Though I often ridicule Republicans on my Twitter account and this blog, I must point out that I joined the Republican Party myself in 1979 when I turned 18. I considered myself a conservative back then, though over the years as I have grown, matured and saw the world in a more interconnected way. I began to move more towards the center, even left on some issues. That is why I call myself a moderate. Now even though I go after the GOP, it’s their leadership and party platform, I’m not actually going after rank and file Republicans unless some attack me and my views on a personal level on Twitter. Although historically there have always been sniping across the aisles between the Democrats and Republicans, up until the Clinton administration, both parties would meet up in the middle, work out compromises that helped both sides and the nation as a whole and move forward.
Republicans do have a rich and honored history in this country. It was the party that restored the nation after the Southern states seceded from the Union; it was the party that passed the 13th amendment that once and for all ended slavery on this continent. It was the party that broke up the Trusts, who’s monopolistic existence stagnated our economy, it was the party that ended child labor, it was the party that gave the Democrats enough votes to pass Civil Rights in the 60’s, and it was the party that brought us the EPA. They worked and fought with the Democrats to make this a better nation for her people. These are historic facts.
One thing to note though, the Southern Dixiecrats in the 1960’s were the ones who made it difficult for Lyndon Johnson to pass Civil Rights, so the GOP helped him get the votes for that and Medicare. The Dixiecrats were so upset with this, they left the Democratic Party. They still exist today, they are known as the Tea Party. They didn’t pop up over night, but Republican strategists seeing the anger in the South over the passage of Civil Rights created the “Southern Strategy” and this extreme right wing, racists who once were part of the Democratic Party switched to the Republican Party and the rest is history.
The former Dixiecrats who are now Republicans began to grow and take over control of the Republican Party that took them in for their own strategic national ambitions. They began to conflate “conservatism” with “bigotry” especially when the “Moral Majority” joined in with the former Dixiecrats to impose more control over the Republican Party. Mr. Conservative himself, Barry Goldwater warned his party and the nation of the dangers of allowing extreme religious influence over the governing of his party and nation. What he predicted has come to pass. He said religious people won’t compromise and compromise is essential in governing a nation.
Since the implementation of the Southern Strategy the divide between the Republicans and Democrats continued to grow. Despite this, on important issues, compromise was still reached across the aisle for national reasons. Then Newt Gingrich began the “no compromise” standard in the House during the Clinton administration. Instead of working with the other side for the good of the nation, they placed power and control over an extreme right wing agenda as a singular goal. Compromise wasn’t in their lexicon.
In the years that followed, those Republicans who still indicated a willingness to work across the aisle were primaried out of their office. This movement moved to the Senate and again, the moderates in the party were marginalized and removed from office. This was when the Republican Party who placed their own power over the needs of the people and began to become a travesty. They became a party that would be unrecognizable to Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Eisenhower, even Nixon, Ford and Reagan.
The election of Barack Obama, twice by majority popular vote in this nation, resulted in the Republicans becoming a smaller, lockstep organization, easily controlled by big money interests using extreme ideologues from the Tea Party to do their dirty work. While this was going on, many left the Republican Party (as many also left the Democratic Party) out of frustration that no compromise was being reached. Keep in mind, the Democrats did and continue to want to compromise. They worked with GOP leadership when they ran both chambers of Congress, they inserted Republican amendments into the Affordable Care Act that none of the Republicans would then vote for. To the outside, it would appear that neither side would compromise. However the fact is it’s only the Tea Party controlled GOP that won’t compromise on anything. Any Republican caught talking to a Democrat in Congress is branded a RINO by the Tea Party and primaried out of office.
Not all Republicans are the extreme right wing fringed bigots like those who ascribe to the Tea Party fraction. However, the Tea Party who is funded by big money interests, both domestically and internationally (thanks to Citizen’s United) is calling the shots today for the Republican Party. If you don’t fit within their litmus test, you’re a RINO and will be removed from office. Rank and file Republicans feel an obligation to vote party each and every time regardless of what they think of their candidate. However, it is worthy to note the five million fewer Republicans voted in 2012 than did in 2008. Republicans are being turned off by the discourse. However, the fewer people who vote, the more extreme the outcomes when the votes are counted.
Rank and file Republicans, those the Tea Party call RINOs can save their party and get this nation’s economy and status in the world moving forward again. It’s a difficult decision but one that would bring honor and greatness back to the Grand Old Party of Lincoln, vote Democratic in the midterms.
If they vote out the extreme Tea Party backed candidates in all elections, it would be a devastating blow to their control of the party. The rational moderate wing of the party can move back into leadership and repair the damage created.
If rank and file Republicans would get out and vote en masse for Democrats, then perhaps they can put up some decent candidates in 2016 that would create a real positive debate for how we as a nation can move forward, not dissolve into bitter partisan bickering to our ultimate demise.
By weaning yourselves of the extreme right wing fringe, you become a party of the people, you won’t have to rely on voter suppression to win office, and you will get support of majority of Americans on key issues that actually unite us. Well most of us, the Tea Party oppose everything the majority of the nation wants. That’s why this nation is obstructed.
Republicans, take a chance, vote Democratic this year to show your party leadership you are done with the racist, misogynist, bigoted homophobic, anti-science wing of your party. Bring it back to greatness. It’s really up to you. By doing so, you also improve a nation, not just a party.