A pro-lgbtq Republican party?

I’m just catching up on the news from the final night of the Republican National Convention. As a liberal, there wasn’t much for me to like, but there was one thing that really stood out to me even if it was overshadowed by other issues: the LGBTQ wasn’t used as a boogeyman.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think that the Republican party has turned over a new leaf with respect to the LGBTQ. The Republican platform is still the most anti-LGBTQ platform in Republican history. Donald Trump — while seeming to change opinions over time — last said that he would appoint judges to the Supreme Court of the United States that would overturn the marriage equality ruling.

Despite all that, the founder of PayPal, Peter Thiel, said he was ‘proud to be gay’ from the in a speech at the RNC. This was the first time in history that someone from the LGBTQ actually talked about LGBTQ issues at the RNC.

The Verge also reports:

In his speech pledging support for Donald Trump, Thiel also referred to North Carolina’s controversial transgender bathroom law, asking the audience, “Who cares?”

Further, Donald Trump also made an overature to the LGBTQ in his speech. While it wasn’t about domestic policy, he said that he would defend the LGBTQ from the hostilities from foreign countries. When there was cheering from the floor of the convention, Donald Trump said that, as a Republican, it was good to hear them cheering that point.

Do I believe that the Republican party has turned the corner and is now supporting LGBTQ people? No. But I do hope that it is the first step in the death of the culture war that many Republicans still continue to fight.

May 1 2016 Shorts

The following is a set of links and comments to things I find interesting that are not long enough to merit their own post.

P.S. Happy May Day!

Topics include:

  • Expect a untraditional vice presidential running mate for Trump
  • Two factions of the Republican party?
  • Psychopaths and Sociopaths

Continue reading May 1 2016 Shorts

Republican party in transition

I am aware of several people that think that the Republican party is in the process of failing. Political scientists would seem to disagree, but there is definitely something happening in the Republican party.

Recent polling shows that the Republican party’s popularity is at its lowest point since 1992: the year that Bill Clinton took the White House for the Democrats.

From People Press:

Currently 33% of the public has a favorable impression of the Republican Party, while 62% have an unfavorable view.

And a few paragraphs later in the article,

Currently, 45% of the public has a favorable impression of the Democratic Party, while 50% have an unfavorable opinion.

That gives the Republican party a -29% approval score among the American people while the Democrats have a -5% approval score.

As bad as those scores are on for both political parties, the Republicans seem to dislike themselves as well. Within the Republican party, only 68% of the Republicans approved of their party.

That gives an internal Republican approval score of 36%. While that isn’t the greatest score in the world, that also isn’t a score that would appear to actually destroy the Republican party. Unless the internal Republican approval score approaches 0%, there is little chance that the party will fracture or disintegrate.

What is more likely that a fracture is a political realignment. A sizable portion of the Republican party isn’t happy with the party. If the Republicans are going to continue to win, obviously they will need those people to continue to vote Republican. The only solution is to become more responsive to a larger percentage of their people without alienating an equally large percentage.

All of the above might be easy enough to imagine, but what will the Republican party do to solve this problem.

One solution is to scale back the culture war. There don’t seem to be many people left in the “moral majority” regardless of whether they consider themselves conservative, Republican, or Christian. While I suspect that the language will remain in the Republican platform for the foreseeable future, I doubt there will be enough cold culture warriors to maintain the Republican party while it is in decline.

Another part of the solution would be to emphasize the middle class. The middle class (and poorer) will have to be addressed with more than just rhetoric. Whether they like to admit it or not, medicare and medicaid are just as important to the working class white people as they are to any other group. And while they might not like to admit it, they use the same resources as the people in any other group. There are also plenty of white people out here without a golden parachute or a retirement account that would fund a small country.

Regardless of what the Republican party does, one thing you can bet on is that it will do something to elevate the happiness of the Republican voter. They will have no choice. If they don’t find a way to actually help their voters, they will lose more and more of them until their party actually does die.

The Merrick Garland waiting game

I thought I had discovered an insight into the obstruction tactics that the Republic Senate had in place to thwart President Obama’s nomination to the Supreme Court. It seemed to me like their strategy would be to have their cake and eat it too. Simply put, they would wait until they found out whether a Republican won the presidential election this November. If a Republican won, they would wait for that Republican to nominate a successor to fill the Supreme Court vacancy. If, on the other hand, a Democrat won nomination; then, and only then, would they act on the centrist nominee President Obama nominated. In effect, they could either have a moderate of they lost or a foaming-at-the-mouth, rabid-dog conservative if they win.

But it turns out that insight isn’t really required any longer. The Republican party seems well past the point where they try to hide their political games from the public; now, they come right out and tell you their delay tactics.

From Reuters:

Two key U.S. Senate Republicans signaled they would be open to considering after the Nov. 8 presidential election President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nomination of Merrick Garland, the centrist judge who was set on Thursday to begin meeting with senators.

Flake said while Republican leaders were “fully justified” in delaying action on confirmation, if the Republicans lose the White House race the Republican-led Senate “ought to look at this nomination in a lame-duck session in November.”

“I would rather have a less liberal nominee like Merrick Garland than a nominee that Hillary Clinton, if she were president, would put forward,” Flake told Fox News Channel.

I can’t say that it comes as any great surprise. After all, the Republican party appears to be swirling down the toilet. I doubt that they feel like there is time to worry about secret politics. After all, if they don’t do something, their entire, antiquated way of life will vanish.

Trump, Authority, Purity, and Social Dominance Orientation

The seeming unstoppable support for Donald Trump has caused quite a bit of head scratching among political pundits. It seems like the only thing that Democratic and Republican pundits agreed on was that Donald Trump would self-destruct sooner or later. And while this is still a very valid possibility, the fact that he has remained the Republican frontrunner for this length of time makes me interested in just what type of supporter is drawn to him.

His supporters don’t seem to be the traditional conservative supporters, even though many of them still use ‘conservative’ as their identifier. Instead, they seem to be drawn to authority and purity instead of conservative ideas or ideals.

Let’s take a look at his predisposition to discuss purity issues.

Purity can be thought of as the things that don’t cause disgust, and we all know what disgusts Donald Trump. He seems to be particularly disgusted by the way that a woman’s body functions. The simple thought of a woman urinating is enough to send him into fits of disgust on Twitter. I can only imagine what other hygiene related bodily functions would do. While it might not be explicitly accurate, you could be forgiven for believing that Donald Trump is disgusted by any bodily function that doesn’t originate with a man.

Authority is another thing that Donald Trump seems to be hammering. He is claiming authority over treaties, borders, economies, war, and other countries’ natural resources. He will destroy ISIS and take their oil. He will build border walls and have other countries pay for it. He will destroy economies in China and have Chinese companies scurrying to bring their production to the American people (apparently through the portcullis’ that will be built into the walls). Treaties with other countries can be created or destroyed with no more effort that the wave of his hand. And finally, ISIS will be able to be identified without mistaking them for their non-ISIS neighbors, destroyed, and their oil will be taken for the good of the United States.

I’ll admit that it is difficult for me to wrap my mind around the fact that there are people that would espouse these ideals in this day and age. I had believed that the age of ignorance and isolation was far behind us. It is especially difficult for me to believe that there are enough people in the United States that think like that to actually create a viable political party. Many Republicans, while maintaining their dedication to traditional conservative ideals, are horrified at the bigotry and crassness that is spewing forth from this nascent movement. Yet this movement just might have some staying power.

An editorial in the New York Times by Thomas B. Edsall states:

In our conversation, [Jim] Sidanius [a professor of sociology at Harvard and one of the originators, in the 1990s, of the concept of social dominance orientation] posed a key question concerning Trump: Does he represent a growing constituency on the right that will become increasingly powerful or will the Trump phenomenon eventually dissipate?

The truth is that Trump has already left an indelible imprint on the political system. He has inflicted tremendous damage on the Republican establishment, as he hoped he would, but he has done much more. By setting a populist agenda that appeals to millions of Republicans and to substantial numbers of Democrats and independents as well, Trump has opened the door to a reshaping of the traditional two-party coalitions.

And I would have to agree. Whether Donald Trump flames out or not is almost irrelevant at this point. He has demonstrated that there are enough people that follow a personality, even an atrocious personality like Donald Trump, that major changes are going to be coming to the way voters are pandered to.