While Dave Brat may claim he and fellow Republican’s are committed to equal rights and equal justice for everyone, this simply is not true.
Their claims are hollow for two reasons; long term changes in the countries demographics, along with the continuing extraction of the middle classes economic wealth by corporations and the behind the scenes support he receives from folks like the Koch brothers.
Together these changes make it impossible for the Republican Party to continue their one sided relationship with their supporters without making some significant changes to how they conduct their politics.
Its one of reasons why we’ve been seeing what can only be described as polar opposites in their recent messaging. On one hand; there are the usual bat shit crazy divorced from reality statements by Republican candidates and politicians.
And on the other hand, we’re starting to see what appears to be a Republican movement towards populist positions. Like how the Tea Party has been railing against big banks and corporate crony capitalism since the days of Bush’s bailout.
Or how Paul Ryan, architect of the 2012 Republican House slash and burn budget has recently set out to develop an anti-poverty program—definitely not a brand of libertarianism that his idol, Ayn Rand would have approved of.
Or how Rand Paul’s forceful zealousness has allowed him to corner the market on the NSA intruding into our privacy along with how over sized defense budgets are killing our future. Like a fox stealing chickens from the henhouse, he’s been busy pilfering formerly Democratic and populist issues.
This is the kind of rhetoric one would expect from a social radical back in the 1920’s, definitely not from anyone in today’s Republican Party.
Yet no Democrat is willing expose the errors of Paul’s many rants or even his parties hypocrisy in saying one thing, and doing another. And by continuing to do nothing Democrats have effectively ceded economic populism over to the Republicans.
Without the potent public anger over the bailout and stimulus it’s difficult to imagine the Tea Party having much clout, or the Republicans retaking Congress, or even our government being so utterly paralyzed.
Clearly Republicans want to capture this growing sense of populist anger, taping into the deep public alienation which emerged out of the Great Recession. As much as Citizen’s United and a flood of corporate money, it was this sense of rage which saved the Republican Party in 2010.
While the economy continues to stagnate along, public alienation is deepening, and Republicans are anxious to test drive their latest populist messaging to see if they can change the political narrative.
Just as they have done over these past two elections they will be paring their new and improved message up with their tried and true Tea Party angry man resistance to anything remotely Democratic.
This time, instead of just fear and angry opposition, they will be offering voters the false hope of change, while retaining most of their angry flavoring. Thinking that this two pronged messaging strategy will attract more voters, and distract them from what the real issues are.
More importantly, this distraction helps them to mask the fact that many voters will for the first time in their lives find it difficult to cast their votes. It’s no coincidence that all of these restrictions on voting rights we’ve been seeing lately happened in Republican controlled states.
While the Republicans primary constituency of older and whiter voters shows up at the polls in much higher percentages than Democrats do, particularly in mid-term elections. These core supporters are significantly older than most other voters and they are dying off, with fewer and fewer of their descendants following in their footsteps.
Making the Republican’s long term political future uncertain, along with their ability control our economy to their masters liking. It is the primary reason why the Republicans are so aggressively suppressing voter turnout.
First, by making sure their candidate’s messages come across as firebrand populist or conversely as socially inflammatory as humanly possible, helping to ensure that a very high percentage of most passionate and ideologically motivated voters show up at the polls, and secondly, making it difficult as possible for certain demographic groups to cast their vote.
The groups most likely to vote Democratic are younger, come from various minority groups and increasingly are women. Meanwhile, Republican’s are staying true to their principals of pursuing their selfish definition of freedom with a vengeance, believing if they suppress the ability of these groups to vote by any means possible they will be rewarded on Election Day.
So far it’s working. This year, according to a recent nonpartisan survey by the Center for the Study of the American Electorate turnout in the 25 states that held statewide primaries for both parties was down by nearly twenty percent from the 2010 midterm. Three fifths of the states (15/25) primary elections saw record-low turnouts.
Less than 50 years ago, national primary turnout was twice as high at 32%. This declining rate of voter participation is part of a long term trend which has affected both parties. Putting us on-track to set a new low for midterm election turnout, where a number of states could set new records for the lowest percentage of voters casting ballots.
Democrats saw a 29 percent drop in voter participation from the 2010 primaries, the 11th consecutive midterm election that their party’s voter participation has declined. This primary was their biggest national decline on-record. When it comes to Democrats’ long standing turnout problem this is hardly their first warning sign.
Should the 2014 election be anything like 2010, Democrats could be in serious trouble.
People should remember how in the afterglow of electing the first black president, Democrats and progressives got complacent and didn’t show up in the 2010 midterms to vote. So take those bitter lessons of the wack-a-doodle Tea Party leading the Republican charge in retaking congress in 2010 to heart.
While the Republicans may have posted a 15 percent decline from 2010, their rate of decline was closer to historical norms, especially given the tea party lead enthusiasm in 2010 which created a massive spike in turnout.
So far, the numbers show that for both Parties; their committees, independent super PACs, and individual candidate’s campaigns will be spending record amounts to reach fewer voters than ever before, greatly increasing the cost of each vote compared to any previous elections.
The report also pointed out that a major contributing factor to this asymmetrical voter turnout was the congressional and state redistricting which followed the 2010 census. Lawmakers drew district lines to overwhelmingly favor one party, thus leaving the minority party unmotivated to show up at the polls for someone all-but-certain to lose.
“Organized interests representing the views of only 3 to 4 percent of the electorate can win those primaries and propel one of their own to office,” the report’s author Curtis Gans wrote. “The result can be seen in how the tea party has become a dominant player in Republican congressional and state legislative politics. But the danger exists for both parties.”
In terms of strategy, Republican’s suppressing voting by key demographic constituencies is the only game in town, even if it means abandoning some of their own supporters. Hard working folk’s who’s economic prospects have fallen significantly in the past decade.
Overwhelmingly conservative, increasingly poor and stubbornly proud, they have consistently been supporting Republicans through thick and thin, reacting to social issue after social issue, voting against their own economic interests in election after election.
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