Republicans Have Their Problems

It seems to me….

There’s no light at the end of the tunnel in the Republican message, no promise of better things to come. There’s only the present stagnation, followed by a slow decline.” ~John Podhoretz[1].

No one can deny that the Democratic Party is in a state of total humiliating disarray. Not only did they lose the 2016 Presidential election to the most completely unqualified candidate in U.S. history, in just eight years they also lost their majorities in the House, Senate, state governors, and state legislatures.

Perhaps the only sunshine visible to Democrats is that notwithstanding their recent success, Republicans are not doing that well either. Granted the Republican’s scale of problems are not comparable with those of the Democrats but they should not be overly celebratory.

There is widespread national dissatisfaction with politics, especially among Republicans. Fully 79 percent of all Republicans and those leaning Republican believe their side loses more often than it wins. Less-educated white Republicans were more likely than those with more education to view politics “as a struggle between right and wrong”.

November’s election was a strange anomaly but might be a harbinger of a political realignment with the Democratic Party increasingly representing technocratic elites, college-educated professionals, working women, and minorities all with an open orientation toward globalization while the Republicans are becoming the party of rural districts, blue-collar workers, and mostly less-educated, elderly white men who support a closed system of controls on trade, immigration, and perhaps even technology.

In 2015, white non-Hispanics made up a large majority (80 percent) of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents but make up a smaller share (65 percent) of the public overall[2]. About a quarter (23 percent) of Republicans and those leaning Republican are white college graduates. Nearly six-in-ten (57 percent) are whites who either have not attended college or did attended college but not obtained a degree.

Instead of reveling in Reagan’s economic legacy, many Republicans hardly recognize it. They misremember the Reagan years as a time of inexorable tax, deficit, and spending cuts (though he at various times raised all three) and mischaracterize everything that has followed as a retreat from that imagined perfection. They vie to be what their party craves: the second coming of something that never actually existed. They allay the wider concerns about its motives, indiscipline, and intemperance.

The Republican Party has become an insurgent outlier – ideologically extreme; contemptuous of the inherited social and economic policy regime; scornful of compromise; unpersuaded by conventional understanding of facts, evidence, or science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition. They have become divided not on a left-right division but on an open-closed one – between those who favor free trade, immigration, and technological dynamism and those concerned about these forces[3]. Polls show that Republicans are now more opposed to free trade than the Democrats.

Rightwing extremists have taken uncompromising positions on trade, public spending, abortion, and other issues, at times depriving the House Republicans of their majority. The worrying truth for Republicans is that the Caucus is less an outlier in their party than a caricature of it. Its members’ intolerance, apparent indifference to the vulnerable, and relentless negativity are qualities that Americans, especially women and ethnic minorities, increasingly associate with Republicans at large. According to a recent survey by the Pew Research Centre, 60 percent of Americans, and a third of Republicans, have an unfavorable view of the party[4]. It is considered by double-digit margins to hold extreme views and be unconcerned about “the needs of people like me”.

Of immediate concern to Republicans is that trump’s overall job approval is much lower than that of prior presidents in their first weeks in office: 39 percent approve of his job performance, while 56 percent disapprove[5]. Unless perception of trump substantially improves, Democrats will be presented with an opportunity to gain Congressional seats in the upcoming midterm elections and possibly assume control of the Senate.

Everyone, along with basic truth and facts, are threatened by a predominantly rightwing conservative anti-science coalition of fundamentalists churches and corporations largely in the resources extraction, petrochemical, and agrochemical industries that critically reject evidence-based policy to protect destructive business interests. Changing national demographics; voter percentage increases of both minorities and college graduates – both normally predominantly Democratic; do not favor Republicans. If the Republicans fail to increase their appeal to these voting blocks, all Democrats need do is be patient as time appears to be in their favor.

That’s what I think, what about you?

[1] John Mordecai Podhoretz is an American writer. He is the editor of Commentary magazine, columnist for the New York Post, the author of several books on politics, and a former presidential speechwriter.

[2] Smith, Samantha, and Carroll Doherty. A divide between college, non-college Republicans, Pew Research, http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/03/01/a-divide-between-college-non-college-republicans/?utm_source=Pew+Research+Center&utm_campaign=af7be6881d-Weekly_March_3_20163_3_2016&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_3e953b9b70-af7be6881d-400092341, 1 March 2016.

[3] Zakaria, Fareed. The Politics Of The Future: Be Open And Armed, Washington Post, https://fareedzakaria.com/2016/07/08/the-politics-of-the-future-be-open-and-armed/, 7 July 2016.

[4] GOP’s Favorability Rating Edges Lower, Pew Research, http://www.people-press.org/2016/04/28/gops-favorability-rating-edges-lower/, 28 April 2016.

[5] In First Month, Views of Trump Are Already Strongly Felt, Deeply Polarized, Pew Research, http://www.people-press.org/2017/02/16/in-first-month-views-of-trump-are-already-strongly-felt-deeply-polarized/?utm_source=Pew+Research+Center&utm_campaign=8c74db95b0-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_02_16&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_3e953b9b70-8c74db95b0-400092341, 16 February 2017.

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About lewbornmann

Lewis J. Bornmann has his doctorate in Computer Science. He became a volunteer for the American Red Cross following his retirement from teaching Computer Science, Mathematics, and Information Systems, at Mesa State College in Grand Junction, CO. He previously was on the staff at the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus, Stanford University, and several other universities. Dr. Bornmann has provided emergency assistance in areas devastated by hurricanes, floods, and wildfires. He has responded to emergencies on local Disaster Action Teams (DAT), assisted with Services to Armed Forces (SAF), and taught Disaster Services classes and Health & Safety classes. He and his wife, Barb, are certified operators of the American Red Cross Emergency Communications Response Vehicle (ECRV), a self-contained unit capable of providing satellite-based communications and technology-related assistance at disaster sites. He served on the governing board of a large international professional organization (ACM), was chair of a committee overseeing several hundred worldwide volunteer chapters, helped organize large international conferences, served on numerous technical committees, and presented technical papers at numerous symposiums and conferences. He has numerous Who’s Who citations for his technical and professional contributions and many years of management experience with major corporations including General Electric, Boeing, and as an independent contractor. He was a principal contributor on numerous large technology-related development projects, including having written the Systems Concepts for NASA’s largest supercomputing system at the Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley. With over 40 years of experience in scientific and commercial computer systems management and development, he worked on a wide variety of computer-related systems from small single embedded microprocessor based applications to some of the largest distributed heterogeneous supercomputing systems ever planned.
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4 Responses to Republicans Have Their Problems

  1. auntyuta says:

    “destructive business interests” This is where most of
    the money is, isn’t it?
    And what about CIA, NSA and FBI?
    Where really is the power in the land?
    What I am interested in, is, will the USA continue working for war or do forces that work for peace in the world eventually have a chance to succeed?
    What sort of power really goes to the people in an election?
    “The Democratic Party did lose the 2016 Presidential election to the most completely unqualified candidate in U.S. history;” But why? I think most voters who chose the Republicans just wanted a change. But why, why, can someone unqualified become a candidate in the first place? And why can someone truly anti-establishment never become a candidate?
    Sorry, Lew, that I have so many questions. But I reckon an unqualified USA president is a danger to the whole world. The present president cannot cope well with any dissent, can he? Shall the whole world follow in his footsteps, or what?

    • lewbornmann says:

      I wish I had adequate answers – or even opinions – to your questions. I do believe the U.S. is now controlled more by corporate lobbyists than the electorate – many of our Congressional representatives have become prostitutes selling their vote in exchange for reelection campaign funding.

      As for the alphabet soup of U.S. intelligence agencies, I again am unable to offer any insight as my peripheral involvement in that area was over thirty-five years ago, only in a technological capacity, and though basically a pacifist, admit to being biased as having been very favorably impressed with the dedication and moral orientation of those I knew. While not overly concerned about militaristic venturing under President Obama, trump has assembled a warren of jingoistic hawks I consider much more threatening.

      The most frequently stated excuse as to why a basically capable and honest (but boring) policy wonk like Hillary Clinton lost to a totally incompetent unmitigated ass like trump was that the voters wanted change but that also lacks credibility since most Congressional incumbents on the ballot were reelected. Hillary lost for a variety of reasons. Basically she ran a poor campaign that failed to appeal to a major segment of the population. Many people considered her dishonest though every politically-motivated investigation exonerated her on every charge; still the frequency of charges cast a pall of criminality about her. Voters are tired of political dynasties and after 35 years rejected her as having outworn her welcome. Electoral polls predicted her winning by such a substantial margin that many Democratic voters failed to cast a ballot. Ill-timed FBI pronouncements regarding her use of a personal server (her two predecessors also had used personal servers) seemed deliberately intended to damage her campaign. There was the Russian-backed involvement favoring trump and release of Democratic e-mail and other data by WikiLeaks and Julian Assange which mainly served to undermine Hillary Clinton rather than being updates of a non-partisan platform for whistleblowers. Many voters were obviously misogynistic and would never vote for a woman. Then there was a large segment of voters that rejected President Obama on the basis of racial bigotry which became associated with her by having served as his Secretary of State and supporting many of his policies. Perhaps what should be most surprising is that Clinton still managed to win the popular vote by such a significant margin.

      As to what motivated anyone to vote for trump, I am unable to offer any logical explanation. Out of the original seventeen Republican candidates, trump was clearly the most unqualified for the position. Somehow he managed to insult and name-call his way to the nomination without ever offering a single meaningful policy statement. While I would like to give him an opportunity to disprove my misgivings, he has yet to offer a single policy or order with which I approve or even partially agree.

      One of the more frightening aspects of trump’s first month in office is his selection of Stephen K. Bannon as chief strategist. Bannon was one of the founders and a past editor of the alt-right Breitbart News which publishes racist, sexist, xenophobic, and anti-Semitic material. He has spoken about undermining the capitalist system, weakening the European Union, and destroying the established order. An unconfirmed quote attributed to him is “Lenin wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal too. I want to bring everything crashing down and destroy all of today’s establishment”.

  2. auntyuta says:

    I am Australian, not American. But as an American voter, my vote would have gone to Stein of the Greens, definitely not to Trump, and also not to Hilary Clinton.

    • lewbornmann says:

      The reality of U.S. politics is that a vote for anyone from neither the Republican nor the Democratic party is merely a protest vote against the system similar to voting for “none of the above”. I initially hoped Elizabeth Warren would agree to run; it was not to be. My choices from the remaining candidates were the Republican John Kasich and Bernie Sanders from the Democrats.  Ultimately, the only possible choice was Clinton. I believe I have adequately expressed my opinion of trump in numerous other postings.

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