Saturday, August 24, 2013

Cynical Voter Reform and A Shamless Party Purge

The Republican Party is determined to shrink the electorate, seeing that as a preferable policy than trying to expand the base. Expanding the base requires accepting people of differing political philosophies and priorities; such a move is tantamount to debasing the strict, doctrinaire position of Party members from the far right wing, and that is completely unacceptable. The shameless way in which members of the far right have openly acknowledged their goal of a smaller, narrower national Party makes it clear that was once a proud political party has been transformed into an interest group.

Participation in our political process is already shamefully low. For example, their are currently 70% of citizens 18 or older registered to vote. Of that 70%, 50% vote in most presidential elections. Of that 50%, roughly 53% vote for the eventual winner. Applying Bayes Theorem, this means that only 18 1/2% of voting age Americans actually elect our President. This is an appalling number, especially when you consider that those who do vote are not a representative cross section of the general public but tend to be older, whiter, and more suburban than your average voter. What this tells me is that there is a huge segment of the population accessible to an open, inclusive Republican Party, but that the Part has no interest in reaching out to find them.

This is no longer a Party that has room for people like me, nor would it have room for now deceased Republicans like Hugh Scott, Arlen Specter, Ronald Reagan, Dwight Eisenhower, John Heinz, or Abraham Lincoln. Those in the far right claim that anyone holding beliefs contrary to their own are RINOs, when in fact it is those on the far right, especially Tea Party members, that are the real RINOs. Their misinterpretation of our Founders thoughts, their unwillingness to engage in negotiation and compromise, and their willingness to abuse the mechanisms of government all place them at odds with the Party's noble past. It is time for Republicans like Colin Powell, Olympia Snowe, Jeb Bush, George Bush, and Chris Christie to stand up to these right wing radicals and expel them from the Party. I realize that Party purges are more often associated with communism and other authoritarian systems, but the Party is quickly losing those features that made it definitive of a democratic form of government.

A narrow, exclusive political base is not a goal worthy of a major political party in a republican form of government. The Republican Party has become a fundamentalist party reflecting the views of a limited constituency. The fact that so many people still identify themselves as Republican should not be seen as affirmation in this policy shift. It is, more correctly, the result of media manipulation and a lack of choice in our current democracy.

A vigorous, legitimate democracy requires an engaged body politic that, at the very least, stays well informed and participates in the electoral process. By openly advocating policies that will shrink the body politic and create greater exclusivity, the Republican Party has demonstrated complete contempt for our institutions, our history, and our system of government. They are a shameful example of what can happen when a small, influential group of people have the capacity to hijack the organs of government for personal gain. They must be stopped

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