by Leslie Fish
As I mentioned in earlier posts, the GOP co-opted the Tea Party -- which began as a Libertarian grassroots movement -- and turned it into a cheering section for its own really reactionary NeoCons. Worse, the GOP then assumed that all those people who had founded and supported the original Tea Party were now dutiful NeoCons too. Bad mistake! This is what made NeoCon GOP candidates assume that there was a huge public backing for their own incredibly reactionary social ideas. This is probably the reason for the GOP's alienation of its own Libertarian wing, culminating in its visibly shabby treatment of Ron Paul and his supporters. This is also why we've seen Ronney sounding off about saving tax money by not funding birth-control for the poor, Ryan touting bans on abortion, Akin's incredible statements about "legitimate rape", and Mourdock claiming that rapes are part of "God's plan". This is what comes of believing your own propaganda and, worse, listening to none but your own supporters.
Dozens of polls have shown that the Republicans have lost 81% of the Hispanic vote, 47% of the women's vote, and 100% of the Black vote. This is a prediction of disaster, and should have raised warning flags, but the GOP's response has been only to discount the polls.
Another unnoticed warning is the record number of voters registering Independent, or even third-party. Here in Arizona, the number of registered Independents is greater than the number of registered Democrats and Republicans -- who are running about equal. This could possibly be because, in this state, if you're registered Independent you can vote in the primary elections of every party on the ballot -- or it could be because a huge number of voters are disgusted with the Big Two parties and are willing to look elsewhere. In any case, it means that Republicans are a minority here. It's a mistake to assume that Arizona is still a reliable "red" state. Nonetheless, the GOP has made that mistake. The usual glossy political ads are specializing on state legislative races, hardly even mentioning the presidential race. They think they've got it in the bag.
Well, they don't. This state also has voluntary early voting, and a lot of citizens (including me) have taken advantage thereof. The early returns on those early ballots show Obama leading with a score of 53%, Romney with 41%, and... nobody's talking about the other 12%. This, in a state that everyone assumes is reliably Republican! What do you think is happening in other states?
And the Republicans did it to themselves. I predict that in betraying its own Libertarian wing, by believing its own NeoCon propaganda, by tricking itself into thinking that the majority of Americans really want to go back to the 1950s, the GOP has (unless it commits a really spectacular vote-fraud, probably with the vote-tabulating machines) cost itself the coming election -- and very possibly more.
A lot of Americans, given our current economic and political mess, are fed up with the two-party system. They may be registering Independent, but they're looking elsewhere. Here in Arizona, I noticed in the voters' information book, a good dozen Libertarian candidates for state offices, and another half-dozen Greens. If the Rep./Dem. balance among the winners is close, it won't take a majority of Libertarians or Greens to swing a vote in the legislature. And all political movements -- and parties -- start small.
It's not impossible that in another decade or two the largest of the third parties -- the Libertarians -- will draw enough votes to outnumber the Republicans. That would be a fitting revenge for Ron Paul and the original Tea Party, both.
--Leslie <;)))>< )O(