I see a lot of posts here demonizing republicans as cold hearted, evil, hateful human beings who want nothing more than to stand on the backs of the poor and the weak to enrich themselves.
I also have seen a lot of posts by those who actually recognize that republicans are not a monolithic group any more than democrats are. If you look polls you rarely see republicans agreeing at a more than 70% rate on just about anything. This gallup poll (http://www.gallup.com/poll/107458/Abortion-Issue-Laying-Low-2008-Campaign.aspx) indicates that even on abortion there are approximately 30% of republicans who are pro-choice.
To win elections you need to turn out your base and get these "swing" voters. Obama did this, partially because the republicans screwed up so badly. Now that they have been out of power for 2 years, the question is how do you get those voters in 2010 and beyond.
I believe one group that can actually swing to vote democratic is the fiscally conservative/socially liberal faction of the republican party. According to this article, around 17% of the republican party is made of fiscally conservative-socially liberal voters
Obama won the 2008 election, ultimately because of the financial crisis. It is estimated that between 9-11% of republicans voted for Obama. There is even a website called "Republicans for Obama" although I have no idea what kind of volume they have.
I voted for Obama and I committed to voting for him in 2012 as well, primarily because the republican party really screwed up fiscally. I imagine that there is a cadre of old white guys who maintain power regardless of which republican candidate is in office. Most likely they ascended to power with Reagan and have been controlling the strings of the republican party for 30 years. They are probably all getting quite old and I felt 8 years of out of power may be enough to get a new group of puppet masters. At the very least the republican party would have time to figure out a new direction - hopefully away from fiscally liberal-socially conservative. In any case the economy will be good in 2012 and Obama will be able to take credit for it and will be reelected.
Most of the people I know, democrat or republican, are also fiscally conservative and socially liberal. Typically the difference between them is that the democrats believe that social justice and civil rights are more important and the republicans believe that property rights are more important. I don't think either group is fundamentally wrong, it is just a matter of priorities.
There are obviously republicans that you have no hope of converting, but ultimately the question is how do you attract this group to vote democratic? I have seen a ton of people attribute all sorts of nasty things to republicans - I have clipped a few. I can tell you that thinking this way isn't going to send you down the path to win any votes.
* [new] I hate all Republicans. (8+ / 0-)
They are scum.
Bush Bites is a subsidiary of Bush Bites Inc., a registered corporate personhood.
by Bush Bites on Fri Feb 12, 2010 at 08:24:53 PM PST
Republicans are evil. (35+ / 0-)
"I guess I'm gonna fade into Bolivian." -Mike Tyson
by AmbroseBurnside on Sat Nov 07, 2009 at 05:43:28 PM PST
The GOP hates America (17+ / 0-)
Republicans despise us. They have nothing but contempt for the working folk of this country, and their only purpose is to service their corporate whoremasters and permit us to be run to ruin at their benefit.
Which is why, as I have stated repeatedly, I hate all Republicans. Every last one of them can go to hell.
Republicans and personal responsibility are distant, estranged acquaintances.
by slippytoad on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 10:53:02 AM PST
I don't think of myself as evil, but I'm sure that many liberals probably think my beliefs are evil. In any case, understanding people like me who possibly could vote democratic is one necessary step to getting a winning majority. Below I lay out my beliefs and some arguments that to some extent may be used to sway your (thinking) republican friends and relatives.
Federal Power - I believe that the role of the Federal government is the 16 powers enumerated in the constitution. Any other interpretation makes available anything the federal government wants to do just by saying it is for the "general welfare". It doesn't make sense to enumerate specific powers if this is the case.
However, the constitution also says the supreme court gets to decide how to interpret the constitution. They have said that the more liberal interpretation rules and so by the rules of the constitution itself the more liberal interpretation wins.
Everything else is up for grabs by the states. The best governance happens at the lowest level possible because then people have the most say in how they are governed. My HOA says you can't park in the street and I'm fine with that. But I don't want the federal government telling me where I can park my car.
Big government vs. companies - Any human organization that gets too big, whether corporate or government becomes a bureaucracy that cannot serve its customers. Government or big business is inefficient, bloated and corrupt. Businesses are somewhat less so because they have lots of competition so if they don't serve their market they go out of business very quickly. What many republicans dont understand is that there are certain problems that businesses cannot solve. A business optimizes for itself and for its customers over a short period of time. Yet that may not optimize for the overall marketplace. Imagine a city block that has cool and funky restaurants and stores that attracts a lot of foot traffic. Each building is owned by a different landlord maximizing his interest. It turns out that starbucks wants to move in because it is a cool funky area. The landlord is really happy because he doesnt have to worry about starbucks going out of business, paying rent on time, etc. So even though starbucks is willing to pay less rent, he decides to rent to starbucks. Then the gap moves in next door, next thing you know the area is all chain stores and it loses its vibe and no one goes there anymore, rents drop and the landlords make less money. Explain to your republican friends that you are not anti business, just that there are certain problems that businesses can't solve. Companies are one way people organize to create value, government is just another way for people to organize to create value. They both have their place, neither is inherently good or bad.
Gay marriage - I am ok with this, but primarily because I am not religious. If you want to get the rights associated with them, call them civil unions that are essentially contracts focusing on inheritance rights, medical choice, taxation and public benefits. Marriage is fundamentally a religious construct and if they want to define it as between a man and a woman, then it is.
Entitlement programs - Economics proves that whatever you reward people for they will do more of. Anecdotally I have had employees say that they are quitting or having another baby so they can get more benefits. I have had friends who go on vacations Europe (during the dot com bust) while they were collecting unemployment benefits. That being said, these programs do serve a useful purpose. Almost all republicans I know (even the very conservative) just want the programs to be used to help for short periods rather than become used for a lifetime. But we all believe that these programs actually hurt the very people they are supposed to help. The more cynical people believe that the democratic leadership know this but get people addicted to welfare programs to get more votes. Almost everyone, including many republicans, would support jobs based entitlement programs. Finally, you can explain that just like the top 10% of the population are very gifted, the bottom 10% are incredibly ungifted. Through no fault of their own they lost the genetic lottery and it is in our best interest to at least keep them somewhat content. The bottom 10% is roughly 30 million people in the US.
Education - everyone gets that education is important. We all want an educated community. What actually is the problem then? Most of the problem is that despite more money, kids are learning less. One possible reason is that because it is free people take it for granted and dont value it. Another reason is that schools don't have much incentive to improve. I'm a big fan of vouchers, most liberals are against vouchers primarily because they don't want public dollars to go to religious schools. Teachers unions are against vouchers because they dont want teachers to be held accountable. So what about vouchers that allow you only to go to the public schools in the existing public school system? You will very quickly see schools improve and people spending "their" money/vouchers will generally be better consumers.
Healthcare - I don't believe healthcare is a right. I don't believe access to the most modern healthcare is a right either. We all are going to suffer and die, some earlier, some later. When you ask the government to pay for your healthcare, you are really asking me to pay for your healthcare. Maybe you are a fat slob who wants his third triple bypass, maybe you are a saint that got breast cancer. I don't hate you, but I don't necessarily want to pay for your health care either. Maybe I would rather donate that money to starving children in Africa where my dollar has a lot more impact on saving lives.
Healthcare is broken for a number of reasons that republicans (and most people) may not really understand
- Most people don't see the true cost. This means we don't make choices to reduce cost
- Insurance companies are monopolies
- Companies get tax breaks for offering insurance, individuals dont
- AMA has a stranglehold on the # of doctors produced
- The US subsidizes R&D for drugs for the rest of the world.
If you focus on and get agreement on the problems. Then it is much easier to find a solution - such as medicare for all or whatever. I think the senate bill is actually pretty good. Talk about the problems with your republican friends first, then start discussing solutions and how the current health care bill resolves those problems. Focusing on the uninsured is not really the right approach.
Middle east/terrorism and wars - we need energy, our standard of living is nothing without cheap energy. Right now that energy is oil so we must protect our oil interests. You may be able to convince republicans though that alternative energy such as nuclear, wind and solar plus higher mileage cars etc all will reduce our dependence on oil. If we take away the middle east's money, we take away their significance (and our need to meddle).
environment - we all know that people will pollute to make a buck. This is related to companies seeing the short term at the expense of the long term. Many liberals take it too far though - not every single species is important. In the same way that many liberals paint all republicans with evangelical brush, conservatives paint liberals with the PETA/tree hugger brush. With regards to climate change, I haven't looked at the data and without the data I'm skeptical either way. I do know that they use complex modeling that is subject to lots of error. Ultimately it comes down to trust of the experts. Climate science is a lot like economics and the same liberals who believe in climate science are often against the free market theories espoused by economists (lets protect industry with protectionist policies!). To be convinced I would need to actually read the journal articles and then read pro/con reviews. Ultimately it will work better to push for cheaper alternative energy to make the middle east irrelevant than to try to convince people to use less fossil fuels.
Free market - I'm ok with a regulated free market. The question is really how much regulation is the right amount. The key benefit of a free market is free exchange of goods and many choices. Regulation must exist to protect those key aspects. Because of the "too big to fail" concept, I think it would be easy to convince republicans to limit the size or scope of any company so that it will never be "too big to fail". When whole industries need a bailout, they certainly should take on extra regulation. Most of the republicans I know agree that it is ok for handouts to come with strings attached. The strings dont necessarily need to go away when the handouts get repaid. When talking to other republicans I point to china as a demonstration of the benefit that our government has in looking at product safety and workplace safety.
Unions - Unions arent inherently bad. Just like any large organization they can suffer from corruption. If unions were to disappear, companies would immediately begin exploiting their workers. So even though I do believe unions have killed a large number of companies and industries, overall I think we are all better off with unions than without. Republicans tend to focus on the bad part-killing companies libs tend to gloss over the bad part. You only have to point to working conditions in other countries to show what life would be like without unions.
Fiscal conservatism - no one ever wants to cut programs. Every program has someone that says it is a must have. Just like in your life, it is hard to disconnect the cable tv until you are really forced to do it. How many people who got foreclosed on still had cable tv, cell phones and car payments? There is a pot of money that the government collects, you will never convince me that the federal government couldnt cut 10% across the board today. I'm ok with the level of taxes today but the federal government should cut programs rather than increase taxes. The federal government should definitely live beneath its means. When you raise taxes you are truly killing the goose that laid the golden egg. All the fiscal conservatives want is to control government spending - keeping it to inflation would be a good start. Clinton (who many of you hate) actually managed to cut spending in a number of areas - he was practically a fiscal conservative. I think obama is quite similar which is why I voted for him. The reason you arent getting a public option from him is because the budget people couldnt make it work without massive taxes.
If the dem party can be fiscally conservative/socially liberal then I think they will win for years to come.