Everyone will agree that Tuesday’s mid-terms resulted in big wins for the Republican Party. We part company when it comes to “message” sent by voters.
Often when there are competing interpretations of an event, the truth lies somewhere in the middle. Not this time. Few of “the people” voted. Republicans were already favored to win this mid-term. The fact that more white men and the one group of women most likely to vote republican, while high numbers of everyone else stayed home doesn’t mean “the people” have spoken.
Republicans are already arguing that “the people” gave them a mandate to take health insurance away from millions of Americans, eliminate the social safety net and establish a society that’s a cross between fascism, theocracy and feudalism. There are a few problems with that interpretation beginning with the fact that most voters stayed home. Some by choice, some by force, an unknown number as a result of intimidation and an unknown number as a result of apathy.
Republicans didn’t offer any ideas.
When they weren’t bashing the president and rewriting recent political history, Republican candidates focused on cute ads about pig castrations and playing the role of reasonable, God fearing and American loving “conservatives” However, Republican candidates didn’t offer anything resembling a political platform.
We can only look at their voting records and stated views to ascertain what they’ll probably do.
The only thing Republicans were specific was their definition of “the people.”
The combination of vote suppression and voter intimidation passed virtually exclusively Republicans at the state level made it abundantly clear that their definition of “eligible voters” is limited to two categories of white men and one category of women. Propertied white men already “vote” with the dollars they “invest” in their chosen right wing extremists be it directly or through the mechanisms of dark money. They’ll also allow vote by the white men who subscribe to the Tea Party ideology that Republicans have now mainstreamed. Republicans only enjoy majority support from women who are married, under educated and brainwashed by the religious right.
So far, vote suppression has focused racial minorities, poor people, students and seniors. The voting rights of younger single women are, are in part compromised if they are also members of these demographics. However, the Republican dog whistle attacks on votes by younger, single women are already being played out by propagandists at Fox.
Consider in this context, the Republican party’s blatant opposition to education and increasingly blatant assertions that the only “job” a women should strive for is that of Tea Party man’s Stepford Wife is all about creating a new generation of ignorance to replace those who are dying off.
Based on the expressed views of Republican candidates and incumbents, it’s a pretty safe bet that they will embrace the fact that “the people” voted for them, but they will ignore other things “the people” said. The people also said they want in an increase in the minimum wage, legalization of marijuana, respect for women’s autonomy over their family planning and reproductive health decision and yes, when asked, the people continue to call for sensible gun laws.
We can blame the Republican party for its extremism and corruption and we can lull ourselves into a false sense of security by believing Fox is the Republican Party’s sole propaganda outlet. It comes down to blaming a scorpion for being a scorpion. It may be true, but it also means we have been warned over and over again.
Hraf Haraldsson addresses the painful and disturbing truths about the Republican Party’s multifaceted effort to kill democracy, directly through vote suppression, gerrymandering, fraud and intimidation. That’s disturbing enough, but he also points to effectiveness of the indirect and more subtle poisons the Republican Party is using.
If you can’t steal elections any other way, just keep folks dumb enough to do what you tell them to do and think what you tell them to think. It’s working. Look at all the folks who think raising the minimum wage will destroy the country. Do you know people like that? I do. Blame Fox News for that, yes, but also the mainstream media.
This didn’t happen last Tuesday. It didn’t even happen in 2010 or 2008. This is the product of efforts to replace public education with garbage for the mind that denounces the validity of science and revises history all with the purpose of dulling the intellect.
Even if one escaped the doom of a Charter School “education” access to facts increasingly becomes an exercise in futility. We fool ourselves if we believe the Republican Party’s only propaganda outlet is Fox.
It’s also a result of the Republican Party’s brutal assault on an economy that sustained itself with a significant and stable middle class. Keep people poor, hopping from one minimum wage to another and they won’t have time to decipher truth from fiction or the energy to challenge the snake oil salesman disguised as attractive pig castraters or “job creators” in the Republican Party.
That was followed by policies that not only would keep folks dumb, but also too poor, too hungry and too desperate to notice that the greatest threat to their future, their freedom and their dignity is the Republican Party. While Republicans still “need” votes from their low information base, in time, they will also be ordered to sit down and shut up.
Yes, most of “the people” stayed home on Tuesday. One thing we don’t know is how much of that was a result of apathy and how much of it was an indirect consequence of voter disenfranchisement laws designed to send the message to millions of Americans that they should just sit down and shut up. Per the New York Times
Many of the changes adopted in recent years “will make it harder for millions of Americans to participate,” said Wendy R. Weiser, director of the democracy program at the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law. “But the problems of disenfranchisement don’t show up in a visible way,” Ms. Weiser added. “It’s people who don’t show up, or someone’s who’s turned away.”
Because so many factors affect voting decisions, and because the turnout in midterm elections is low to start with, scholars will long debate the impact of the tighter voting rules.
The propaganda is working on the voters Republicans want and the election fraud is working to silence the rest of us. The fact is Republicans are killing the vote, anything but softly and gently.
Image: Democratic Underground