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In Bageant’s mind (and the mind of his readers), every time a Republican wins an election it is because of the imaginary other-ized Them: The stereotypical Big Gulp guzzlers and fried-chicken gobblers and pop-culture consumers whom he viciously describes. Bageant offers the enlightened progressive reader an engraved invitation to invidiously compare himself to these manifestly inferior people — Them! — who function as a hate-proxy for tens of millions of unseen Republican voters that the progressive reader has never actually met.

Much like Adorno’s “Authoritarian Personality” or Hofstadter’s “Paranoid Style,” Bageantism is a faux-analysis, a make-believe political sociology that gives an illusion of explaining voter opposition to liberalism in cultural or demographic terms.