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Journal of No. 118


November 8th, 2012

My recipe for the Republicans @ 12:59 pm


Everyone else seems to be talking about the future of the Republican party, so I might as well.

Some people on the right have complained that Romney didn't talk about abortion and gay marriage enough... that he wasn't socially conservative enough (or presenting himself that way). That seems like twaddle to me. Just look to the senate races where Republicans lost from self-inflicted wounds by being too strongly antiabortion. Even in a fairly red state like Missouri, where Obama lost by 10%, Todd Akin lost by 15%. And where are you going to make your gains from going more conservative? All those red states in the middle of the country are as red as anyone could hope for; making the biblethumpers there happier doesn't get you any more electoral votes. And if you can't gain anything in Missouri by going more antiabortion, I don't see how it's going to help in the battleground states. Nevada? Don't make me laugh. And I don't think it would have helped turnout, either.

Although there were early signs that the hardcore Christian conservatives wouldn't vote for a Mormon, period, that didn't turn out to be the case. As much as they dislike Mormons, they dislike Antichrists more. And when you get a few high-profile religious leaders to massage their theology to be more politically correct [actual sincere religious people should see this as the abomination it is, but unfortunately most of these people like their government and religion mingled.] many will follow. Evangelicals split 78/21 for Romney. And they didn't stay home, either. White evangelicals increased as a percentage of the electorate from 23% in 2008 to 24% in 2012.

On an important tangent, the 'nones' have increased from 9% of the electorate in 2000 to 12% in 2012. Comparing 2008 to 2012, the nones voting for Obama dropped from 75% to 70%. A pretty steep drop. The only larger drops were among Jews (9% drop), white catholics (-7%) and white evangelicals (-6%). You wonder if more of these people would have defected from Obama if the Republican Party hadn't snuggled up so cozily with the Christian right.

Women went for Obama. Gay people went for Obama. Due in no small part to the fact that people generally don't vote for parties that threaten to beat them with a stick. Maybe the Republican Party should stop doing that.

So yes, I'm calling for the Republicans to start dropping the theological planks out of their political platform. You don't have to disavow or disparage anybody, but hewing to a narrow Christian evangelical vision on abortion, gay marriage, sex education, regular old education, and a host of other issues, is starting to cost you. What's that? You're worried about losing that Christian vote? Wake up. Romney didn't win, but one of the Republican successes of this campaign was that you got millions of evangelical Christians to vote for a fucking heretic. They didn't run away and form their own Christian Party. And you have successfully demonized the Democratic Party as a pack of baby-murdering sodomites selling our posterity into Chinese debt-slavery. If you can get the biblethumpers to vote for a heretic, surely you can get them to vote for a nice clean-cut Presbyterian with no skeletons in her closet. Feel free to make 'character' the codeword for religious, but 'being a dick to people who are different from me' has become a character flaw (on the national stage, at least).

I know there are plenty of Republicans who are not dicks. When Keith Ellison was sworn in on a Koran, there were a couple different Republican responses.

#1 - Virgil Goode (R-VA) - "When I raise my hand to take the oath on Swearing In Day, I will have the Bible in my other hand. I do not subscribe to using the Koran in any way. The Muslim Representative from Minnesota was elected by the voters of that district and if American citizens don’t wake up and adopt the Virgil Goode position on immigration there will likely be many more Muslims elected to office and demanding the use of the Koran. ...I fear that in the next century we will have many more Muslims in the United States if we do not adopt the strict immigration policies that I believe are necessary to preserve the values and beliefs traditional to the United States of America and to prevent our resources from being swamped."

#2 - Tom Tancredo (R-CO) - "He wants to take his oath on the Quran, that's fine. I think whatever you believe is necessary for you to uphold your obligations to the Constitution, that is fine with me."

I'm not gonna stick up for everything Tancredo has ever said, but that statement in its casual secularism is pretty ideal, in my extremely biased opinion.

Anyway, now's your chance to direct the future of the Republican Party. When Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) takes her oath on the Bhagavad Gita, you can freak out, or smile and give a big thumbs up.
 
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From:ian_tiberius
Date:November 8th, 2012 10:16 pm (UTC)
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The Republicans are in a bind.

While you make a solid point that white fundamentalists (I use that term in deference to karteblanche, who feels that "evangelical" is painting with a very broad brush) will vote Republican pretty much as long as the candidate mouths the right words, there's a question as to how hard they will work for the campaign. Whatever Mitt Romney might personally believe, he swore fealty to all the things the fundies want from a president - overturning Roe v. Wade, war with Iran, doubling Guantanamo, et cetera. They showed up in force to support that, as much as they showed up to vote out the atheist Muslim illegal immigrant socialist usurper.

Thing is, fundies have been the shock troops of the Republican Party for decades now. Campaigns need not just supporters, but fervent supporters who will devote their time and energy to the campaign. People who will knock on doors, make phone calls, and persuade their friends. The GOP's other base of support (rich white people) won't do those things. If the GOP drops their opposition to gay marriage and lets schools explain to kids that if you put a dick in there you might get pregnant, the fundies might still show up to vote, but they're not going to pour blood, sweat, and tears into the campaign. The number I heard in Nevada this week was that GOTV boosts your turnout by 4-8%. The GOP can't afford to take a big hit to their GOTV efforts.

(and let's not kid ourselves, if the GOP stops opposing abortion then the Christian right might bail on them entirely. Fundies love war and torture and the death penalty, but not as much as they love saving fetuses. Besides, the anti-abortion plank remains tenable, given that a lot of our society continues to have mixed feelings about it. The no-abortion-except-in-cases-of-rape-and-incest-and-safety-of-the-mother position - which is essentially the mainline Republican position - has a solid majority of support in this country.)

Let's also keep in mind that the Jesus stuff serves to keep people in line who might otherwise recognize that Republican economic policy over the last two decades has been a total shitshow. Lose the abortion or gay marriage positions, and some of the borderline cases are going to vote their pocketbooks.

I think the GOP's best move, from a purely tactical point-of-view, would be to keep all the stuff that makes fundies happy, but drop their opposition to immigration. At this point they might recoup more Hispanic votes (Hispanics are - painting in broad strokes here - culturally conservative and a pretty decent match for the GOP in that sense.) More generally speaking, if they would finally purge the racists they would probably lose less in KKK support than they would gain in Hispanic and Muslim and Asian support. (They might even get some African-American support back, once Obama is no longer running.) There are some hints that top Republicans are already thinking this way, so it will be interesting to see what happens in the next two years.
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From:essentialsaltes
Date:November 8th, 2012 10:54 pm (UTC)
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You're probably right about the grass roots fervor. It's hard for me to gauge how antiabortion the Romney campaign was, having seen only a few anti-Obama superPAC ads here in CA. But the pro-lifers are faulting Romney for not having made a bigger deal of that issue. And the religious wing came out for Romney.

I mean yes, it's in the platform, and maybe that and some words about Supreme Court appointees is all they need.

I think the GOP's best move, from a purely tactical point-of-view, would be to keep all the stuff that makes fundies happy, but drop their opposition to immigration

I think Prime came to the same conclusion.

The GOP's other base of support (rich white people) won't do those things

Maybe they should hire the Hispanics to do that. Win-win?

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From:ian_tiberius
Date:November 8th, 2012 11:54 pm (UTC)
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Maybe they should hire the Hispanics to do that. Win-win?

I met a guy in Nevada - a volunteer for the Obama campaign - who admitted to having been recently employed by the Republican Party (or one of their proxies) to register voters. The pay was $13.50 an hour, and he couldn't turn it down. He took tremendous glee in the fact that while he did his job honestly and approached everyone outside the store he was posted at, every single person who took him up on the offer of voter registration opted to register as either a Democrat or non-partisan.
From:stevenkaye
Date:November 10th, 2012 11:51 pm (UTC)
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It's a Huffington Post article, so take with a Detroit-area salt mine or two, but white women allegedly mostly voted for Romney.

Journal of No. 118