The best analysis of what drives this stupidity is Tom Franks What's the Matter with Kansas? How Conservatives Won the Heart of America. He points out how Republicans play on culture wars to bring their base to the polls. Frank observes that Dems made a gigantic error when they stopped talking about class, they [assume] that people know where their economic interest lies and that they will act on it by instinct. But they dont. As a result, in Kansas and other red states they have renounced forever our middle-American prosperity in pursuit of a crimson fantasy of middle-American righteousness.
If you look at the Gallup polls youll find that the average American does not consider cultural issues like abortion and gay marriage to be very important compared to matters such as the war in Iraq and Healthcare. Ah, but to the Republican base these cultural issues remain important. Thats why Republican leaders running a do-nothing Congress are returning to debates about moral purity. In June the Senate will consider a constitutional amendment to restrict marriage to between a man and a woman. And, theyll debate an amendment making it a crime to burn the American flag.
Now that Karl Rove has taken off his hat as White House policy czar and taken the reins of the RNC effort to retain control of congress, we can expect the GOP to wage a no-holds-barred culture battle. Well hear some familiar refrains, Democrats will raise your taxes and We need a Republican Congress to defend America. And Repugs will play their Immigration card, chanting that the US must protect our borders and send those people back to where they came from. But, a significant element of the GOP strategy will be based upon mobilizing the stupid vote; convincing citizens to vote against their self interest, distracting them with phony cultural issues.
Michigan has a female Democratic governor, Jennifer Granholm, and Democratic Senator, Debbie Stabenow, running for reelection. Repugs are attempting to link the two women and take them both down. Their strategy has three components: They found an extremely wealthy Republican, Dick Devos, retired Amway CEO, to run against Granholm. They blame Michigans weak economy on Granholm and Stabenow, rather than on auto-plant closures. And theyll entice the stupid vote with propositions to grant due process rights to a fetus, limit the growth of the state budget, and ban affirmative action programs in government hiring.
Ohios a battleground again. The Gubernatorial race features Democratic Representative Ted Strickland against Republican Secretary of State Ken Blackwell. The Senate race has Democratic Representative Sherrod Brown holding his own against incumbent Mike Dewine. The four hot congressional seats are Ohio 1, 6, 15, and 18. The propositions include the Taxpayers bill of Rights, and two tax and expenditure limitation proposals; the GOP logic is taxes make bad government.
Before the 2004 election, several observers predicted that Bush would win because Republicans were going to the polls filled with emotional fervor, either for Christian Dubya or because of a cultural issue, like gay marriage; meanwhile, many Democrats were not enthusiastic about John Kerry. Political scientists observed that voters are more likely to show up to vote because they are for something, rather than to vote against a candidate or issue. In the key states of Colorado, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, Republican strategists will once again follow this logic and strive to inflame the stupid vote. So when you step into the polling booth on November 7th, consider that millions of Americans will also be voting; only not for their best interests, but rather for righteousness.