, I have doubts about the number of people who are actually following Limbaugh’s lead on this thing. I suspect it’s more hype than reality. But, I’ll run with the premise. Let’s say a lot of devoted Republicans of the sort who not only listen to Limbaugh, but act on his suggestions, decide to vote in the Democratic primary. This means that such Republicans will *not* be voting in the Republican primary. So, I’m just wondering what sort of effect that would have on the resulting Republican candidates up and down the ticket. Obviously McCain and Daniels have their respective nominations locked up. But, there are plenty of state and local races remaining with closely contested primaries.
If the Limbaugh ideologues and the pragmatic Obamicans are absent from the Republican voting pool, what does the remaining Republican electorate look like? Are they more or less socially conservative? Are they more or less fiscally conservative? Are they more or less neo-conservative? (Those are, as I see it, the three main tribes of Republicans these days). Will the ideological composition of Republican nominees lower down on the ticket change as a result?