Republicans Should Listen to Steve Schmidt

The election this past week is obviously under serious discussion. I am listening to Meet The Press right now, and that’s the topic.

Steve Schmidt is a Republican who runs campaigns and helps chart out his party’s way ahead. I’ve heard him speak on many programs over the years, and he generally makes a lot of sense. Mr. Schmidt is to me an example of the kind of Republican Party that I used to be a member of.

While there is a lot of talk the past week about how Republicans need to get more Latinos to vote for them, that talk is missing the point (I note that there is no talk about getting our African American citizens to vote more Republican). The real reason that Republicans are on the way to being non-relevant is the same reason that I moved from Republican to moderate (and that effectively means voting Democrat since there really are no other viable alternatives in the Green or Libertarian). That reason is that Republicans have largely become a party driven by religion instead of economic issues. And of course that means domination by Christianity. Many of those that slavishly follow the Christian tradition are in favor of subjugation or suppression of women, and forcing their religious law on the rest of us (enshrining homophobia in law, among other things). When you combine that with the Republican embrace of trickle-down economics, which does nothing but transfer wealth from the middle class to business and the rich, you have the Republican Party being truly the party of the top 5% economically, and the 10% most fanatic Christians.

So trying to modify their message to get a couple more Hispanics just won’t work. The Republican Party must modify the dependence they have on evangelical Christians, and to be more inclusive economically. Steve Schmidt is the only Republican I have heard say anything like that. There have been Democrats talking about that (and one, Rachel Maddow, even said to the effect that it was OK with her if Republicans didn’t pick up on what she was saying).

I’ve listened to several Republicans say to look at 2010 as a model. I think that is an outlier, in that if the Democrats in particular and President Obama had been a bit more hands-on, that election results would have been far better for the Democrats.

It doesn’t help that, as Jon Stewart put it, Romney won the Presidency of the Confederacy. The block of Americans that vote against their own economic interests by voting Republican, largely due to antipathy towards the Democrats, because of the Civil Rights Act is pretty damn sad.

So it could go a couple ways over the next two years. If President Obama continues to reach out to Republicans (which he has done repeatedly, in spite of getting no help, and regardless of Republican claims to the contrary), and the Republicans work with him, then in all likelihood we will continue with something like the current balance of power between the Executive and Legislative for a while. If the Republicans will not work with the President, then I think they will lose the House in 2014, and the Democrats will likely gain a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.

The Republicans going moderate would be good for the country regardless. Both parties are supposed to represent all Americans. Right now that is sort of unbalanced.


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