The Republican Party has lost its heart and soul. The party of Abraham Lincoln, founded in the mid-1850s as a political movement united against slavery, has morphed in the 21st century into the party of hate and the party of no.
The party that was primarily comprised of Northerners and rejected by pro-slavery white Southerners is now dominated by white Southerners. The party that was once embraced by freed slaves is now overwhelmingly void of people of color, including African-Americans, Latinos, Asians and immigrants.
The party that once gave lip service to the women’s suffrage movement as early as the 1872 Republican Convention in Philadelphia is dying to overturn Roe v. Wade, make women criminals if they terminate an unwanted pregnancy, seek to give full legal rights to fertilized eggs, think that babies created by rape are a “gift from God,” and say that the Bible gives men dominance over women in relationships.
The party of Teddy Roosevelt, who championed America’s parks system and the love of nature, is now against environmental regulations, thinks global warming is a hoax, and rejects science and evolution. The same Teddy Roosevelt that busted trusts would not recognize today’s GOP, which wants to deregulate Wall Street, reduce taxes for the ultra-wealthy, gut the Environmental Protection Agency, and drill, drill, drill.
The party that nominated the 1948 presidential ticket of Thomas Dewey and Earl Warren, hailed as the “liberal, progressive element” of the GOP, is now dominated by the likes of Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, Rick Santorum, Michelle Bachmann, Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, Eric Cantor, Jon Kyl, Jim DeMint, Rand Paul, Ron Paul, Rick Perry and Herman Cain.
The party that throughout much of the 20th century included the so-called “Rockefeller Republicans,” like Henry Cabot Lodge Jr., Jacob K. Javits, Prescott Bush and George W. Romney, has run out of office any progressive or centrist members since the Tea Party takeover in 2010.
The party under the leadership of Republican Minority Whip Newt Gingrich and its “Contract With America,” which worked hand-in-hand with Democrats during the Clinton Administration to eliminate the national debt and build an enormous surplus that the Bush Administration spent on the way to record debt, has refused to work with the Obama Administration for the past four years.
Why should voters support the Republican Party for doing NOTHING?
Why should women support the Republican Party that wants to take away their right to choose?
Who should minorities – African-American, Latinos, Asians and immigrants – pay any attention to a Republican Party that could care less about their well-being?
Why should senior citizens, children, the unemployed and the poor trust the Republican Party, which wishes to get rid of Medicare and Medicaid as we know it, PBS and Big Bird, and other safety nets that are viewed as “handouts.”
And why should LGBT Americans trust the Republican Party, which is adamantly against marriage equality and equal rights?
So on Wednesday morning, after Barack Obama has comfortably been re-elected as President, the Republican Party has to ask itself the tough questions: Does it wants to be a permanent minority party? Or does it want to rethink its platform and evolve into a relevant player in the 21st century?
Ken Williams is Editor in Chief of SDGLN. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, @KenSanDiego on Twitter, or by calling toll-free to 888-442-9639, ext. 713.