Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The end of the GOP?

No, it's probably not the end of the GOP - maybe the beginning of the end? - but I was struck by one paragraph in this article about the political fight for gay marriage. (Note that it's referring to the National Organization for Marriage, whose president, Brian Brown, was talking about their success in fighting against gay rights.)
Still, his group isn’t taking any chances.

It vowed to form a state political action committee and spend $250,000 to defeat Republican lawmakers who vote for gay marriage in Illinois, crowing that it helped defeat four GOP state senators who supported the bill that passed in New York.

Of course, they're talking about defeating Republican candidates in primary elections, not about voting for Democrats. So I have to wonder how many of the GOP candidates they supported were actually elected.

After all, it's one thing to defeat a "RINO" in a primary, where the loony Republican base has so much power. But it's quite another to elect his batshit crazy replacement in the general election.

Bigots are losing this battle, but they refuse to recognize that. And instead of accepting defeat in this particular issue - is it really so bad that two people in love can get married? - and working to get as much of their right-wing philosophy into law as they possibly can, they refuse to compromise at all. So they spend money to defeat Republicans who might have a bit more sense.

How does this end up for the GOP? Win everything or lose everything? That's hardly a valid strategy in a democracy, is it? Of course, the Republican Party filled itself with former Dixiecrats and other loons when it implemented its notorious 'Southern strategy' decades ago. So now they're reaping what they've sown. Ironic, isn't it?

I see similar changes in the House of Representatives. Republicans used their statehouse dominance in recent decades to gerrymander House districts and give Republicans a huge advantage in many states. (You do this by making one district nearly 100% Democratic, while creating all the others with a minority of registered Democrats and a clear majority of Republicans.)

And that's worked, at least in the short term. Even after an election they lost big-time, Republicans still control the House. (And note that all representatives face election every two years. The House, unlike the Senate, is supposed to flip regularly.) They just have a very big advantage in a majority of districts - an advantage they engineered not by persuading more voters in their state but by gerrymandering districts.

But what then? In a district that's competitive, you need a candidate who's not completely crazy, someone who can appeal to the people in the middle. But in a district that's a guaranteed win for your party, you don't. So in those districts, the Tea Party-types can run wild. They can get rid of those hated 'moderates' and still elect the Republican candidate.

So they keep control of the House of Representatives, but they fill it with crazies. How does that work for you? Heck, Speaker John Boehner can't even get his own party to back his proposals. See where this is going for the GOP?

In the last two elections, Republicans had a big advantage in the Senate, too, because the Democrats were defending far fewer seats. (Senators are elected for six-year terms, but the elections are staggered, with one-third of the senators facing election every two years.) But they blew it, largely because they nominated far-right loons in several states. Well, what works in House districts specifically gerrymandered for Republicans doesn't work as well in state-wide elections.

But that's not the big problem, not really. The problem is that, by filling the House of Representatives with far-right loons, they're demonstrating to the whole country what being a Republican is all about. It's not about working with Democrats to do the best they can for America, but about batshit crazy ideas, uncompromising lunacy, and blackmail.

In the short run, they still control the House and they can do a lot of harm there. But what will this do to the Republican Party in the long run? Well, I certainly hope it destroys them before they destroy my country!

Actually, I don't want the Republican Party to be destroyed. I just want them to be sane. We need two healthy, sane political parties in America. If the GOP self-destructs, I suppose the Democratic Party will simply split into two separate political parties. But that would likely be very messy - and very risky for our country.

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