John Cole pins down a big part of the problem.
How do you have a sensible policy debate with people who reject basic facts? It’s like trying to debate members of a cargo cult- the modern GOP carry the crosses but have no idea what it means to be christian. They talk about free markets, but have no understanding of economics. Just say deregulate and tax cuts a lot, and MAGIC WILL HAPPEN. Evolution? LIES! Climate change? LIES! Modern Medicine and vaccines? LIES! KEEP GOVERNMENT OUT OF MY MEDICARE! That scooter just magically showed up from the scooter store, like a coca cola bottle from heaven!
I really have no idea what to do about this, but I think it would help if more people had a more developed sense of when they’re being lied to. Being deceived is not a sign of weakness. A willingness to be deceived is a fatal flaw.