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Republicans' Low Poll Numbers Mean Nothing
Democrats, progressives, and most non right wingers are heartily celebrating the Republican Party’s current drop in popularity polls. There is evidence that their numbers are low because of the current government shutdown, their obstruction of compromise and their attacks on the Affordable Care Act.
The New Yorker’s John Cassidy describes it this way, “It’s quite possible that Democrats in the White House and on Capitol Hill have spent so much time cheering and high-fiving each other in the past few days that they might need a glass of water to cool down.” And the public perception is that Republican are causing the bottle-neck in the government, “46% say they would blame congressional Republicans for a government shutdown, with 36% saying the president would be more responsible and 13% pointing fingers at both the GOP in Congress and Obama.” Moreover, Republican Party poll numbers haven’t been this low, about 28%, since before the Civil War when there was no Republican Party.
However, those diving poll numbers and public distaste for the Republican brand does not hurt the long-term prospects of the Republican Party. The party will still exist due to the gerrymandering of safe Republican districts, corporate and billionaire donations in the millions to their campaigns, conservative media to promote their ideology, and their right-wing think tanks that write and push legislation that promotes their war-mongering, extremely individualist, corporate nationalism.
Furthermore, the Republicans and Democrats have a monopoly over political power that make it nearly impossible to elect third party candidates. “Over time, rules have been written by the two major parties in the U.S. to restrict access to power. Those who create the rules for governance decide how our money is spent and pass laws in every state and nationally that make a third party challenge for office nearly impossible.”
Sure, Republicans are currently taking a beating in the polls. However, that will not bring about the end of their party nor necessarily a beating in the 2014 elections. No matter how many people they hurt with their policies, the people that matter, millionaires and party operatives with the money to spare for elections, will generously spend to sell the Republican ideas.
It’s no accident that the Republican ideology overlaps neatly with corporate interests: anti-environmental, anti-labor, anti-regulation, low minimum wages, no campaign finance limits, the continuation of offshore tax shelters and tax loopholes, low corporate taxation, and a slew of other corporate welfare policies. All the social issues they appear to obsess over, abortion, gay marriage, guns, and religion, are just a distraction from the economic issues that the Republican’s wealthy patrons really care about.
Republicans can rely on wealthy elite owners of mass media to broadcast their fear-filled messages on Fox News, the Internet and other right-wing outlets, and Democrats won’t effectively fight the lies that help the right stay in office. Moreover, most of Republican districts are safe; they are insulated from voter backlash due to gerrymandering and the advantages of incumbency. Our winner-takes-all system of elections also ensures that Republicans stay in office; as long as get one more vote, you win.
So even though Republicans continue to make hateful and factually inaccurate statements about minorities, women, the president and others, it won’t matter. Their districts are safe. Unless our electoral system changes completely, Republicans will continue to have power. Moreover, Democrats will continue to enable the Republican’s existence, for they too benefit politically and financially from a political system that limits the voice and the choice of most of America.
The wealthy elite that control the message, policies, and politicians in the Republican party won’t let anything happen to the party that maintains and increases its wealth. They will do anything they can to prevent a change in our political system that would disempower them. The Republican Party will survive this supposed crisis and carry on as usual.
I only wish I were wrong.