Since the Barry Goldwater conservative invasion of the 1960's, and the Reagan Revolution of the 1980's, the Republican Party espouses a basically conservative philosophy. Concentrations of liberalism and sometimes outright socialism can be found amongst Republicans in the northeast, led by the likes of Governor Christine Todd Whitman of New Jersey, who refused to sign a bill banning partial birth abortion. On the other side of the extreme, constitutional libertarianism can be found in Congressman Ron Paul, who votes against nearly every spending bill that comes out of Congress, and filed a lawsuit against President Clinton for violations of the War Powers Act.
As we consider the various constituencies of the Republican Party, we should keep in mind that a political party is a fluid entity, and often cannot be neatly categorized. Many voters will fall into more than one voting constituency described. It is fairly common, for instance, for a voter to exist somewhere in between the Christian Right and the "Yellow Dog" groups.
That is, they highly value the Republican Party as their political home, yet they share many of the ideas of the Christian Right. It is useful to consider the following constituencies as voting "tendencies" rather that neat boxes in which to place voters.
The first group we will consider is often derisively labelled by conservatives as the "RINO's" (Republicans In Name Only), who, in their minds, hold what is the last vestige of progressive thought in the Republican Party.
Liberals are characterised by the above mentioned Governor Whitman and former Kansas Senator Nancy Kassebaum, who collaborated with Senator Kennedy on an enormous new health care bureaucracy, and those such as Congressman Chris Shays, who refused to vote for impeachment articles against President Clinton.
Quite simply, these Republicans do not fit the conservative bend...