2016 GOP Election Strategy: Why Appeal When We Can Steal?

Graphic courtesy of Daily Kos

Graphic courtesy of Daily Kos

In the wake of our President’s re-election, one would think the GOP would engage in deep reflection as to the reason (s) they lost this previous campaign, making every attempt to implement policy changes reflective of the current electoral map. But, oh no! Far from it! Lest you have forgotten: The first thing the GOP did after their shellacking in November was to marginalize not only the President’s victory, but also the Democratic Party’s overwhelming victory. According to John Boehner (R-OH), the election  results were nothing more than:

“A mandate for both parties to find common ground,” while adding: “the American people have also made clear that there is no mandate for raising tax rates.” [Source]

Never mind the exit polls reflecting 60% of Americans supportive of the wealthiest paying more in taxes, allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire. Even Mitch McConnell (R-KY) opined with marginalization by saying:

Now it’s time for the President to propose solutions that actually have a chance of passing the Republican-controlled House of Representatives and a closely-divided Senate, step up to the plate on the challenges of the moment, and deliver in a way that he did not in his first four years in office,

In case you missed that, McConnell literally had the b***s to suggest the President compromise more with the GOP, despite the President consistently extending an olive branch to Republicans during his first term, only to be rejected. This coming from the very man who did everything within his power to ensure Obama would be a “one-term President.”

The second way the GOP dealt with their overwhelming defeat in November was by seeking extrinsic explanations for their loss. While there were many more excuses circulated, The Daily Beast provides the six most ludicrous explanations provided by the GOP which are as follows: Hurricane Sandy, Governor Christie, accusing the President of engaging in voter suppression, our country’s supposed departure from traditional values, supposed intimidation at a polling site by a lone Black Panther, and supposed intimidation conveyed by a mural of our President at a polling site. Wow! I never knew our President was so powerful that even a picture of him on a wall evokes one’s mind to vote for him. But then again, let’s not forget how Rush Limbaugh, viewed by many as the de facto leader of the GOP, attributed our President with such meteorological prowess that he was literally able to plot the path of Hurricane Issac in such a way as to interfere with the GOP National Convention. According to Rush, as reported by Jason Easley from Politics USA: 

So we got a hurricane coming. The National Hurricane Center, which is a government agency, is very hopeful that the hurricane gets near Tampa. The National Hurricane Center is Obama. It’s the National Weather Service, part of the commerce department. It’s Obama.

As I reflect on such idiotic statements, I stand amazed, and so should you: The very man these people portray to be so out of touch with America, stupid when it comes to the economy, socialistic in policy, radical, lazy, and, through innuendo, powerless, they also attribute such magical powers to. You really can’t make this stuff up, folks! Really! Furthermore – and please feel free to correct me if I am wrong – when a team, say an athletic team, loses a game, a series, or a Championship, do they seek external reasons for their loss? No! If they have a brain or desire to win, they take a critical look at themselves and develop solutions as to how they can actually improve their performance, right? Not the GOP! Even Newt Gingrich, not only dumbfounded over Romney’s loss, but also over the GOP nominee’s post-electoral comments to fundraisers via telephone this previous November, attributing his loss to the President providing gifts in exchange for votes, describing the implication as insulting:

This would be like Wal-Mart having a bad week and going, ‘The customers have really been unruly,'” he continued. “I mean, the job of a political leader in part is to understand the people. If we can’t offer a better future that is believable to more people, we’re not going to win.

Let’s face it folks: It is pretty bad when Newt Gingrich makes more sense than the rest of the GOP! But this is precisely what has happened since the majority of the GOP has come under control by the Tea Party members who are driven by the consistent lies, myths, rumors, and false information provided by the conservative radio talk show hosts and Fox News. Conservative columnist David Frum elucidates this very point, while stating just how uninformed these people are in a statement on Morning Joe, the week following the election:

“Republicans have been fleeced, exploited and lied to by a conservative entertainment complex…there are too many to name. Because the followers, the donors and the activists are so mistaken about the nature of the problems the country faces…just a simple question, and I went to Tea Party rallies and asked this question, have taxes gone up or down in recent years? They can’t answer this question.”

The third way the GOP dealt with their overwhelming defeat in November was to finally change their policies, right? Wrong! Instead, the GOP surrogates developed a new plan: keep the policies and just tone things down a bit in the messaging. In other words, they attributed their loss, not to the policies they have adopted, but to the manner in which those policies were shared with the electorate.  In fact, on November 20, 2012, as governors from the GOP met for The Republican Governor’s Association Conference, Joe Conason from Rasmussen Reports  reported the following:

“According to Wade Goodwyn, the National Public Radio reporter who covered the GOP governors’ meeting, their post-election mood was not one of shock, but complacency. It was widely agreed that nothing needed to be changed except perhaps the tone,” he found. “For example, the idea that more than 70 percent of Hispanics voted for the president because of Republican positions on illegal immigration was rejected by the Republican governors.”

So there you have it folks: The GOP has absolutely no plans to change ANYTHING! Apparently, this previous election has done nothing to assist the current GOP leadership to moderate their platform through the adoption of more electoral friendly policies. Instead, they continue to push their social agenda on an ever diverse population, all the while believing they stand on higher moral ground. Never mind revamping positions which have placed this GOP squarely at odds with over one-half of the electorate, while in the process alienating women, minorities, and anyone who does not support their ideology; that would require taking an intrinsic look at themselves and that might prove painful. Even the few remaining moderates left in their party are advising them to do precisely this, realizing that a failure to do so will cost them elections in the future. But even counsel provided by those in their very own party has fallen on deaf ears, only to witness that good old Tea Party arrogance surface as the current GOP has now made public their latest strategy for winning; stealing the vote! Perhaps the GOP has just come up with their campaign slogan for 2016; “Why Appeal When We Can Steal?”

As reported by Ian Millhiser from Think Progress, and further elucidated by Elisabeth Parker, my colleague here at Addicting Info, the GOP has a solid plan for taking back the presidency through the process of reallocating electoral votes for specific states in the next General Election. In case you find yourself wondering which states the GOP plans to execute this sinister plan of theirs in, they are as follows: Pennsylvania, Michigan, Florida, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Virginia. Even the casual observer cannot escape noticing that each of these states has two things in common: First, our President won each of these six states, and, second, each of these states currently has GOP-led state legislatures, allowing each to effectively gerrymander their congressional districts in such a way as to favor Republicans. If any of this sounds familiar to you, it should!

You may recall this past September, Governor Tom Corbett’s (R-PA) proposal to implement this very system in order to affect the outcome of his state’s electoral results. Apparently the voter ID law implemented by the GOP-led Pennsylvania State Legislature, considered by many to be the most aggressive voter identification law in the nation, was not sufficient enough of a guarantee for the Governor of Pennsylvania, despite the expressed optimism by the state’s GOP Majority Leader, Mike Turzai, when he said: 

“Voter ID which is going to allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania; Done!”

Thankfully, for progressives, democracy, and our President, a judge blocked that voter ID law, yet did not rule the law unconstitutional, and in fact, sent a strong signal that he believed the law was non-discriminatory, only expressing concern that voters would not be allowed sufficient time to procure the essential identification required in order to vote. Still, Corbett wanted to replace the State’s winner take all system of awarding electoral votes with the system now under serious consideration by the GOP, whereby the winner of each of the states cited above is awarded with two electoral votes, with the balance of the state’s electoral votes determined by Congressional District’s won. And, get this folks: if it were not for nearly every Republicans Congressional member in the Pennsylvania State Legislature, we very well could have faced a different electoral outcome in that particular state. According to Talking Points Memo, they nearly all opposed the Governor’s plan stating:

All stressed the negative impact this could have by making swing U.S. House districts more competitive, and more expensive” (Emphasis theirs).

Did you catch that folks? These Republican Pennsylvania Congressional members did not oppose Corbett’s system due to the unfairness of it, citing how the system would literally ignore the will of the popular vote for the state, but were more concerned over the fact that their seats would be more competitive to hold onto. Adding insult to injury, when the judge blocked the GOP-led effort to implement the harshest voter ID law in the nation, the state openly admitted the fact that voter fraud was non-existent in their state. According to the Washington Post’s Plum Line Blog:

“The state signed a stipulation agreement with lawyers for the plaintiffs which acknowledges there ‘have been no investigations or prosecutions of in-person voter fraud in Pennsylvania; and the parties do not have direct personal knowledge of any such investigations or prosecutions in other states.’”

Despite the state admitting to the court that voter fraud was non-existent, the GOP continued their stringent advocacy for a Voter ID law. The question that must be asked is why, and when looking at all of the evidence, it does not take a rocket scientist to determine that the GOP’s sole purpose in implementing the Voter ID law in their state was rooted in their desire to swing the election, as admitted by Turzai towards Romney! Moreover, The Brennan Institute indicates that an additional eleven GOP controlled states were affected by such voter identification laws since 2011, immediately following the Tea Party co-opted Republicans being swept into office during the previous mid-term election. Make no mistake about the gravity of this folks: Every single one of these Voter ID laws had their etiology in The American Legislative Council, commonly known as ALEC, known for their advocacy of boilerplate conservative legislation being championed by nearly every single GOP governor across the land. If that doesn’t wake you up, maybe this will: according to Source Watch, 98% of this organization’s revenue is generated through corporations and corporate foundations! (Emphasis mine)

To be clear: personally, I agree with Voter ID laws in our country, due to their ability to provide confidence in the outcome of our elections. What I take issue with, as I believe ANY reasonable citizen of our country should, is the manner in which these laws have been implemented; how several states have created overly burdensome obstacles for minorities, the elderly, and even those who live in urban areas having no need for a driver’s license, or worse, the fact that many individuals affected by these laws must obtain a copy of their birth certificate in order to obtain satisfactory and acceptable identification to exercise their legal RIGHT as a citizen of our Country to vote. In many cases, these laws can be equated with nothing more than a poll tax for many of our citizens. At a time when all legislators, Republican and Democratic alike,  should be developing ways to expand the vote, while maintaining the integrity of such votes, the Republican Party seems hell-bent on ensuring the electorate’s size shrinks. Why? Apparently, it is easier to deal with a smaller electorate – which poses less diversity, complies more readily to the party ideology – than to develop new and fresh ideas in order to appeal to the consistently changing pluralism and diversity our country is experiencing.

And now, adding further insult to injury, the GOP has discovered not only a way to suppress voters, but also a way to ensure the outcome of the presidency, through changing the way states, not just any states, but those who generally go to the Democratic nominee, allocate their electoral votes. According to The Center for American Progress Fund, they write:

“Perhaps most ominously of all, Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus endorsed the plan, and he did not even hide his intention to implement it only in blue states, where it will help the Republican presidential candidate and hurt the Democratic candidate. In Priebus’s words, ‘I think it’s something that a lot of states that have been consistently blue that are fully controlled red ought to be looking at.'”

Progressives take heed. We are not done yet! We are dealing with people, who are obviously controlled by corporations, and are willing to stop at nothing to ensure they win an election in 2016. This, after they ignore the very will of “We the People,” the group they claim should never be underestimated.  Oh, make no mistake: they DO want their country back. The only question progressives such as you and I must answer is this: will we allow them to do it?

Dr. Mark Bear works in the field of Social and Consumer Psychology. He holds degrees in Psychology and Theology. In addition, Dr. Bear works as a professional consultant assisting organizations in improving their respective organizational culture and employee performance. As a proud progressive, Dr. Bear and his wife Susan, reside in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and have been happily married for 29 years. He has a passion for reading, history, research, statistical analysis and writing. He also has a love for dogs and has a Schnauzer named Shadow. Dr. Bear is a political writer for Addicting Info and Voice 4 America. He also contributes to a blog; Blogging Blue. Dr. Bear invites you to follow him on Facebook or Twitter so you can read all of his contributions.