Friday, November 13, 2015

Give me back my power!

Melissa McEwen of Shakesville noticed that a big theme of the Milwaukee GOP debate earlier this week was we must take the country back! This isn't a new theme. And when it is brought up an important question is: Take it back from whom?

Yeah, the usual suspects were trotted out. All these candidates promise to protect the conservative base from "the emergent menace of liberals, brown people, immigrants, atheists, feminists, same-sex couples, jihadists, socialism, and trans people in their bathrooms." Sigh.

Carly Fiorina caught McEwen's attention by giving a critique of Big Government and its deficit spending, corruption, and cronyism … and then using the evening's phrase the government is a mess and we must take it back!


Doesn't the GOP control the House, the Senate, and a large number of state legislatures? Doesn't the GOP usually get its way with this closely divided Supreme Court? Wasn't this a GOP debate? Wasn't Fiorina speaking to a GOP crowd? Which means she is urging the GOP to take back the government from … the GOP.

And nobody onstage heard the irony alarm go off.

David T.S. Jonas, writing for Alternet, provides a bit of background behind Fiorina's crazy statement. Fifty years ago power was held almost exclusively by straight, white, Protestant males with America as undisputed Top Dog. But in those 50 years there has been an expansion of economic and political rights for women, people of color, LGBT people, and immigrants. Power has been given to foreigners through free trade agreements and a global economy. In addition, the demographics are working against the straight, white, Protestant males.

And they're freaking out. They keep winning elections yet can't restore their status as Top Dog.

Democrats are also angry. Their anger is towards gov't that is stymied by corporate money. However, they know to make progress they need to form coalitions and to compromise.

But those freaked out white dudes can't compromise, because that means ceding more power to the people who, in their eyes, already have too much of it. They say give me back my power or nobody gets anything! You won't repeal Obamacare? We'll shut down the entire government! That means anyone seen trying to compromise has sold them out. Thus their anger is at their own party leadership, not at the Dems.

Rage like this usually burns out when the rest of the electorate pushes back. And when might this one release its hold on the government? Oh, around Nov. 8, 2022 – the first election after the next round of Congressional redistricting. At the moment Dems and moderates cannot make a difference in 90% of the districts (about 390 of 435 seats, some mapped so only Dems can win) because gerrymandering has been so successful. And that means the real battle for a seat is in the primary when voters tend to vote for the most conservative candidates. So we need to get busy about that gerrymandering thing.

Otherwise we could get to 2030 and conservative voters will still be saying Congress doesn't listen to the voters, even if the GOP controls it all.

I said this isn't a new theme, the freaking out of the straight, white, Protestant male. I wrote about it in detail back in September of 2010. In it I listed a large number of things the GOP and the Tea Party are doing to discredit democracy and maintain power. In reading through the list I see the GOP is still actively working on every item in the list. One that caught my attention:
Overturn gun laws to make sure the rabble is well armed. Imply that the opposition is so evil that eliminating them is a good idea.
The protection of the ability to carry guns is still a big issue. Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder just vetoed a bill that required school districts to permit open carry of guns. He thought it should be a local issue.

I see this again as straight, white, Protestant dudes freaked out about losing power and are determined to get it back – even if it has to be at the point of a gun.

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