Friday, February 27, 2015

Evolution Of The Republican Party Or Why Democrats Need To Tune In And Turn Out

What does it mean that your typical Republican does not believe in global warming or evolution, but does believe that Christianity should be established as this country's national religion? 

According to a recent Public Policy Polling national Republican poll:
  • Only 25% of Republicans believe in global warming (another 10% are not sure) and 66% do not believe that global warming exists.
  • A plurality of Republicans, 49%, do not believe in evolution (13% are unsure) and only 37% believe in the theory of evolution. 
  • 57% of Republicans would support establishing Christianity as our "national religion" (with another 13% unsure), while only 30% oppose it.
(And, according to another recent poll, only 11% of Republicans believe that Obama loves America, a vast majority agreeing with Rudy Giuliani's ridiculous but insidious attack on the President.)

Are we doomed as a democracy, as a nation, when the majority of one of our two political parties has no faith in science or, apparently, in the Constitution (except for the Second Amendment); when that majority is not only more likely to believe in the Biblical prophesy of End Times than man-made climate change but wants to ensure that we all believe likewise?

With less than 60% of eligible voters turning out for the last presidential election, and barely a third voting in the last mid-term election, the key is making sure the rational half of the electorate tunes in and turns out.  

This is admittedly made more difficult in our post-Citizens United world where reasonable voices are drowned out by unlimited corporate spending.  It is also made more difficult because the mainstream media normalizes inane Republican positions on everything from national security and the environment to economics and civil rights by relentlessly seeking an illusory middle ground no matter how off the rails the right wing veers.  As the great Charles Pierce puts it, "the consistent inability to recognize the modern Republican party for the bag of nuts it has become is a true phenomenon in American journalism."

What is critical is for Democrats to rally around a cohesive and comprehensive message of economic inequality, wage stagnation and the decline of the middle class. 

A helpful template has just been provided by Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Elijah Cummings, who announced in an USA Today op-ed the launching of a "Middle Class Prosperity Project," which will examine how the nation's economic system has been "rigged against the middle class over the past several decades" and promote "policies to ensure that the best days of America's middle class are still ahead."

Such an approach should not only energize Democratic voters but might even appeal to the narrow swath Republicans who are able to find a foothold in reality. 


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