Thursday, April 18, 2013

Texas A.G.: Democrats More Dangerous Than N. Korea

“One thing that requires ongoing vigilance is the reality that the state of Texas is coming under a new 
assault, an assault far more dangerous than what the leader of North Korea threatened when he said he was going to add Austin, Texas, as one of the recipients of his nuclear weapons,” [Texas Attorney General Greg] Abbott told the McLennan County Republican Club on Monday, according to the Waco Tribune. “The threat that we’re getting is the threat from the Obama administration and his political machine.” 
Abbott drew the contrast while offering a warning to local Republicans about the newly formed Democratic group, Battleground Texas. The group, helmed by former Obama campaign operatives, is seeking to turn Texas blue, or at least make it competitive in 2014 and beyond. While reliably red Texas hasn't voted for a Democratic presidential candidate since 1976, officials with Battleground Texas have tapped into support from key Democratic backers, seeing hope for the future in demographic trends. Their effort has been bolstered by early polling that showed Hillary Clinton could win Texas if she ran in 2016.

First, saying that Democrats are more dangerous than a nuclear bomb is another example of a Republican making the party look like the “stupid party.” I know, he was just using colourful language as I have done on numerous occasions, but it is an infantile comparison. It also makes light of a nation whose leader is seeking to acquire nuclear arms and has no love of the United States.

Second, if Texas - a reliably GOP state for the last several decades - does become competitive in the next few elections, it is further evidence of the failure of the GOP to adapt to changing demographics. The main driving force behind Texas potentially becoming a swing state would be the state’s growing Latino population, and Republican politicians have a way driving Latino voters towards the Democratic party. If the GOP wants to hold on to Texas, the national party must change how they approach many policies, namely immigration and race relations. Just recently, a Republican politician (though not one from Texas) nonchalantly referred to Latinos as “wetbacks.” One GOP representative used the Boston Marathon bombing as an excuse to oppose comprehensive immigration reform even though there was then no proof of any connection to an immigrant. The GOP supports voter identification laws which would disproportionately affect, among other groups, Latinos. By supporting the policies they support - and not just the ones affecting Latinos specifically - the GOP is steadily taking once reliably red states and putting them in play. It happened in Virginia before, it may be happening now In Texas.

If a political shift were to happen in the Lone Star state, it would be yet another symptom of a larger systemic problem which has been well documented: the GOP is driving voters away in droves. American attitudes towards many issues are changing very quickly, whereas conservatives are adjusting to these changes very slowly, if at all. Most people think equal pay for equal work is a no-brainer, but Republicans routinely vote against it. Most Americans think big oil companies do not need multi-billion dollar subsidies, but Republicans (and some Democrats, to be fair) keep voting for them. Most Americans believe you should not be fired for being gay, but Republicans keep voting against employment non-discrimination policies at all levels of government. And yet again, it is not just the policies, but also the messages coming from members of the party. The phrase "legitimate rape" comes to mind. The governor of Georgia is calling an effort to desegregate the prom of a Georgia county’s school a “publicity stunt.” Democrats tend to have more inclusive policies like the Lily Ledbetter Act (i.e. equal pay), employment non-discrimination policies, and the Dream Act for children of undocumented immigrants because those children did not come to America of their own volition. Even some voters who may agree with the GOP on economic policies are kept away by many of the controversial policies and statements coming from the party.

Assuming Republicans want to stay in the proverbial game, they have to adjust to a new American reality. The voting bloc that they are accustomed to relying on no longer exists. They will either adapt and overcome, or they will hold on to the past and become politically irrelevant. The choice is theirs.

No comments:

Post a Comment