New findings from the Pew Research Center suggest a new meaning for the 19th century "Know-Nothing" political label. Anybody can join the new "Know-Nothings," all you need to do to qualify is to prove that you don't know much about the Republican contenders for the GOP presidential nomination.
The Pew Research Center report
If you qualify, you're not going to be lonely. Pew says only half of voters of any political persuasion know that Mitt Romney was governor of Massachusetts. In the Pew survey conducted in the first week of January, less than half of registered voters could say that South Carolina has the primary election following the one in New Hampshire. Less than half could identify the GOP candidate (Ron Paul) who opposes U.S. involvement in Afghanistan. To be fair, Tea Party adherents were twice as knowledgeable as other Republicans.
So, no big deal, you say? Well, sure. That's politics. Duh. But the obvious followup questions are: How many voters have effective knowledge of the policy platforms and policy positions that are associated with the major candidates? How many voters can realistically explain (or critique) Mitt's stance on taxes? Ron's position on entitlement reform? Newt's intentions for foreign policy? Santorum's philosophy on just about everything other than abortion and the sanctity of the family?
The cable news talking heads squawk endlessly about the "game," who's surging, who's projected to do well among red-headed left-handed former circus roustabouts, who's committed the latest sound-bite-ish You Tube-able gaffe, what the latest poll of "probable voters" reveals……we have precious little discussion of issues, and the modern Know-Nothings don't seem to mind.
I mind….and I hasten to state the obvious: if we had a Republican incumbent and a half dozen Democratic contenders in an endless procession of primary elections, the Pew Research Center almost certainly would be reporting similar results…..
Possible source of even-handed political reporting
FYI: The original Know-Nothing movement in the early 1850s was a short-lived, secretive, narrowly nativist, anti-immigrant faction that had some popular support….thank goodness we don't have any of this sort around anymore……
Britannica.com on 1850s Know-Nothings