A reader writes:
Perhaps the Democrats can look to India for reasons to be optimistic. At this time, the BJP is in electoral ruins, aided by their rank and honest fundamentalism. They've been smashed by Congress for two elections in a row and the report on Ayodhya is about as damning as can be. In response, the hardcore base is working to eliminate anyone who can lead them out of the wilderness. Just as in the GOP, this is done in a pursuit of ideological purity. The only difference is the religion being espoused.
The RSS, which provides the ideological grounding of Hindu nationalism, as well as a significant section of the ground game, has forced Jaswant Singh out for the simple act of praising the founder of Pakistan. They've warned all other moderates to basically shut up and toe the party line. No one seems to remember that the BJP became nationally popular thanks to a pragmatic program of economic growth, reducing corruption, and downplaying Hindutva. Again, the moderates in the party are bemoaning these trends, and warn that divisive communalism may lead to short term electoral gain, but will ultimately lead to total marginalization. No one is listening.
There are clearly huge differences between the American and Indian electorates, but both seem sick of politics based on fear of the other, aside from a paranoid minority that has no positive identity, only one framed in opposition. This minority is geographically concentrated. In the US, it's the South. In India, it's the Cow Belt.