Why the Republicans Keep Winning Elections
How does a political party with nothing but bad ideas keep winning elections? This is a party who hates women, children, black, brown, red, yellow and blue people, atheists and agnostics, veterans, the disabled, and gays. And of course the poor most of all, that goes without saying. That only leaves middle-aged to elderly straight white men, a rapidly decreasing demographic. Call it the Whiteness Protection Plan. So how do they do it? For a long time it puzzled me, till I began more closely studying these people, like Jane Goodall observing her chimpanzees. There are many reasons, so I’ll go through them one by one.
First, Republicans have a good offense. They can sling it through the air(waves) and they have a strong ground game, too. The Democrats seem to constantly be back on their heels, and while defense may win championships, it’s a losing strategy in politics. Notice how Republicans are always angry about something or other. They can control the White House and Congress, but they’re still bitching — the poor still have a little money left, or those brown people are coming up and taking our jobs, or we need more wars! Part of their offensive game plan, and it is offensive, is VOLUME VOLUME VOLUME! You don’t have to be right if you can out shout your opponent. It’s really a form of bullying.
Politics is all about image, not substance, and that’s a tragedy. It’s like Henry Kissinger said: “In politics, perception is reality.” Republicans are good salesmen, i.e., liars. They come off as strong and confident. With the exceptions of Kennedy and Johnson, look at the top Democratic leadership over the last sixty years — Adlai Stevenson, Hubert Humphrey, Eugene McCarthy, George McGovern, Walter Mondale, Al Gore. These guys were all wimps, wusses, namby-pambies. Take Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. How can you tell when Harry is really pissed off? He whispers louder. Okay, Harry Truman looked like a dweeb, too, but he turned out to be tougher than a two-dollar steak. John Kerry? Puh-leeze! He looks like someone else’s caricature of him. His drone is good for insomnia, though. The Clintons and Obama are disqualified, as they are basically moderate Republicans.
Democrats are so naïve as to think they can reach people with reason, while Republicans know people are motivated primarily by emotion. They win by pandering to the most base of human fears and bigotries, and they have refined it to perfection. If there’s an important close race in some state, they’ll make sure there’s some kind of emotional trigger ballot measure, like anti-abortion or religious liberty. They’re also masters of projection, a psychiatric term wherein you accuse others of what you yourself are doing. If they say “No, you’re the one doing that” it makes them look foolish. They divide and conquer by keeping blacks, immigrants, and other minorities at each others’ throats, but then they accuse Obama of being divisive. They’re happy with the upward distribution of our wealth to their buddies, but when Democrats talk about wealth inequality, “Oh, that’s class warfare!” They appear to hate the ideals of democracy; a fair, living wage, unions (which are really democracy in the workplace), taking care of the poor and infirm. So they say liberals hate America. No, I just hate the Amerika they have in mind.
Republicans are experts at messaging, with short, concise sound bites or bumper-sticker slogans — securing the border, dumping the national debt on our children (as if they cared), job-killing regulations, tax and spend Democrats, the liberal media (it only seems liberal when you compare it to Fox News). It helps to have word wizard and alleged pollster Frank Luntz. He’s the guy who came up with “death tax” for estate tax, in order to manipulate public opinion against it. He’s also responsible for climate change replacing global warming. It just sounds a little less dire, doesn’t it? Democrats are very weak on messaging. A big part of the reason is that, unfortunately, they seem to have been born without spines. They still haven’t realized that politics isn’t a gentleman’s game, it’s a blood sport.
A big reason Republicans keep winning is they have all the big money behind them. My dad used to tell me they were the party of big business, and the Democrats the party of the working man. He was right about that, as usual. Far too many Democrats are in the pocket of the billionaires and mega corporations; I think all the Republicans are. Oh, don’t even try to tell me George Soros and the unions are the big contributors. They aren’t even in the same league with the Koch Brothers, Paul Singer, Sheldon Adelson, the De Vos family, Dow, DuPont, Monsanto, Exxon-Mobil and Wall Street, to mention of few of the many. The money is behind them because they’re the ones who are always cutting budgets to the EPA, the USDA, and the IRS. Less regulation means more predatory capitalism, or as the Right calls it, the free market.
And yet with all these advantages, the Republicans still can’t win elections, because the only thing they have to sell is fear. So they steal them. They haven’t actually won a Presidential election fairly since Eisenhower, in the 1950s. Think I exaggerate? The Lyndon Johnson Memorial Library released a bunch of material a couple years ago. There’s an audio tape of LBJ talking to Senate Minority Leader Everett Dirksen (a Republican, but a giant of a statesman). LBJ has found out that Nixon’s people scuttled the peace talks to end the Vietnam War, by promising a better deal. LBJ says to Dirksen: “Now they oughtn’t to be doing that, Everett. That’s treason.” Then you hear Dirksen agree: “I know.” And that war dragged on for more years, with tens of thousands more of our troops dead.
They did it in 1980, too. Jimmy Carter was still trying to get the hostages freed in Iran, held since November the previous year. In the summer of 1980 Abolhassan Bani-Sadr had been elected Iran’s President by a huge margin, running on a platform of releasing the hostages. He went to the Ayatollah, who told him, sorry, we’ve made a deal with Reagan’s people. The deal was for weapons sales to the Iranian military, and Reagan’s campaign manager William Casey worked the deal to hold the hostages till after the November election. You may or may not remembe that as Reagan was being sworn in the following January, at the same moment CNN was showing the hostages being releases. Casey was rewarded by being made the head of the CIA. Bani-Sadr confirmed all this in an article in The Christian Science Monitor in March 2013. So George H.W. Bush wouldn’t have been Vice President but for yet another act of treason.
In the 2000 election, George W. Bush’s brother Jeb, Governor of Florida, and Secretary of State Katherine Harris purged over 80,000 black voters off the roles, and Bush won the state by 537 votes. Nearly a year later, The New York Times determined that Gore had actually won the Florida vote, but they ran the story the week after 9/11, so it was buried in the back pages, perhaps thinking this wasn’t the time for negativity about the President.
The 2004 election came down to Ohio, where Wally O’Dell, CEO of Diebold, the electronic voting machine company, promised to deliver the state to Bush. Gore had the lead late in the evening on election day, then Ohio’s electronic vote totals were transferred to servers in Tennessee, and just after 11 PM about 17,000 votes were flipped in Bush’s favor. The architect of this chicanery was Mike Connell, who was working for Karl Rove. And a few years later he died in a mysterious plane crash days before he was to testify on the matter. The FAA determined that the plane ran out of fuel, yet witnesses reported it bursting into a fireball as it hit the tarmac. Don’t believe me, though; you can look all this stuff up and verify it for yourself. Once we turned our voting system over to private companies, with proprietary software that can’t be examined by election officials, we may have sealed our fate. These machines are so easily hacked and votes tampered with. It’s election fraud that’s the danger, not voter fraud.
Republicans are poor students of history, but they have figured out that the lower the voter turnout, the better their chances. For the last few years they’ve been putting in voter ID laws in every state they can. It’s to protect against that bugaboo voter fraud, which is a non-existent problem. The University of Chicago studied over a billion votes from 2000-2012, and they found 31 prosecutions. Most of these were felons unaware that in many states they’ve lost the right to vote. Voter IDs are the solution to a problem that has never existed, but the secret is in the demographics most affected — minorities, the elderly and disabled, the poor, and college students. These are all groups that tend to vote Democratic. It’s difficult to imagine a more disgusting pursuit than depriving people of voting. And it’s proof that Republicans have nothing to offer anyone but the wealthy. If their policies were worth the hot air behind them, they’d be going all out to be sure people were registered and got to the polls. Here we have an excellent example of how poor the Democrats are at messaging. In Texas, certain IDs are acceptable, like a conceal and carry gun permit. Not accepted: college IDs and veteran IDs. Yes, I said veteran IDs. Those are issued by the Veterans Administration, but they’re no good. The Democrats ought to be out screaming “Republicans don’t want vets to vote!” But they’re nowhere. Can you imagine the uproar from the Right if this was a law in a Democrat-controlled state?
Journalist Greg Palast (who first broke the story of the 2000 Florida voter purge) has uncovered another, bigger purge run by the Kansas Secretary of State, Chris Kobach. It’s a database of over two million names that are most likely minorities, like Lee, Jackson, or Hernandez. Several Republican controlled states are using this “interstate crosscheck program” to purge names similar to those on that state’s voter rolls. Chris Kobach is a rancid piece of meat with a long history of shenanigans like these. It’s really outrageous.
The reason for all this nonsense is that a great amount of Americans are “low-information voters,” which is a euphemism for dumb-asses, chickens voting for Colonel Sanders. I think it’s civically irresponsible, negligent, and inexcusable not to be fully informed of issues that directly affect them, their families, and the community. If that ever happens, the Koch brothers can throw all the money around they want, and no one will listen. Until it happens, we deserve whatever we get.