A black hole is a mass which reaches the point where it gets denser and denser. As it does that, it radiates out fractions of its mass. The physics is complicated, but I only want this aspect for a simile of the modern Republican Party.

Elected Republicans have been moving more and more to the right, and Republican candidates have been moving rightward faster. (Arlen Specter is too moderate; I can understand that. Richard Lugar?) As the electoral party becomes more homogenous, those more moderate are cast out. Any such movement of Republican voters is very slight if it even exists. (Although, back in the Bush era, I met a man who identified himself as an "ex-Republican.")

While changing Republican moderates into Democratic moderates will, inevitably, move the Democratic Party to the right, I think this process needs to be encouraged. Elections ain't unicorns. How I see this playing out in the Hagel nomination, and then how each of us can do his (or her) part.

President Obama
Has nominated Hagel to be Sec. of Defense. Hagel is a Republican from fucking Nebraska, the reddest state in the Midwest. Hagel was a Republican Senator who broke with Bush over the Iraq war. This has led some present Republican senators to say that he is "not really a Republican." (Just how that disqualifies him from serving in a Democratic administration, I can't see.)
Let's make every Republican voter who came to disagree with Bush over the Iraq war know that they, too, are not wanted in their party. President Obama is opening his arms to the sane fringe of the Republican Party.

Should work to hold moderate Republicans in Congress accountable for their votes for radical programs. The Ryan budget is  good example. If they don't act crazy, or don't act crazy often enough, the Tea Party will get them in the primaries. Let's increase their strain by showing that if they do act crazy, we will get them in the general.
We can do this once every two (or six) years in the voting booth. We should do this the rest of the time in the fight for public opinion.
I keep harping on LTEs, and I will keep harping on LTEs. It's a great way to influence public opinion, and it's open to each person. These aren't, however, the only way to shape public opinion. I'm not trying to dictate tactics; I'm trying to inspire goals.

If we succeed in peeling off a few people from the sane fringe of the Republican Party, then Republican primary voters will be, on average, even crazier. That should make some on the sane fringe readier to leave. Single steps in this process won't change enough voters, but the process can go on repeatedly.

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