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The GOP: Their Problems, and Their Solutions to Them

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Ever since the results of the 2012 elections came in, the GOP has been engaged in a combination of mourning and infighting. Apparently, the Romney folks actually believed the bulk of the polls (the bulk of which were on a GOP-tilt) and actually thought that they were going to win. After all, they had raised a gazillion dollars from the likes of the Koch Brothers (Inc.) and Sheldon AIPAC Adleson. And after all, Romney had been a successful business executive, at least in the Bain sense of the term.   And what else do you need for running what is perhaps the most complicated country in the world?   And after all, they were running against the (at least semi-) black guy in the White House, and the GOP Congress had been monstrously successful in: A) preventing him from doing virtually anything that could get the economy back on track, while B) blaming him for the outcomes. But despite all of this, they lost. And so, they ask, why did what happened happen?

First, it's Romney's fault. Then it's the fault of shifting demographics. For Romney (yes, he does have core values, those of a truly rich White guy) tells us that that meant that Obama could simply buy votes, by giving away "free" contraceptives (actually, Mitt not, "free" but required to be in health insurance packages, and figured into their costs, but with no co-pay), and writing off a certain amount of student-loan interest. (If that were the case, the President would have been buying votes pretty cheaply, don't you think? Nothing like what the GOP and you too Mitt, charged their monster contributors to buy influence/control in the Executive and Legislative branches.) And so, one wing of the GOP has it, the party simply has to "modernize" its message.   But, it's not that simple.

Since Reagan, the true GOP electoral agenda has been to: cut, cut, cut taxes on the rich and the large corporations; facilitate to the extent possible the export of US capital; fragment as much as possible the so-called "safety net" for lower income folks (of course compared with most of what the European countries provide that "net" is more like a piece of wet tissue); continue to expand US imperialism around the world; continue and expand the dominance of the military-industrial complex in the US economy; keep the nation carbon-based fuel dependent while denying the existence of global warming; and so on and so forth. This is an agenda that the GOP can openly run on only to a limited extent.

So, since Nixon began the "Southern Strategy" of racism-based politics, and added the race-based "Drug War" to it, they haven't had to (run openly on their true agenda, that is). Reagan very significantly added to the "Southern Strategy" the theme of religious authoritarianism, first on abortion rights, then on gay rights. Under George W. Bush, Karl Rove brought to its highest pitch the use of mobilizing the Religious Right on these issues to get them to the polls. This was especially true in the 2004 election, where for example, Rove got anti-gay marriage propositions on the ballots in 12 states, just to make sure that his homophobic Bush-base would go to the polls. But then, in this past election, with the changing demographics, at least this time around, the Rove magic in terms of using the religious-right-based cover issues didn't work nearly as well as they did in the past.   But part of the Rove magic has also been vote-count cheating and voter suppression. The former was apparently on the front burner and then was apparently stopped in this past election by the intervention of the mysterious international left-wing computer hacker organization called "Anonymous" (1, 2). Voter suppression was widely attempted, but was beaten, especially in Ohio and Florida, by a very determined sector of the electorate against whom it was aimed.

And so, what to do? "Modernize the message," as proposed by Gov. Bobby Jindal and Sen. Marco Rubio (before he allowed that he didn't know enough to know about how old the world is, but the number is somewhere between 6,000 and 4.5 billion years),   on the immigration question? Or, give a little on taxes for the wealthy, as proposed by Bill Kristol and John Podhoretz? Possibly ease up a little on the religious authoritarianism issues (incorrectly labelled the "social issues") (3)? Well no, that's not likely to work, for two reasons. One, there is already push-back from the GOP base, for example on the immigration issue (4). Two, Billy Graham and the millions of religious authoritarians he represents (5) are hardly going away, especially when GOP primary voters pick folks like Todd "legitimate rape" Akin in Missouri and Richard "pregnancy from rape is God's will" Mourdock in Indiana, and Republicans on the House Science Committee are quite open Creationists (not conflicted like Sen. Rubio). But then there is the class, the ruling class in the United States, that the GOP truly represents, that wants ever-lower taxes, ever-disappearing Federal regulation, especially of the extractive industries, ever-larger subsidies for those same industries as well as for the factory farms, and so on and so forth. That class is not going anywhere and is not going to agree to change its true agenda one whit.

So indeed what is needed is a new GOP strategy, and we can discern what it will be.   It will in fact be the old GOP strategy but doubled down in certain areas. First and foremost, racism will be brought back, front and center (you know, let's focus on all those "urban" folks who voted for Obama/Biden, as Paul Ryan told us [6]). The GOP will probably be aided in this by the in-their-pocket Supreme Court which in its current term may very well overturn the essential parts of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Second, if you think that Rove and his people are going to abandon their attempts to cheat-the-vote, just because Anonymous appears to have to gotten into his system this time, think again. They will come back ever stronger and ever-better protected on the computer side.

Third, they will, mimicking the Obama campaign, also have a much more sophisticated, computer-based, get-out-the-vote campaign. Fourth, they will be strengthening their voter suppression efforts in every one of the 30 or so states where they fully control the state governments. Fifth, they will try to tailor their message of religious authoritarianism so that its gets to their targets alright, but future Akins and Mourdocks will get schooled is using less inflammatory language for the general electorate. Finally, for the whole of the next Obama term they will be on the de-legitimizing/stop-him-in-his-tracks attack --- the whole Benghazi-messaging-totally-manufactured "crisis," which also has the advantage of targeting another African-American in addition to the President --- is only the first salvo in this one.

The GOP is not going to fade into the historical dust. The class it represents will make sure that that doesn't happen.   Because of the demographic changes, their traditional cover messages do seem to have had less effect on an election with a reasonably honest vote count. And so A) they will ramp up on racism and B) they will double down on controlling and limiting the vote. After all, as one of the god-fathers of modern Reactionary Republicanism, Paul Weyrich, many years ago said: "We don't want everyone to vote. Quite frankly, our leverage goes up as the voting population goes down" (7).

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References:

1.        Jonas, S. " Ohio and an Attempt to Cheat the Vote? by Dr. Steve Jonas, Nov. 7, 2012, published on: The Planetary Movement: http://www.planetarymovement.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=737&Itemid=58 , OpEdNews: http://www.opednews.com/articles/I-Was-Wrong-About-the-Elec-by-Steven-Jonas-121107-91.html , The Greanville Post: http://www.greanvillepost.com/2012/11/08/postmortems-ohio-and-an-attempt-to-cheat-the-vote/

2.        http://wonkette.com/489966/anonymous-claims-it-stopped-karl-rove-from-hacking-the-election-by-hacking-orca-we-think

3.        Jonas, S., " Winning the Abortion Wars: Cong. Akin, the GOP, and Religious Authoritarianism," August 25, 2012, click here

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4.        " Tell New York Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer: No Amnesty for Illegal Aliens!"   Newsmax/NumbersUSA, Nov. 14, 2012.

5.        "Billy Graham: A True October Surprise," http://www.texasgopvote.com/tags/billy-graham .

6.        Rosenberg, P., "Courting Jim Crow: The US Supreme Court is gearing up for another outrageous decision - to consider striking down the Voting Rights Act." Aljazeera, Nov. 16, 2012, http://en-maktoob.news.yahoo.com/courting-jim-crow-112858698.html .

7.        Freedom Writer, Nov., 1994, p. 2, "Church Organization is Key to Coalition's success."

 

http://thepoliticaljunkies.org/

Steven Jonas, MD, MPH, MS, is a Professor of Preventive Medicine at the School of Medicine, Stony Brook University (NY) and author/co-author/editor/co-editor of over 30 books on health policy, health and wellness, and sports and regular exercise. In (more...)
 

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