— By David Lampo
Contributors to this blog have long stressed the critical need for the Republican Party to adopt a new social tolerance in place of the raw anti-gay bigotry many in the party have promoted for at least several decades. If Republicans are to have a future as a national political party capable of winning the presidency, they must begin to shed the regressive social views promoted by a minority of Republicans as expressed in the party platform, not just about gay rights but also about abortion and immigration.
This political fact was highlighted by Washington Post columnist Dan Balz in a very revealing essay on January 19 entitled “GOP faces uphill climb to 270 votes in 2016,” in which he sets forth the increasingly difficult, if not impossible, math of Republicans winning the Electoral College vote in the next presidential election. He itemizes the states that were once considered toss-ups in the presidential races from 1980 to 2000 and how most of them are now reliably Democrat. Those states now account for 147 electoral votes: “What has happened to those once-contested states highlights the dramatic change that has taken place since, namely a shift of some major states toward the Democrats,” he wrote. Continue reading
By David Lampo
The Duck Dynasty uproar is in full swing, on this blog (Lori S., Lori H., and Matt) and across America, set off by Phil Robertson’s insistence on not only stating his religious views about homosexuality to GQ magazine, but doing so in a crude and titillating way and tapping the time-honored slur of comparing homosexuality with bestiality. He knew precisely what he was doing, of course, and what kind of culture war he was about to set off.
The silliness and intellectual dishonesty of those now rushing to his defense was perceptively analyzed on this blog by Lori Sanders yesterday, but since then, several aspiring Republican presidential contenders have gone into full pander mode to the mostly Christian Right defenders of Mr. Robertson, and in the process they have displayed their intellectual dishonesty and infidelity to the First Amendment they claim to respect.
Gov. Bobby Jindal from Louisiana repeated the usual rightwing drivel that “the politically correct crowd is tolerant of all viewpoints, except those they disagree with…. I remember when TV networks believed in the First Amendment,” making clear Continue reading
By David Lampo
The excuse-making for the Republican election loss in Virginia is in full swing. Instead of focusing on the candidates who lost – Ken Cuccinelli, Rev. E.W. Jackson, and (most likely) Mark Obenshain – and their lack of appeal to many Republicans and libertarians, their defenders are blaming everything but the candidates themselves and their long history of voting against and speaking against gay rights, as well as their insistence on interfering with a woman’s right to make her own reproductive decisions, among many other shortcomings.
Perhaps their number one excuse for Cuccinelli’s defeat was the presence in the race for governor of Libertarian Robert Sarvis, who won nearly 7 percent of the vote against Terry McAuliffe’s 47.6 percent and Cuccinelli’s 45.4 percent. Their narrative even before the election was to pre-emptively blame Sarvis for Cuccinelli’s then-impending loss, and indeed Sarvis’s percentage of the vote was more than double the difference between the two major candidates. Continue reading
By David Lampo
Political fortunes can change very quickly, but as of now it looks like Ken Cuccinelli will lose his bid for governor of Virginia. For those of us who want to expand the Republican Party’s appeal to libertarians and younger voters, that will not be a bad thing. One can only hope this loss will encourage the party leadership to stop pandering to the extreme social conservative base and begin instead to craft a more inclusive, and libertarian, message.
The latest polling shows Democrat Terry McAuliffe with a substantial lead. The Wason Center (affiliated with Christopher Newport University) poll has him up by 9 points, 47-39, with 8 percent for Libertarian Robert Sarvis. Politico’s poll gives him the same lead, 44-35, with 12 percent for Sarvis. Finally, the latest Quinnipiac poll completely mirrors the Wason Center poll, including the 8 percent for Sarvis.
Cuccinelli has actually lost ground during this campaign, a result of successful efforts to brand him, by both McAuliffe and Sarvis, as an extreme social conservative. A September Quinnipiac poll, for example, had the race much closer, with McAuliffe at 44 and Cuccinelli at 41, with 7 percent for Sarvis. Continue reading