I like this provocative post from Matt Yglesias where he argues that the inability of the Republican party to predict their own loss, correlates with poor policymaking. The connection from that direction is a bit weak to me, but, as a scientist, I’ve always thought the logic extends from this idea found at the end of the piece:
On the right, the idea of academic expertise is held in low esteem. Conservatives accurately perceive that academia is hostile to nationalism and religious traditionalism and thus become much more prone to become out of touch with academic knowledge or to reject valid academic insights even on other topics.
I’m one of those academics he describes in that sentence, so I suppose it isn’t surprising that I find little to like about the Republican party. However, I don’t think it’s so much “nationalism and religious traditionalism” so much as it is simply the Republican rejection of science. Paul Krugman expressed a similar sentiment when admitted to rooting for Nate Silver simply on professional grounds, e.g., that science applied to polling leads to good predictions. To me, it’s pretty consistent that rejecting science leads to both bad policy and bad poll reading.
I should also add that I make a, perhaps false, distinction between Republicans and Conservatives that makes me object to Matt’s use of the word Conservatives in the above quote. I consider Republicans ideals to be a sort of ‘average’ over the many ideas presented by current politicians and people who self identify as Republicans. I apply the same sort of thinking to Democrats and, in both cases, I find very little logic behind their platforms–as should probably be expected given my definition. On the other hand, I consider Conservatives and conservatism a way of reasoning that stems from the idea that government should remain small. Conservatism, with my definition, has much to like and certainly doesn’t include a rejection of science.