Sunday, September 18, 2016

Republicans remain the 'stupid party'

By Tom Maertens
September 18, 2016

Governor Bobby Jindal famously said that his party, the Republican Party, had to stop being the stupid party.

They have a long way to go.

In late 2010, ninety-four of one hundred newly elected Republican members of Congress denied that global warming was happening.

Congressman John Shimkus (R-IL), chairman of the House Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy, is one. He waved a Bible during a congressional hearing on climate change and declared that “the earth will end only when God says it’s time to be over. Man will not destroy this Earth, this Earth will not end in a flood.”

Senator James Inhofe, chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, claims that global warming is one of the greatest hoaxes ever perpetrated.

Other Republican anti-science spokesmen include such bright lights as Congressman Paul Broun, a physician who served on the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee. He told a luncheon crowd that “All that stuff that I was taught about evolution and embryology, big bang theory, all that, is lies straight from the pit of hell.”

Shawn Otto (The War on Science) has written that, as far back as 2008, it had become doubtful whether a Republican candidate for president could get the party’s endorsement without taking a stridently anti-science position. Yet science is responsible for half of all US economic growth since WWII, writes Otto, and scientific advancements are the only way we can support the world’s growing population.

“Over the next forty years, science is poised to create more knowledge than humans have created in all of human history” -- but not if Republicans have their way.

A 2015 Public Policy Polling survey found that almost half of Republicans don't believe in evolution, the foundation of modern biological sciences. But there is no controversy among scientists about evolution.

In the Republican playbook, however, global warming and evolution are junk science, but “creationism” -- religion --should be taught in public schools. A Public Policy Polling (PPP) national survey conducted in 2015 found that 57 percent of Republicans want to dismantle the Constitution and establish Christianity as the official national religion despite a clear Constitutional prohibition that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”

Another canon of today’s Republican Party is that the other side rigs elections. According to a recent Gallup poll, 52% of Republicans think vote fraud is a major problem; 71% of Trump voters said that if Clinton wins the election it will be because it was rigged. A PPP survey in Texas found that 40% of Trump supporters believe ACORN will steal the upcoming election. News flash: ACORN went out of business six years ago.

In fact, a person is more likely to get struck by lightning than encounter in-person vote fraud. For example, Texas prosecuted only three people for in-person vote fraud between 2002 and 2014 – three persons out of 54 million votes cast in that time period.

The real vote rigging has been carried out by Republican administrations in a dozen red states that passed voter suppression laws which – as a three-judge federal appeals panel ruled in striking down a North Carolina law -- targeted “African Americans with almost surgical precision.”

The court’s opinion said that “because of race, the legislature enacted one of the largest restrictions of the franchise in modern North Carolina history … that North Carolina GOP leaders launched a meticulous and coordinated effort to deter black voters, who overwhelmingly vote for Democrats.”

Federal courts have struck down similar voting restrictions in Texas, Wisconsin, Kansas and North Dakota.

Anti-black voting restrictions are not just a series of coincidences in a dozen red states controlled by Republicans; the Republican Party has employed dog-whistle racism for decades, starting with Nixon’s Southern Strategy. It’s not a coincidence either that nearly four in ten Trump supporters in South Carolina told The Hill they wish the South had won the Civil War.

According to Simon Jackman of the University of Sydney, “Whites who reported prejudicial beliefs about blacks skewed heavily Republican in 2008 and 2012 — and they will in 2016.” Similarly, research by the Washington Post found that Trump does best among Americans who express racial hostility.

According to a NBC News|SurveyMonkey poll conducted in late June and early July of more than 1,700 registered voters,"Seventy-two percent of registered Republican voters still doubt President Obama's citizenship.” And this skepticism even exists among Republicans high in political knowledge."

Those people have given us a bigoted, caterwauling egomaniac who wants to make America Great Again by expelling brown-skinned people, and turning the clock back to Top of Form some mythical “good old days” when there were no government prohibitions on discrimination against women and minorities.

Republicans obviously didn’t listen to Bobby Jindal.

This article also published in the Mankato Free Press.

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