How stupid is the American electorate? A better question is simply, how stupid do those we elect think we are? We need do no more than take a look at the Republican method of governance for the answer. If you have been willfully blind to the obvious maybe you haven’t noticed the rank hypocrisy and contempt for the American people over the last few decades. Well if that’s the case, over the last year it’s been almost impossible to miss. In a government “of the people by the people for the people”, we should ask whom does that government serve. In today’s world the question is whom do the republicans serve? Plainly, themselves.
Very recently we have been subjected to their latest revival. Going all the way back to the 1980s we have heard their nonsensical lies about tax cuts, only to turn the debate to deficits once their lies became obvious. We need look no further than our last government surplus during the Clinton administration to expose their all too transparent game.
The surplus in question, the last one our country has enjoyed, was largely the result of tax increases over fierce republican opposition. Not only did those cuts result in massive surpluses, it coincided with a booming economy. Something that just doesn’t happen if Republicans are to be believed. This obviously created a problem for them. The Republican answer? Get rid of the surplus post-haste. Fortunately for them 9/11 and the unnecessary military involvement in Iraq gave them the perfect opportunity, in addition to, you guessed it, tax cuts.
After their mismanagement of a booming economy left the country in a deep recession and a financial crisis within a mere 8 years, it was time to go back on the deficit bandwagon. Really, when you think about it who could blame them for thinking the American public were idiots, seemingly, we would buy anything they were selling. Well, at least enough of us to maintain a republican grip on the American political system, which brings me to the main point of this article, how do the republicans maintain that grip with an incoherent ideology as well as constant double talk and hypocrisy? Really, it’s simple. It starts with a complete lack of ethics and a few simple rules.
First, find the constituents who don’t care about ideology. This group largely consists of groups we would call single issue constituents.
Second, piece them together into a manageable political force.
Third, present their single-minded desires to them with simple, even infantile, logic. Remember, they really don’t care what you’re saying beyond the few recognizable words they are already waiting to hear.
Fourth, rig the political system wherever possible to maximize their political power, i.e. local politics leading to gerrymandering and ideological judges more loyal to their politics than the law.
Fifth, muddy he political waters as much as possible to confuse as many as possible and obscure the obvious.
To look at this a little more closely we should ask, who comprises these single-issue constituents? A vast majority of them fall into just a few basic groups who have little in common other than their commitment to their issue and their intolerance of those who question it. For instance, those who identify as pro-life, NRA supporters, evangelicals, and of course their most traditional and loyal, the wealthy and greedy.
As long as the republicans are able appease these one issue groups there is no need for a truly encompassing ideology that is coherent or consistent since the Republicans know those people will quickly overlook the truth in favor of their own selfish interests. This is perfect for the republicans since it takes care of the second step of piecing them together as well.
I will take just a moment to do some rough math as an example. If each of these groups comprise, for argument’s sake, 10% of the voting population, it would amount to roughly 40% of the electorate.
Once this is gained, it is useful to disenfranchise as many Americans as possible who may have the capacity for rational thought or may be unsympathetic to their agenda. This is done through gerrymandering and various voting restrictions (step 4).
While 40% isn’t enough to remain a viable national party, propaganda and appeals to fear and patriotism are used to muddy the political waters enough to get them very close. Many can be swayed with such simple appeals as climate denying, flag pins, and cries of impending tragedy from their job creating overlords (step 5).
Ask yourself this honestly, does it make any sense for Republicans to rail non-stop for years over Hilary Clinton’s emails and Bengasi, with one congressional hearing after another, while there is barely a peep about their current standard bearer, or the very least, his aides and family, conspiring with a foreign power hostile to all Americans? Of course not. The answer Americans need to understand is that the only thing the Republicans truly care about is themselves.
So, it makes perfect sense that the republicans appear extreme to average Americans. They have, in effect, stitched together a mismatched quilt and are unable to give ground on any of those key issues lest that quilt unravel and they lose their political viability.
Now we come to the present. Should there be any question to their plan? They are disgusting human beings, but they are not stupid. Rest assured, there is a plan. They can see the coming political tsunami as well as the rest of us.
Step one, there is no future for them if they lose the oldest and most important part of their base, the wealthy money grubbing lowlifes who would sell out the entire planet just to add a few extra feet on their new yacht.
Step two, cushion the blow as much as possible. Their betrayal of the American people is nothing that can’t be solved with a little re-branding and some good propaganda. In the meantime, stack the courts with favorable stooges to frustrate future attempts to do anything while they are waiting for the tide to recede. Despite the fact that I and probably most rational Americans see the Republicans as poisoning the political well for a generation, history has taught them that Americans have short memories and they only need to ride out the current outrage.
Step three, impugn the entire political system. Attack and smear everyone and everything they can think of. Eventually most Americans will lose track of who they hate more.
Step four, go to the oldies but goodies. The deficits aren’t going away anytime soon. In reality, much of the debt is owned by the aforementioned greedy lowlifes who make considerable income from the transfer of wealth through instruments of debt, but republicans know most Americans don’t understand the economics of national debt and they also know that the idea of debt scares them.
Additionally, they will be sure not to let people forget about our crippled military. Yes, the same military which accounted for 37% of the total world military expenditure in 2015 and equaled the expenditures of the next highest seven countries combined. Woe is us. How can we be expected to defend ourselves with such a malnourished military?
Step five, wait. Just wait. We can be sure they remember the last political tsunami that swept President Obama into office. That wave couldn’t even outlast the mid-term elections which immediately followed.
There is an old saying largely attributed to Alexis de Tocqueville, an 18th century French historian who said roughly, “in a democracy people get the government they deserve.” What government do Americans deserve? Is it finally time to wise up and get off this cruel ride?