BREAKING: FLORIDA CALLED!: After a lengthy recount, the Florida Department of Elections is now calling the presidential vote for ....George Bush over Al Gore, meaning Bush will be the 43rd president of the United States.
"I didn't leave the democratic party. The democratic party left me."
Ronald Wilson Reagan.
You can cut the number up anyway you want: 93% of African-Americans voted democratic; 71% of Latinos, 66% of women under 30. Any way you slice it, being the party exclusively of older, white, christian conservative americans is not the path to victory today.
The Republican party has died. It was suicide. Nothing happened to the Republicans. They did it to themselves. Start with the attempt by republican state officials to curtail early voting and institute voter ID laws clearly aimed at suppressing the African American vote. All that did was steel the African American community to vote. And they did. And no matter how long the line, people waited, as if to say "you can't drive me away. I will vote." Creating voting lines of 4,5,6,7 hours long is a severe poll tax to an hourly worker who doesn't get paid while standing in line. Those lines didn't just happen. They occurred because republican strategists opposed at every turn measures to increase early voting times and days and measures designed to speed up the voting process. They did so in the name of preventing voter fraud. They are ostensibly trying to fix a problem that does not exist. But their real motives are transparent and in the end served only to increase turn out for the president.
The second thing republicans did to themselves was to actively destroy any reasonable, moderate republican who was capable of working across the isle with their democratic counter-part. Indiana Senator Richard Luger was just such a republican. First elected to the senate in 1976, he ably represented Indiana for 36 years until the very qualities that made him so successful and valuable to his party- his reasonableness and ability to comprise, was used against him in the primary, where he lost to a Tea-Party ideologue, who was never Luger's equal as a politician. The reason why Indiana has a democratic senator today is because their state party was hi-jacked by narrow minded politicians lacking skill, ability, experience and knowledge. The entire country lost an exceptionally able politician when Senator Luger was beaten by a two-bit single issue hack, whose only claim to fame, and only real political philosophy and ideal was "I won't compromise." Well, he certainly won't have to compromise, because he lost and nobody will be seeking his vote even for dog catcher.
Third: The republicans are being driven by talk radio and the audience for talk radio. There's about 100 million votes up for grabs during any presidential election. About 2-3 million people listen to right wing radio during any given week. Those people, those commentators, are not the backbone of the republican party, but that 4-6% of their base is driving the party. Off a cliff.
Fourth: There is no room in the republican party for anyone but an non-compromising, right wing, religious ideologue. Democrats have liberals, conservative, blue-dog democrats. The tent is open for all. Look at it another way: what chance would a republican governor of a large western state have of securing the republican presidential nomination if that governor signed two tax increases during his first two years to balance the budget and signed into law the nation's most liberal abortion bill? None. Congratulations, you just prevented Ronald Reagan, Governor of California, the chance to run for president.
Fifth: Republicans are not true conservatives. True conservatives keep government out of an individual's life in every way. Real conservatives support a women's right to chose an abortion or their form of contraception, since it's their body. Real conservatives know government has no right to stop gay people who want to marry. A limited government has no right to interfere in private choices or regulate social morals. Republicans today are not true conservatives. They are right wing, religious ideologues who have as much desire to poke their noses and impose their morals on the populace as any socialist. The only difference is the type of morals and religious ideals they want to impose. The morals the republicans want to impose are from a different time and era. The country has evolved; their party hasn't.
Sixth: Republicans killed themselves when they abandoned their mind. Who would gather more support in a primary today- a christian conservative with a high school education and strong beliefs against global warming, stem cell research and abortion, or a Princeton educated conservative economist who was an avowed atheist? Who would you want in the white house making life and death decisions?
The first vote we ever cast was for Ronald Wilson Reagan for president. The last four votes we have cast in presidential elections have been for democratic candidates. We didn't leave the republican party; the party left us. Rest in peace.
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