by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
The Republicans have stripped down their constituency to only “the worst of the worst” Americans: “white supremacists, misogynists and other dead enders.” Obama’s Democrats have absorbed the rest of the GOP, to become the New Republican Party of austerity and war.
Freedom Rider: What Ails the GOP
by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
“The Democrats have taken positions which were once the sole property of the GOP.”
The plight of the Republican Party and its damaged brand are much in discussion recently. Republicans are in a state of despair over their loss in the 2012 presidential election and, as is always the case, debate among themselves about the reasons for their defeat. Despite the absence of polling or other data which might indicate a Mitt Romney victory, they had high hopes of defeating Barack Obama. They used every opportunity to undo and weaken his initiatives but they made the error of listening only to those within their bubble, and created needless enmity among enough white Americans to help Obama win convincingly.
Their meme of labeling 47% of Americans as deadbeats did not exclude white people, and sealed their doom among those voters they needed. The anti-immigrant “self deportation” plan turned Latino swing voters into a solid part of the democratic bloc. The gender gap won’t go away as long as Republican candidates outdo one another with sexist comments about birth control and abortion.
Yet there is another factor which spells, if not doom, bad omens for the Republicans. Simply put, the Democrats have taken positions which were once the sole property of the GOP and in so doing have either held down their turnout or stolen voters away from them altogether.
“The Democratic Party is now the Republican Party.”
Consider that the Democratic Party is now the party most representative of the American imperial imperative. Bush and Cheney may have begun making the fantasy of the New American Century a reality, but Barack Obama has perfected their doctrine and turned it into an electoral winner.
While George W. Bush claimed the right to name anyone an enemy combatant who immediately lost all due process rights, Obama has gone even further. He claims the right to name anyone a terrorist and have them killed. The victim need not be charged or tried in a court of law. Congress, the corporate media and, sadly, most Democrats have gone along with what ought to be an outrage, and allowed a Democrat to move to the right of Bush and Cheney.
The prison at Guantanamo is still open for business, holding as captives men who are clearly not “the worst of the worst” as Americans had been told. They are kept in conditions which are universally condemned as torture but there is no talk of their condition ending anytime soon.
On the domestic policy front, Obama has succeeded in putting the already frayed safety net on the budget cutting table. Social Security was once “the third rail of politics,” untouchable by any political means. It is now as touchable as anything else Americans once thought were sacrosanct, like the postal service and public schools whose existence are now endangered by Democrats in Washington and around the country.
“Obama has succeeded in putting the already frayed safety net on the budget cutting table.”
Simply put, the Democratic Party is now the Republican Party. Obamacare is nothing more than the plan which Richard Nixon presented forty years ago. Mitt Romney found it hard to distinguish himself from Obama in part because he too had enacted almost identical legislation as the governor of Massachusetts. The far right may call the Affordable Care Act a socialist scheme for national health insurance. We should be so lucky. It is a bailout of the health insurance and pharmaceutical industries which must make Tricky Dick Nixon smile in the great beyond.
Republicans are now dependent upon the worst of the worst Americans. Only the most solid of red state voters, white supremacists, misogynists and other dead enders can be counted on to vote in their column. Republicans prevail only in the House of Representatives because their victory in the 2010 off year election allowed state legislatures to gerrymander districts in their favor.
In the post mortem of the 2012 elections, Republicans moan that fewer white people voted. Of course their turnout dropped. Republicans forgot to tag only black people as sponging parasites and they didn’t do as good a job of taking over foreign countries as Obama has done. There was less reason to go to the polling place now that the Democrats are also the white people’s party.
“Why shouldn’t fiscal conservatives want to vote for Obama?”
While Republican run state legislatures come up with more bizarre schemes to end abortion rights or prevent black and brown people from voting, Democrats have usurped their role of popularizing formerly right wing ideology. Democrats gladly make the case for austerity and budget cutting. Why shouldn’t fiscal conservatives want to vote for Obama?
Republican ire directed at Barack Obama now comes mostly from racists who don’t want to see a black president. That black president still represents the demands of the 1%, the demand for empire, and racism conducted by more subtle means. There are enough white people satisfied with that post-racial state of affairs to keep Obama and the rest of the Democrats in control.
The Republicans have resorted to finding politicians with Spanish surnames to repeat their losing arguments. If someone named Cruz or Rubio is against abortion or says evolution is just a theory, they will still lose. They will lose because the Democrats are now making the Republican argument more effectively than the Republicans do themselves.
Margaret Kimberley's Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains a frequently updated blog as well as at http://freedomrider.blogspot.com. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgendaReport.com.