Editorial: An open letter to the Republicans

Posted Friday, February 14, 2014 in Opinion

Editorial: An open letter to the Republicans

To Republicans in advance of the upcoming elections:

We are growing a little weary of the lack of anything approaching responsible government because you and the Democrats can’t seem to talk together.  And we are sorry, it’s mostly your fault.  But we are not here to scold you.

We are here to offer some advice for free.

Yours is a small tent party.  You don’t attract a lot of America’s demographics. Your demographic is mostly older, white men who consider themselves “straight”. Yes, there are some women who still vote for you, but that number is plummeting.  You’ve lost African Americans for good. You’ve lost Hispanics. You’ve lost young people. You’ve lost the LGBT community. You’ve lost immigrants of all kinds. You’ve lost the poor. You’re rapidly losing the middle class. You’ve lost union members. You’ve lost state and federal workers.  You are starting to lose retirees. You’ve lost the unemployed.

Your demographic is passing on, literally. You’ve resorted to restricting voting rights to try to win elections, and that isn’t working out too well, either.

So what should you do, we hear you cry?

1. Stop trying to figure out how to “talk to women”. Instead, ask women what THEY think.  We know, we know, a truly novel idea.  Here’s what you would learn. Whether women are for abortion rights or not, they are … to a woman … very protective of their rights to medical privacy.  Accept it. Move on. Abortion and restriction of contraception isn’t going to be an election-winner for you. If you want to encourage women to vote for you, talk about things that DO matter to women, possibly more than men, because of their roles as mothers.  Day care.  Quality schools. Affordable housing, food, transportation. Affordable college for their children and themselves. Affordable health care.  Pay equity. Equality in credit. Environmental concerns. Women are possibly more concerned about the world we are leaving to our children than men are. Keeping their children out of needless wars.  Women want their children to be equal citizens regardless of whom they love.  Shall we go on?

2.  For the poor, middle class, and even the lower upper classes, “entitlement reform” sounds a lot like “cutting Medicare and Social Security”.  You can’t sugar coat it. If you want to do that, be aware that you’ll lose those economic demographics for good, and most seniors, too.

3.  The “debt” isn’t as frightening to these folks, either, because the US has always run a debt, and it’s been higher as a percentage of GDP than it is today. Reducing our debt during a time of economic instability seems absolutely nuts to these demographics.  If you want to make a stand on the issue, again, it is up to you, but you’ll lose a great number of the people you’d like to recapture.

4.  Holding immigration hostage means you’ll lose Texas in 2020, Arizona by 2024. You’ve already lost Colorado, New Mexico, and you’re likely to lose Florida in this election cycle.  The demographics are shifting, and people whose relatives are seen by you as “criminals”, especially when you’re not trying to change that status, won’t vote for you.

5. Similarly, you’re losing the north tier because of your harping on unions.  Back off, or kiss Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and soon, Wisconsin and Indiana goodbye forever.  You’re unlikely to gain friends in West Virginia, either.

6.  Young people, even those who might agree with you fiscally, are totally turned off by your social stances.  Learn from this. They’re the future.  You’re going to drive them into a third party, and that, as they say, will be that for the Republican message.

7.  Keeping people poor who have had the misfortune of losing a job is just, sorry, stupid. A lot of those people WERE Republicans. We bet they’re not now.

8.  Your token African Americans aren’t fooling the African American voter base.  They’re not impressed by the “conservative” black persons you trot out, they are watching you close polling places in African American neighborhoods.  You are probably too young or too blind to understand what voting means to these people.  They’re 12 percent of the electorate.  You can’t win certain states – like Florida and Virginia – without them. Wake up.

9.  Stop standing in the way of equality. One day in the not too distant future, when marriage equality is the law of the land, people will look back at you with disgust.  That will taint your party in the future, even if it doesn’t taint you personally, just as it did in the wake of Loving v. Virginia. Do you really want to be responsible for that?

10.  Finally, get it through your heads that it’s the American grassroots that grow the economy. Help them. Stop pretending that your wealthy friends are responsible for economic growth. No one is forgetting how the rich sat on their hands and let America twist in the wind after your guy crashed the economy.  Put in place real progressive taxation to help the lower classes have more disposable income.  Stop worrying about people who can afford to pay ten times what they are paying now whining about a five percent tax increase.

In the end, our conservative friends, the one percent, is, after all, just one percent. They can throw money at you, but they can’t vote you in. The people whose votes you need are the demographics you are ignoring or, worse, deliberately turning off.  If you hope to make a difference in the upcoming elections, learn from your mistakes.

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