Why in particular do working class and rural Americans usually vote for pro-business Republicans when their economic interests would seem better served by Democratic policies?
More liberal elitism on display. He makes the assumption that the economic interest of working class and rural Americans are better served by Democratic policies, but never looks into it to see if his assumption is correct.
Update: I think his statement is false. There is a branch of Economics called Public Welfare Studies (i.e., the economic study of how government programs benefit society). That branch of Economic Theory provides studies and theories on what type of government programs promote the public benefit best. Those studies and theories generally say that the best way to promote the public welfare is through less regulation, free markets, and low taxes (specifically a consumption tax). Which political party does that sound more like?
when gut feelings are present, dispassionate reasoning is rare
Some liberals (like this author) feel they are right, so they never use dispassionate reasoning to see if they are actually right?
The Democrats could close much of the gap if they simply learned to see society
not just as a collection of individuals...
This author assumes that Democrats see society as a collection of individuals, but I do not believe that assessment holds up to dispassionate reasoning. It is true in some areas Democrats allow more personal freedom than the Republican party. However, the converse is also true (i.e., in some areas the Republican party allows more personal freedom than the Democratic party). So, a dispassionate assessment of the Democratic party is that it does not view society as a collection of individuals, but instead it views society as a hierarchical nanny state were the public benefit would be best served if the "ignorant" masses would bow their will to the dictates of the "elitist and intellectually superior" Democratic party so it that can pass "wise" regulations to protect the "ignorant" masses from their own stupidity.