We have seen again and again the Republican insistence that if something doesn’t work, you must not only try it again, but you must double down. In other words, if you were anti-abortion, be even more anti-abortion next time around; if you anti-gay, be even more anti-gay. Even losing again does not convince them that maybe it is the message that is at fault. Cognitive dissonance allows for no self-examination.
On Monday, Iowa’s Steve Deace was talking to the Family Leader’s Bob Vander Plaats about the necessity of opposing marriage equality. Vander Plaats, who has previously said that “You cannot run away from the heart of God and expect God to bless the country,” told Deace that Republicans are hurting their election chances by not standing firmly enough against gay rights.
Never mind the recent disaster in Indiana, which left Indiana with the most gay-friendly laws it has ever had on its books, all because the Republicans running the Hoosier state listened to extremists like Deace and Vander Plaats.
But Vander Plaats insisted of Republicans that “They’ll never win again without this base.”
What is funny about this claim is that the last time the Republicans won a presidential election, it was in 2004, with a candidate, George W. Bush, who, defying his own party, favored civil unions for gay couples, and a vice president, Dick Cheney, who said, in Iowa of all places ”freedom means freedom for everyone” to enter ”into any kind of relationship they want.”
And here’s the telling detail: Barack Obama’s opponent in 2012, Mitt Romney, opposed gay rights across the board – both marriage and civil unions – and lost.
It doesn’t look like opposing gay rights wins you elections – not national elections, at any rate. It can’t, when the majority of Americans favor marriage rights for gay couples.
It’s simple math.
Republicans can win locally with this form of extreme bigotry, and rhetoric to match (and voter suppression and gerrymandering certainly helps), but they aren’t getting back into the White House while frothing at the mouth like rabid dogs. Not without turning the electoral system on its head so that the minority of votes triumphs over the majority of votes – a sort of “anti-math” to go with their “anti-Christianity.”
Nothing is less appealing to voters, especially young voters, than this level of extremism and exclusionary rhetoric.
But conservatism’s far-reaching cognitive dissonance prevents them from seeing the unpopularity of their course, and they are left to find other excuses for their defeat, like the alleged mainstream media betrayal of 2012. Never mind that to the extent the mainstream media told the truth about them, it was precisely due to their outrageous extremism.
It was so egregious that it simply could not be ignored.
The base, as Vander Plaats says, may love it. Fine. The rest of America does not. The base doesn’t win nationally. The Republican tent is too small, and there are not enough narrow-minded white people to carry the day.
As reported here earlier, more Americans are leaning Democrat today, and people like Bob Vander Plaats are one of the reasons why. A Republican candidate, say Ted Cruz or Rick Santorum, can support the base, but in so doing, he loses the majority of Americans.
Until Republicans abandon this unbiblical culture war of theirs, they will never sit in the White House again. Bob Vander Plaats can say God will not bless you if you run away from his heart, but by cherry-picking the Law of Moses to limit it to opposition to gays, Vander Plaats is himself running away from God.
And the results should not come as a surprise to him. The voters have already shown that they understand hypocrisy and lies when they see it. And God, if one exists, by definition must be at least as intelligent as voters.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.