Winning

Joe Scarborough

Joe Scarborough is an interesting guy. He came to power in the House during the Gingrich Revolution and supposedly retired to spend more time with his son, who was having problems that Scarborough thought could be helped by having his dad home more often. I’d like to believe that anyone would do that, so I believe him, and I respect him for that.

Scarborough isn’t a far right nut, despite doing some incredibly dumb things from time to time like misrepresenting the views of people he disagrees with and then just keeps digging the hole he’s standing in deeper and deeper until he’s out of sight and can be safely ignored.

But his views of the country and the GOP are often insightful and accurate, especially when it comes to the increasing radicalization of his party which is more extreme now than at any time in the last 133 years. Scarborough spoke about CPAC snubbing New Jersey Governor Chris Christie on his program this morning, while inviting Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney, and Rick Santorum to speak, and concluded that his party doesn’t care about winning elections anymore.

This is interesting. I don’t think it’s entirely true that the professional GOP doesn’t care about winning. It’d be more accurate to say that the GOP is standing between two points in space, like the massive void between two neighboring galaxies. They aren’t lost, and don’t really belong in either place and aren’t sure which way to go. Behind them is their home galaxy, which I’ll call limited democracy, an institution where not all votes are equal and representation is inherently elitist, decadent, and aristocratic.

In front of them is the galaxy they’ve been aiming at for the past 10-12 years, a place they began running towards as fast as they can within the past 2-4. This next galaxy represents a soft tyranny, where a group replaces the individual, but most other attributes of a dictatorship otherwise exist.

If you consider what the GOP was and what it will become on its current path, you have a pretty good idea of what it is today. It’s what you get when you believe that your views are the only right views, where what is and isn’t right is actually defined by what you alone believe. When you think like that, compromise is just a synonym for surrender and all opposing views are ipso facto wrong.

How did the right just know that Obamacare was unconstitutional, despite significant legal precedent, and an overwhelming consensus within the legal community that it was not? It’s easy and appealing to ignore experts and data when you just know that you’re right.

How did the right just know that Mitt Romney would win the 2012 election, probably in a landslide, despite virtually every poll and data-driven analysis predicting the opposite outcome? The same way the right just knows that Americans oppose new gun restrictions, same-sex marriage, and the right to a legal abortion, despite evidence showing exactly the opposite to be true.

Dismissing facts is the natural result of holding near fundamentalist belief in your views. And at that point, ruling by forcing your views on others becomes logical, natural, and desirable. From radical Islam/Judaism/Christianity to communist, socialism, and even radical (forced) democracy (Iraq, Afghanistan, perhaps Iran), it’s all the same in the end. I’m right, whatever I believe defines what is right, therefore anything I do is right. And so on.

When you look around the world, I think you’ll find it’s that extremist, dogmatic attitude that leads to tyranny and oppression, not ideology, politics generally, or religion. So it’s not the professional GOP, Republicanism, or conservatism that’s the problem. It’s allowing any group to be driven by its most radical fringe, which is what the GOP has done, and it is that which will define what the GOP will become.

* * *

Bill O’Reilly has a sad. Rush Limbaugh admitted that he’s ashamed of America on his radio program recently, which is amazing since the Limbaugh’s of the world are the first people to throw around accusations of hating America when they hear talk like that. But that’s not the sliver in O’Reilly’s finger. It’s the idea that “the left” beat “the right”, or from O’Reilly’s view, “The left has not won America.”

Perhaps it hasn’t “won America”, but it has beaten the right pretty good these past few years. Democrats have won the popular vote in five out of the last six Presidential elections, have taken seats away from the Republican Party in both chambers of Congress in three out of the last four Congressional elections, and party identification polls have shown that there are more Democrats than Republicans in America for nearly a decade.

If not for gerrymandering, Democrats would control the House of Representatives this year, because they won the popular vote amongst all House races, which has only resulted in the popular party not winning a majority of seats just a couple of times in the last 100 years. In other words, if you were to add up all the votes in all the House races, whichever party had more would have like a 95%+ of winning a majority of the seats.

By all rights, America should have resumed having an all-Democratic government (courts aside) this year.

Things look different at the local level, but that is also due to a lot of gerrymandering. Rigging congressional districts also changes the outcome of state-level representation.

I don’t know what Bill O’Reilly’s idea of “XX has won America” means, and it seems pointlessly childish to me. But Rush Limbaugh, for once, was not wrong. Democrats have begun to dominate national politics: same-sex marriage and abortion are now favored to be legal by a majority of Americas, 2-in-3 Americans support banning assault weapons and a majority support most of the Democratic platform for new gun regulation, a hefty majority of Americans have supported raising taxes on the rich to address the deficit since 2008, most support spending even more money on education, and almost no voters want cuts to Medicare and Social Security benefits.

If not dominant, is liberalism not de facto the majority ideology in America? The facts support that conclusion.

Paul Tenny

Paul Tenny

I'm not a journalist but I do it anyway. I cover elections and have interviewed television writers and producers.
Paul Tenny

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