More Democrats than Republicans showed up to vote in 2012, and that is why Obama won. More Democrats showed up to vote because there are more registered Democrats than Republicans. Hate it or love it, that’s the reality of politics right now: there are more Democrats than Republicans and, at least in presidential years, more Democrats than Republicans will vote. That could change, of course, but why would it?
Likewise, the Republican party is beholden to its far right wing because a lot of people from its far right wing show up to vote in primaries. O’Donnell, Akin, Mourdock…why did they win primaries? Because a lot of the people who showed up at some Republican primaries were crazy.
Jonathan Chait is right on the money: there’s no reason to think that Republicans will “tack to the center” no matter how much fan fiction Bobo and Chunky Bobo write about the supposedly newly Burkean Republican leaders. The Virginia GOP is in the process of choosing a bat shit crazy candidate over a more moderate one and there’s talk of replacing Boehner with some nut from Georgia. Here’s a pretty good list of things to keep an eye on in the way of Republican primary activity (tellingly, the first item on the list was whether the VA GOP would get behind the Cooch…they did).
This stuff isn’t complicated. Republicans will stop with the extreme rhetoric when it stops winning primaries. They’ll start winning national elections when they achieve some kind of registration parity.