In the last year, the Republican Party has transformed. The modern Republican Party rose to power in 1980 promising to slash government intervention in the economy. But that was never a terribly popular stance, and in order to win elections, party leaders wedded themselves to the religious right. For decades, party leaders managed to deliver economic liberties to business leaders by tossing increasingly extreme rhetoric and occasional victories to the religious right. Now, though, that radicalized minority is driving the party. It has thrown overboard the idea of smaller government to drive economic growth and embraced the idea that a strong government must enforce the religious and social beliefs of their base on the rest of the country.
Joe is feeling it. Turn up the heat — more. Announce executive orders to combat grotesque price-gouging. Make baby formula a centerpiece. Paint the Republicans as what they are — shills for big business and obsessed with greed. Tell Americans that government has no right to control women's bodies. Warn them, explicitly, what the end of Roe v. Wade portends. Time is running out, and voters are distracted. Screw the illusion of bipartisan. Fight as if the fate of the country depends on it. Which it does.
Come on friends, get out the vote, in your neighborhood, on the job, every conversation must energize all of your contacts to GET OUT THE VOTE…make friends, make noise, get out the VOTE.. start NOW…talk to everyone as if your life depended on it! Our lives, our way of life, our sanity and independence of thought & action must be so vital to each of us that we COMMIT to one another, GET OUT THE VOTE!
The bumper sticker on my car says "Re-elect No One". Today, a moderate traditional Republican said she agreed with me on that. Since I printed a number of the bumper stickers and buttons, I gave her both. Re-elect No One is a slogan that starts a conversation with almost everyone Independent, R or D, agreeing with that our government is broken and members of Congress shouldn't stay there for life. Term limits like we have on the Presidency is very popular among all voters. Vote Out the Old Guys. Re-elect No One. Yes, make an exception here and there. There are some members of Congress who are working for their constituents. But the majority have been bought by the legalized corruption of Citizens United. They put Party and Patrons over Country and Constituents. That must change. NOW. Abort the Old Incumbents. Bring in the Next Generation.
In 2011 Thomas L. Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum published That Used To Be Us, How America fell behind in the world it invented and how we can come back - recognizing that China has better rails, Singapore has better airports and China has the fastest supercomputer on Earth - that used to be us... yet... all things have fast deteriorated to the present and our nation and the Earth are in our crisis, approaching a tipping point that may doom life on the planet as we are unable to alter course in any way that matters. Start there. Ukraine is a disaster and a metaphor. North Korea redux. The answers are clear. The crisis is real. Humans are destroying the planet. Our manifest arrogance and abject stupidity combine. What’s not failing will teach us without moving us.
We are in trouble.
Utterly terrifying, and for those of us not in the cult, another in a string of mass trauma events unfolding around us. I’ll keep doing the work—because what choice do we have except to rage, plan, strategize, and act—in the face of such madness. But I am near despair.
Three words for GOP, America's Hezbollah:
Compulsory Institutionalized Ignorance.
You could make a mile-long banner with synonyms.
A winding sheet...
The pillory -- even a bulletproof pillory -- is too good for these narcissistic perverts.
A zoo would be too flattering.
Freaks for a 19th century freak show...
Mystery: how human beings can be taken in by appearances: well-(or weirdly)-coiffed hair, teeth, dark suits...
Heaven help us!
I just published my first blog post for the group I have helped found. I organized a Mother’s Day March to show support for the idea of women as people—and for the interlinked notion of motherhood as a choice.
I’ll be posting this evening’s letter as a comment—after all, you actually know what you are talking about.
Rick Scott has a plan to rescue America? The same Rick Scott whose company defrauded Medicare aid $300 million and was fined $1.7 million has a plan to help make America great again. God help us!
Go to NYT & read Linda Greenhouse’s Guest Essay, May 5, 2022, to dive into Justice Alito’s ‘Invisible Women.’ Read and carry bits & pieces in your conversations as you build your neighborhood, your workplace, your life for the next 5 1/2 months to Encourage Everyone To Get Out and Vote.
Dear HCR; what I am reading from today's letter; The Republican Party no longer represents moderate conservatives, whether traditional Republicans or the conservative side of the large independent voter contingent (some have estimated independents to be as much as 40% of the electorate). Since you have to be a party member to run as a Republican, where are the politically inclined amongst those moderate conservatives who can no longer abide the political label of Republican? There is clearly a progressive element in the Democratic party that wants to pull it's axis to the left, leaving a gaping hole in the center, center right and center left. What is a centrist, or someone whose political sensibilities hew closer to the center than the extremes? Our ballots are well protected, so how one votes may or may not follow party lines. Still, the large voting block that abhors being labeled by party is somewhat disenfranchised by a system where parties define almost all of the options for voting to any public office of interest to the major parties. Perhaps the only means to exercise the power of a centrist block of voters is a centrist Party. I always thought of myself as slightly conservative on the fiscal side and moderately liberal on the social side. Is that a paradox? Could one even find a centrist platform of such a gemish of political sentiments? I'm left to believe that the rich will always be able to care for themselves under almost any style of governance, so my vote belongs with the little people who need laws to protect them from exploitation. I want to be in the party that believes that opinions on either side of the center need to hammer out acceptable compromise in the business of making policy and law for the nation. That absolutely rules out the Republican party under McConnell, et. al. When one party refuses to sit down at the table, the other party is left somewhat powerless to enact anything other than absolute consensus issues, where an opponent other than one another is identified. I remain convinced that there is a large voting block of center-right voters who have to hold their nose when saying the R word, who would vote for less extremist candidates if they could. However, the moderates are all running scared for one of a number of reasons. Biden gambled on finding that silent center-right contingent amongst those with an R on their letter jackets; they either no longer exist in congress, or they're running so scared that they cave in to the Party megaphones. The gamble mostly failed in the 50:50 Senate. How is it POSSIBLE that tfg managed to lose the executive AND both houses of congress and STILL wield such power with what is clearly a minority of the electorate under his command? Money, braggadocio, mafiosa style politics is apparently enough to overpower the more ethical few.
I'm still looking for incontrovertible evidence that a block of disowned, disheartened center-right voters actually exists and that they might consider voting on the other side of center rather than continue to align with the radical right. That means of course, that the liberal side of center can't drift so far left as to be abhorrent to the centrists.
Thanks for always determining what is really important the history leading up to it and opening our eyes to the facts of today Scary times and people Thsnks
I find it very hard to understand when you write after a year of Joe Biden saying he could work with Republicans…after eight years as Vice President clearly never opened his eyes. Or Obama’s. Ludicrous following being obstructed for eight years, which gave way to a trump presidency he would fall for that for a second. Or to quote Robert Frost, “A liberal man too broad minded to take his own side in a quarrel.” With all that we’ve done to have the presidency and the house we’re losing badly. Pelosi and Biden running around talking about how we need a Republican Party we can work with feels like a kick in the gut.
With all this talk of outlawing abortion and then, possibly, birth control, will these Republicans try and outlaw Viagra? Another example of the patriarchal Republican agenda.
A wonderful, succinct explanation of the state of the Republican Party today.
How did we get here with the minority – not the Blacks, Hispanics/Latinx, Native Americans, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders et al., -- but with the Republican Party, along with White Christians and Evangelical White Protestants -- having come to rule the roost?
Yes, we are going to get to the hub of this power arrangement, back to Ronald Reagan and his circle but first let’s take a brief look at our current political set up.
‘Americans have rarely been as polarized as they are today.’
‘The studies we’ve conducted at Pew Research Center over the past few years illustrate the increasingly stark disagreement between Democrats and Republicans on the economy, racial justice, climate change, law enforcement, international engagement and a long list of other issues. The 2020 presidential election further highlighted these deep-seated divides. Supporters of Biden and Donald Trump believe the differences between them are about more than just politics and policies. A month before the election, roughly eight-in-ten registered voters in both camps said their differences with the other side were about core American values, and roughly nine-in-ten – again in both camps – worried that a victory by the other would lead to “lasting harm” to the United States.
‘…the 2020 pandemic has revealed how pervasive the divide in American politics is relative to other nations.’
‘Much of this American exceptionalism preceded the coronavirus: In a Pew Research Center study conducted before the pandemic, Americans were more ideologically divided than any of the 19 other publics surveyed…’
‘Why is America cleaved in this way? Once again, looking across other nations gives us some indication. The polarizing pressures of partisan media, social media, and even deeply rooted cultural, historical, and regional divides are hardly unique to America. By comparison, America’s relatively rigid, two-party electoral system stands apart by collapsing a wide range of legitimate social and political debates into a singular battle line that can make our differences appear even larger than they may actually be. And when the balance of support for these political parties is close enough for either to gain near-term electoral advantage – as it has in the U.S. for more than a quarter century – the competition becomes cutthroat and politics begins to feel zero-sum, where one side’s gain is inherently the other’s loss. Finding common cause – even to fight a common enemy in the public health and economic threat posed by the coronavirus – has eluded us.’
‘Over time, these battles result in nearly all societal tensions becoming consolidated into two competing camps. As Ezra Klein and other writers have noted, divisions between the two parties have intensified over time as various types of identities have become “stacked” on top of people’s partisan identities. Race, religion, and ideology now align with partisan identity in ways that they often didn’t in eras when the two parties were relatively heterogenous coalitions.’
'In their study of polarization across nations, Thomas Carothers and Andrew O’Donohue argue that polarization runs particularly deep in the U.S. in part because American polarization is “especially multifaceted.” According to Carothers and O’Donohue, a “powerful alignment of ideology, race, and religion renders America’s divisions unusually encompassing and profound. It is hard to find another example of polarization in the world,” they write, “that fuses all three major types of identity divisions in a similar way.” (PewResearchCenter) See link below.
Now, back to the future with President Ronald Reagan.
‘GOP leaders and the conservative media ecosystem have spent the last few weeks focused on inflaming the culture wars. They’ve railed against the decision to stop publishing six Dr. Seuss books, falsely claiming that the childhood classics have fallen victim to liberal cancel culture, and complained about changes to the Potato Head line of toys.’
‘Simultaneously, Republican state lawmakers have continued waging a war on democracy, passing new laws that would eliminate vote-by-mail and early voting programs that were popular with Democrats in 2020, especially among minority communities. According to the Brennan Center for Justice, Republican lawmakers have introduced more than 165 bills in 33 states to limit ballot access.’
‘On the surface, these topics seem disconnected, but they share a crucial commonality that shapes today’s Republican Party — one that dates back to the 1984 Republican National Convention held in Dallas. It was there that Republicans cemented an alliance with evangelical White Protestants, in the process creating a demographic and generational time bomb that is now exploding in their face.
‘White Protestant evangelicals had voted for Jimmy Carter in 1976 — the first “born again” president — helping him narrowly capture the White House. But disillusioned over his handling of abortion, the Equal Rights Amendment and the tax exemptions for White religious schools, they had switched their allegiance to Ronald Reagan in 1980.’
‘Reagan’s first-term record was a mixed bag, as far as cultural conservatives were concerned. Even so, four years into his presidency, Reagan saw an opportunity to use religion to forge a political realignment in the South. Addressing a crowd of 10,000 religious leaders at an “Ecumenical Prayer Breakfast” during the 1984 Republican Convention, the president delivered a rousing speech. Reagan willfully blurred the line between church and state. “Religion needs defenders against those who care only for the interests of the state. The truth is, politics and morality are inseparable — and as morality’s foundation is religion, religion and politics are necessarily related.” He concluded: “If we ever forget that we’re one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under.’
‘Not surprisingly, the Republican platform that year reflected the agenda of White evangelicals. It called for a constitutional ban on abortion with no exceptions and the appointment of federal judges who opposed abortion. It supported voluntary school prayer, ignored the Equal Rights Amendment (which Republicans had supported in every platform from 1940 to 1976 with only two exceptions: 1964 and 1968) and rejected equal pay for women. Jerry Falwell, founder of the Moral Majority, closed the 1984 Republican convention by triumphantly calling the incumbent ticket “God’s instruments in rebuilding America.”
‘Politically the alliance made sense, at least in the short run. The previous two decades had witnessed an explosion in the number of self-identified evangelical Christians. The number of Americans who identified as “born again” increased from 24 percent in 1963 to nearly 40 percent in 1978. While mainstream church membership dropped between 1965 and 1980, the number of southern Baptists grew from 10.8 million to 13.6 million.’
‘The rise of Christian fundamentalism represented a backlash against the cultural liberalism of the 1960s. In the minds of many evangelicals, the federal government — and the liberals who staffed it — had engineered America’s alleged moral decline. They felt traumatized by a string of perceived offenses: the Supreme Court’s decisions legalizing abortion and banning school prayer, the gay rights and women’s movements challenging traditional gender roles, and the Internal Revenue Service’s decision to remove the tax-exempt status of private Christian schools.’
‘Outraged, these Americans became a major force in politics, leading campaigns against LGBTQ rights, playing a key role in stopping the ERA’s ratification and fighting for a constitutional amendment to ban abortion, offering an upside for the party that could capture their loyalty.’ (WAPO) See link below.
Isn't this back to the future? There is more to learn about this marriage between the Republican party, White Christians and Evangelical White Protestants. This arrangement doesn't get a pass on the forum.
Thank you Heather.
Am I being harsh in calling Joe Manchin a DINO? Does he not understand or care about the victories he’s handing to our opponents?
It’s great that Biden and Warren (among others) are fighting back. But more of our democrats in office need to unify and significantly up their/our messaging and actions in defense of our Constitution and democracy - as the tyrannical right is on track to destroying them - and US.