David Brooks in the New York Times talks about a neglected core constituency of the Republican party:
Occasionally you get a candidate, like Tim Pawlenty, who grew up working class. But he gets sucked up by the consultants, the donors and the professional party members and he ends up sounding like every other Republican. Other times a candidate will emerge who taps into a working-class vibe — Pat Buchanan, Mike Huckabee or Sarah Palin. But, so far, these have been flawed candidates who get buried under an avalanche of negative ads and brutal coverage.
... I suspect [Santorum will do better post-Iowa than most people think — before being buried under a wave of money and negative ads. And I do believe that he represents sensibility and a viewpoint that is being suppressed by the political system. Perhaps, in less rigid and ideological form, this working-class experience will someday find a champion.
If you took a working-class candidate from the right, like Santorum, and a working-class candidate from the left, like Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio, and you found a few islands of common ground, you could win this election by a landslide. The country doesn’t want an election that is Harvard Law versus Harvard Law.
Rod Dreher, commenting on Brooks' "The country doesn't want an election that is Harvard Law versus Harvard Law line" adds:
That’s what it’s almost certainly going to get. Why does it have to be that way?
... I do strongly agree with Brooks that Santorum “represents sensibility and a viewpoint that is being suppressed by the political system.” Back in 2005, the Pew political typology indicated that the least representative viewpoints on the American spectrum were those most people identify as generally “liberal” and generically “conservative.” The great center of American politics, according to Pew’s finding, is socially conservative but economically “liberal” in the sense of being more or less skeptical of laissez-faire capitalism, and more open to a role for government in public life. Why is it being “suppressed”? I think part of the explanation is that the people who give money to both parties, and those who are most active in partisan causes, come from the extremes. Another part of the explanation is that Republicans and Democrats have gerrymandered Congressional districts such that the kinds of candidates who come out of them have a built-in reason to hew to partisan orthodoxies.