Rejected by their own core, the Democrats looked for excuses. It couldn’t be that their message was repellent to the masses. So they satisfied themselves with “the theory that conservatism, and particularly the kind embraced by those out there in the country, was not a political ideology at all. . . . Stupid hicks don’t know what’s good for them. They’re getting conned by right-wingers and tent revivalists until they believe all the lies that’ve made them so wrong. They don’t know any better. That’s why they’re voting against their own self-interest.”

That is a radical position (to progressives), albeit an obvious one (to everyone else), but Rensin goes a step farther and attacks the pope of the One True Church of Smug Liberalism, Jon Stewart, for advancing “the idea that liberal orthodoxy was a kind of educated savvy and that its opponents were, before anything else, stupid.” (Note to younger readers: Stewart’s “The Daily Show” is a formerly popular comedy-current affairs show to which liberals used to turn for instruction in how to think about politics.)

It is moderately brave, if 30 years tardy, of Rensin to say that what he calls the “Correct Culture” (i.e., what everyone else has been calling political correctness since before he was born) has “come to replace politics itself.” When Rensin decries “a politics that insists it has no ideology at all, only facts,” it’s impossible not to think of President Obama who, Rensin adds, this time only eight years tardily, that Obama embodied smugness when he offered no antidote for industrial job losses but instead dismissed disaffected working-class Americans as “bitter” folks who “cling to guns and religion.”