The excellent radio program This American Life on their show today tried to understand how it is that the voters who identify as Republicans seem, in this election, to have ditched all their traditional concerns about small government, less regulations, and lower taxes and replaced it with an overwhelming concern about stopping the immigration of Mexicans and Muslims and how this change is threatening to split the party apart.
Their producer Zoe Chace tried to get into the heads of the people in the party by going to their meetings and talking to them. She focuses a lot of attention on a community in St Cloud, Minnesota that has been extremely hostile to the arrival of Somali immigrants and she looks at how wildly erroneous information, such as that when the size of a Muslim population in a community exceeds 10%, Sharia law is imposed on everyone, spreads and is believed, stoking fears among white people.
The program lasts about an hour. I found it completely engrossing.