For decades Republicans have marketed themselves as the party of freedom. During the 1990s and early 2000s, conservative activists took up the description of the GOP coined by the anti-tax activist Grover Norquist as the “leave us alone” coalition, so named because it consisted of voters whose stated aspiration was to live without government interference. At the height of the coronavirus pandemic, Republican governors led by Ron DeSantis in Florida gravitated toward unbending opposition to business and school shutdowns, as well as to mask or vaccine requirements, often overriding Democratic-run local governments that tried to impose them.
“While so many around the country have consigned the people’s rights to the graveyard,” DeSantis said in his annual State of the State address earlier this year, “Florida has stood as freedom’s vanguard.” (The Atlantic Ron Brownstein)
But the actions of the Republicans speak louder than their words. The Republican Party has become the party of repression and autocracy and is NOT leaving us alone to live safe, productive lives. Hardly the party of freedom.
- How is it freedom to be forced to give birth against your will?
- How is it freedom for a child to be afraid to go to school and risk being killed in massacre at the hands of a gunman with an AR-15?
- How is it freedom to be hounded for being homosexual or Jewish or some other subgroup or skin color?
- How is it freedom when your government tells you what you can and can’t read ?
- The Republican Party has lost its way. Vote them out.
FREEDOM NOT to be FORCED to give BIRTH AGAINST YOUR WILL
The rights of women to make decisions about their own bodies is being assaulted. Mifepristone, one of two medications that work together to safely end an early pregnancy, is currently used by 50 % of women in America. Women who miscarry need to have access to this medication. Miscarriage is fairly common.
As many as 30 percent of pregnancies end in miscarriage, the spontaneous demise of a fetus, commonly because of chromosomal abnormalities. The methods of managing a miscarriage are the same as for abortion, using a combination of drugs — mifepristone and misoprostol — or a brief surgery known as dilation and curettage, or D&C, to dilate the cervix and scrape tissue from the uterus. Left untreated, some miscarriages resolve naturally; others lead to complications such as infection or profuse bleeding.
Judge Kacsmaryk, a radical rightwing judge in Texas, has decided that in his opinion mifepristone isn’t “safe”. His claim that this is a safety issue is bogus. This medication has been proven to be safe in over 23 years of use in this country and in Europe. The truth is he is ruling this way because he wants to stop women from having the right to abortion. He created his own version of safety rules and is trying to impose them on the FDA. Why should he be allowed to tell the FDA what is or is not a safe medication? He is a judge not a doctor or a researcher. He is also a known religious zealot, a biased right wing judge. This man has no business preventing all women in America from accessing a perfectly safe medication because he doesn’t like the idea of abortion. His decision exposes women to potential loss of life because physicians could be kept from prescribing mifepristone thanks to his ruling.
The judge based his decision on misinformation and religious right talking points that are not grounded in fact. In his opinion Kacsmaryk quotes from anonymous sources that use religious anti-choice talking points not based in science. Kacsmaryk is not really interested in safety. What his ruling will do is force women who want to get an abortion to use only the second of the two pills, misoprostol, to end pregnancy. That is a less safe way to abort not a safer way to abort. But of course the real goal here is to force women in our country not to abort. Ever. The goal is to force women to give birth. That is the shared goal of the religious right and the current Republican Party.
How is that more freedom? The Republican Party claims to be all about getting Americans more freedom. This is less freedom. Not only less freedom for women but also for the men they are in relationships with or married to. Less freedom to plan your life and plan for a child you want to have and would welcome instead of resenting. Less freedom for the children who are brought into a world where they are not wanted.
Americans want to have the right to abortion.
Gallup polls show Americans’ support for abortion in all or most cases at 85% as of May 2022 (Gallup)
Only 25% of voters want a ban on abortion. (Gallup).
When it comes to a general election, abortion bans are a losing issue for Republicans and a gift to Democrats. But only if the majority votes out Republicans.
FLORIDA GOVERNOR ENDANGERS FLORIDIAN WOMEN
Florida governor, Ron De Santis, hoping to prove up his right wing bona fides to appease the base, just signed into law a 6 week abortion ban. It doesn’t take effect immediately. Whether and when will depend on the resolution of a case being fought now in state court about the 15 week abortion ban currently in effect in Florida. At 6 weeks many women and girls do not even know they are pregnant yet. This is again part of the religious right wing playbook to force women and girls to have babies against their will. I believe De Santis just ended his chances to become president by signing that 6 week abortion ban into law in Florida.
The reason this will eventually torpedo De Santis’ chances in the general election if De Santis is the Republican nominee, is that Gen Z, Millennials, women in the suburbs, both Democrats and Republicans (who are some of the last swing voters left on the electoral map) are going to show up and vote against him like their lives depend on it. Because their lives do depend on it. We have seen this movie before. Judge Janet was elected in a landslide in Wisconsin because the general election voters reject this religious right ideology of forcing women to give birth against their will.
Donald Trump gets it that the religious right is leading the Republican Party off a cliff when it comes to abortion. Trump also understands the backlash that is coming as a result of this extreme ideology being pushed by the rabid right. Republicans don’t have to agree with this extreme position but they are agreeing to adopt it.
Republicans are mindlessly caving to the pressure from a religious right base that shows up to vote in primaries and is demanding their religious ideology be adopted by Republicans. This is NOT what Americans want. But Republicans are not listening to what Americans want. They are listening to what the extreme religious right wants.
THE FREEDOM TO BE SAFE IN AMERICA
Ar-15s are weapons of war and Republicans are all in on having more of them on the streets of America. In southern states like Florida, De Santis just quietly signed a bill allowing people to carry these weapons and other guns without a permit or any training. How is it that you cannot drive a car without passing a test and eye exam to get a drivers license but you can carry something far more dangerous without any oversight whatsoever?
New polling shows how much Americans want common sense gun laws.
- Gun violence ranks among the top three issues that Americans feel Congress should focus on.
- Seventy-four percent of Americans think gun violence is a “major issue” or “crisis,” up from 66% in mid-February.
- Two in three Americans don’t think enough has been done to address gun violence.
- The overwhelming majority (87%) support background checks, including the majority of Republicans, Independents, and gun owners.
Here again, the Republicans are not listening to the will of the voters.
FREEDOM TO BE WHO WE ARE WITHOUT BEING ATTACKED
If you are black, Asian, gay, trans, brown, or a woman you should not be attacked for that. People deserve to be treated fairly and not attacked for something that is part of their DNA. If you are Jewish or have another faith, you should not be hounded in the state where you live because of that. This is a basic right if you live in a democracy. But Republicans like Ron De Santis and others are coming up with “Don’t Say Gay” laws and bathroom bills that target trans people. Enough! This is ugly and stupid. Why do people like De Santis care more about who can access a bathroom instead of who can access an AR-15?
FREEDOM IS GETTING TO READ WHAT YOU WANT TO READ
Why are you freer when your government can tell you what you can and cannot read? How does that make you smarter or wiser? Or your children for that matter? Why shouldn’t everyone get to read what they want so they can learn more? Hitler’s Germany banned books and burned them too. We need to be better than Hitler’s Germany. If your child reads something you are concerned about, then have a conversation about it. Banning books only makes them more desirable and exciting to the next generation anyhow.
DEMOCRACY NOT AUTOCRACY
Millennials and Gen Z don’t buy Republican ideology. They are likely to be motivated to show up to vote like never before thanks to the extreme laws and extreme positions Republicans are taking.
The coming generational backlash against Donald Trump may represent only the first tremor in a much larger earthquake threatening the GOP through the 2020s.
Trump is eroding the Republican Party’s position with younger voters at precisely the same time as the massively diverse Millennials and Generation Z are poised to become the largest voting bloc in the electorate, as new research released this week shows.
That prospect presents both a near- and long-term danger for the GOP. The immediate problem is that polls nationally and in key swing states show Joe Biden positioned to significantly expand on Hillary Clinton’s margin among younger voters, even as many more of them are signaling they intend to vote than did in 2016.
“There’s a consistent picture coming together that says we’re going to have the highest youth turnout since 2008, and maybe since 1992,” Ben Wessel, the executive director of NextGen America, a group working to mobilize younger voters for Democrats, told me. “And they are rebuking Trump and the Republicans in a way we haven’t seen since the 2008 presidential” race. (The Atlantic)
That trend is going to continue and become more pronounced as Gen Z reaches voting age in 2028.
GETTING OUT THE VOTE FOR DEMOCRATS IS THE KEY TO MAINTAINING OUR FREEDOM IN AMERICA
If the Democrats can get out the vote in 2024 our country will have a fighting chance to reclaim ourselves from the overreach of what has become a too extreme Republican Party that no longer protects our freedoms. To get the legislation Americans want, we need to flip as many state legislatures from red to purple and purple to blue as possible. In the Senate we need to get to 60 Democrats to invoke cloture which would allow the passage of truly progressive legislation. 60 might be impossible in this country right now but someday that would open the door to real change. In the House we need to reclaim the majority. And we need to make sure Biden and his team continues in the White House.
The way to make this happen is to engage in relational canvassing (volunteers from the neighborhood going door to door in person, creating a relationship with independents and persuadable voters by asking them what they care about and helping them understand which party will get them what they want) in every district of every state in America. That is part of the secret sauce of success. It’s what worked in Wisconsin with Judge Janet, for example. Once voters understand who and what they are voting for, the persuadable majority will vote for Democrats because Americans want what the Dems are offering.
We don’t want to be told what we can and cannot do with our uteruses. What a woman does with her private life and private parts is PRIVATE. Having a baby is a personal decision no elected official should have control over.
Government is supposed to keep us safe. If state legislatures cannot figure out how to pass laws that prevent angry, crazy people from getting AR-15s and shooting up elementary schools, churches, banks and shopping centers, then those elected officials need to go. We need common sense gun safety laws in every state. Without that we are not free to live our lives in America.
Government shouldn’t tell us what we can and cannot read.
Government should not hound us for being who we are.
Until Republicans learn they are too extreme for America they will continue to be too extreme. They haven’t learned that lesson yet. Vote them out.