The Cognitive Primary

Savvy politicians have long understood that our emotions, especially our feelings about fairness and justice, drive our decisions, including our choice of leaders. Morality is the trump suit in the game of political rhetoric, as Democrats know well. Certainly Newt Gingrich and his chief rival for the Republican presidential nomination, Mitt Romney, are both able, intelligent men. Both are skilled in debate. Neither is more conservative than the other. But although the latter is by nearly all polls more electable next November, it is rather the former speaker who is now the frontrunner. The difference seems to be that Gingrich, who recently extolled the virtues of brain science on the campaign trail, has found a way to satisfy profound cognitive needs of conservative voters. Conservatives are usually at a disadvantage when confronting moral argument with rational analysis.  Arthur Brooks, at the American Enterprise Institute (where, perhaps not coincidentally, Gingrich was until...(Read Full Article)