“We’ve got to be a lot more inclusive and open and energetic and wanting people to join our team by expressing why these conservative values are good for people of all races, creeds, colors, and national origin.”
- Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, November 2012
In order for the GOP to be “competitive,” it has to “go after 100 percent of the votes, not 53 percent. We need to go after every single vote.”
- Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, November 2012
“We need to campaign among Hispanic, black, Asian, and gay Americans and demonstrate we care about them, too. We must recruit more candidates who come from minority communities. But it is not just tone that counts. Policy always matters.”
- RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, March 2013
Disingenuous frauds. ALL. We knew that didn’t we? The Republican Party hasn’t given us anything in the way of responsible governance for years. And their efforts at inclusiveness and unity can be located in the example of former Illinois Representative Joe Walsh who tweeted “This is now war. Watch out Obama. Watch out black lives matter punks. Real America is coming after you,” in the aftermath of this month’s devastating police murders in Dallas.
No political party serious about widening its membership would yield Donald Trump as a nominee for the nation’s highest office. It would be charitable to label him disorganized on policy specifics and there’s not space enough in this column to catalog the truly horrendous things he’s said about women, Muslims, Mexicans and more. The record is well documented.
But if there was any lingering doubt that the Republican Party has become the stubborn refuge of the older, white, heterosexual male, this week’s release of the official 2016 platform ought to take care of it. Where to start? The efforts to include language “supporting and encouraging” the use of bathrooms based on your birth gender (are you listening Caitlyn Jenner???) makes clear that the persecution of transgendered Americans is important enough to enshrine as a goal for the next four years. More critical to our overall prosperity than the repair of our crumbling infrastructure.
As The New York Times reported this week, the platform also “demands that lawmakers use religion as a guide when legislating, stipulating ‘that man-made law must be consistent with God-given, natural rights.’” Anyone who thinks well-meaning public servants are attempting to blur the lines between Church and State out of zealotry for Christ, I’ve got a bridge in Atlantis to sell you. Over and again within in the Republican Party’s official legislative positions, religion is used to bludgeon and subjugate the “other.” The irony of course is that this backward-looking bullshit is the work of a scared and shrinking minority. These fools are the other now and they know it. GOP leadership is doubling down on the Man’s panic in an evolving world and culture where he’s losing the position to dominate.
It would be pathetic if it weren’t so heartbreaking. The conservative codification of hatred is not a cause for liberal or any other kind of celebration. Writer Mark Sumner of Daily Kos summarized what we’ll hear in Cleveland next week in his piece, The Republican Platform Hates Gays, Puts Women Back in the Kitchen, and Insists on Religious Law. He characterized the meetings that went into the development of the final release as follows:
“Every time extremists on the right put forward a new idea, whether it was Bundy-esque demands on federal land or gratuitous attacks on President Obama, the plank was accepted. The result is a document that’s far to the right of the 2012 platform, decades out of sync with social reality, and enormously intolerant.”
Sorry Bob McDonnell but the 2016 articulation of conservative values is indeed not a benefit to Americans of all genders, races, religions and creeds. It’s a long-winded and perversely diverse threat to the heterogeneity that makes this nation one we love. Patriotism is not reserved for you and your fellow white cisgendered man.
Any Republican running for office this year who takes pride in this platform is a short-sighted traitor to the very inclusiveness he or she claims to seek – at least when a microphone or camera is present. This election year, more than any other in the recent past, feels like a referendum on who we want to be – not socioethnically, but morally. Is this what we deserve from one of our two major political parties? Prioritized discrimination at the expense of addressing real systemic challenges?
This week Tom Friedman, no one’s idea of a radical liberal (except for his passionate devotion to combating climate change), answered these questions with a definitive statement. In The (G.O.P.) Party’s Over he writes:
“I hope Hillary Clinton wins all 50 states and the Democrats take the presidency, the House, the Senate and, effectively, the Supreme Court. That is the best thing that could happen to America, at least for the next two years — that Donald Trump is not just defeated, but is crushed at the polls…. if Trump presides over a devastating Republican defeat across all branches of government, the GOP will be forced to do what it has needed to do for a long time: take a time out in the corner.”
That deserves an “Amen.”