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View Diary: Ralph's Gift (380 comments)

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  •  Opportunities (none)
    The original post is right.  If the Democrats are skillful about it (a big if) the religious right will become a wedge issue within the Republican Party, and could drive moderates and independents (which Kerry already won a majority of) away.  Especialy if the Repubs keep running up the deficits, enhancing the Dem image as the prty of fiscal responsibility.

    Three principles might need to be observed:

    1.  The intelligence, importance, and power of communities of faith must be respected.

    2.  The social conservative agenda of the Ralph Reed wing must be portrayed and widely accepted as extreme, bigoted, and hateful (through, in part, a redefinition of what is "moral," as suggested above).

    3.  The Bush Administration must be portrayed and accepted as captured by the socal conservative agenda of the Ralph Reed wing. Bush himself will be very tough to demonize, so must focus on the institutional power of his Administration and his party.

    A quick story.  I am in constant political discussion with a group of friends that include a libertarian, a moderate Republican, and independent, and a more conservative (but not religious) Republican.  The libertarian, moderate, and independent all decided not to vote for Bush (although not all voted for Kerry) because of the social conservative bent of the Bush Administration.  The conservative Republican voted Bush.  The day after the election, I started pounding the conservative with the theme that 40% of Bush's support came from the religious right, that there was no mandate for Bush's economic agenda, and that the decision to hand the keys of the party to the religious right would make moderates and independents uncomfortable if the Dems were able to write the storyline of the election as the takeover of the Republican Party by the polticial agenda of the religious right.  Earlier today he wrote an email back saying he was tired (already!) of the Dems portraying the election as the triumph of evangelicals.  :)

    The Reeds of the world will pretend they have a mandate for overturning Roe, denying gays legal rights, and restricting stem cell research.  But the majority of the electorate wants Roe to stand, supports legal protections for gays (yes, the initiatives notwithstanding), and wants more stem cell research (the California initiative is already laying that Republican fissure bare).  In the gap betwen the religious right's push of their purported mandate and the acual opinions of the electorate, lies a tremendous opportunity for progressives.

    As an aside, moderate and independent women voters in swing states might also be swayed by an effective marginalization of the Republican Party as one run by conservative white southern males.  It has the benefit of being true.

    •  opportunites (none)
      I think this is dead on:  every moderate and even fiscally conservative Republican I have talked to balks seriously at the Religious right taking over their party.  We have our major wedge issue, and the original post was right:  Ralphie handed it to us....

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