As most of us know by now the Republicans are trying to “reach out” to minority groups that have been voting increasingly Democratic in the last few presidential elections. They refer to them as minorities, true enough of blacks, gays and Hispanics, but hardly of women. This reaching out consists of saying nice things about them and having party luminaries at their important events. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal was a recent spokesman for this approach, saying that he was tired being a member of the “stupid party,” an unabashed gesture of contrition.
With one exception. While he was speaking, his party’s representatives in the state legislature were trying to replace the state income tax with a sales tax increase. It doesn’t require much knowledge to know that income taxes are paid by the rich and sales taxes by consumers.
If one makes the reasonable assumption that Jindal’s speech is a microcosm of his party’s handling of the problem, this approach boils down to “listen to what we say, ignore what we do.” There’s an obvious conflict in Republicans asking blacks for votes they are simultaneously trying to suppress. Put bluntly “we don’t want to let you vote. But if you do, be sure to vote for us.” If they want more Hispanic votes they’ll have to ignore the Tea Party and show an open mind on immigration. If they want support from gays they’ll first have to cease opposition to gay marriage. The votes of poor folks will require some serious penance.
Reaching out for the women’s vote is also quite a stretch. However one regards abortion, there is a substantial number of women, enough to swing elections, who strongly prefer a Roe v Wade world. A larger number often prefer contraception to pregnancy. I find it hard to consider something that can only be seen through a microscope as human life, eventually maybe, but not at the moment. Equal pay for equal work? There are two ways to do this, lower the salaries of the “overpaid,” presumably men, which isn’t about to happen, or raise the pay of women which would add to the expense of doing business, and we can’t have that now can we?
As I see it the Republican Party, both leadership and membership, doesn’t have arms long enough or anything resembling the will, to reach the people whom it has managed to increasingly offend in recent years. There is little if any chance of its winning the game of majority rule, sometimes known as democracy. Its only hope lies in changing the game.