Why the Religious Right’s Love for the Donald Makes Total Sense

The religious right was formed to protect segregation, so it’s no surprise they’re drawn to Donald Trump.

Source:AlterNet

Author: Amanda Marcotte/Salon

Emphasis Mine

Donald Trump’s triumphant performance in the Nevada caucus, “a testament to his broad appeal among Republican primary voters” as Salon’s Sean Illing writes,  is causing another round of media handwringing about how the giant orange circus clown can possibly be doing so well. Of special interest is why Trump, who has been married three times and likes to brag about how many sex partners he’s had, is doing so well with evangelical voters, who vote for him at about the same rate as other Republicans.

One theory is that they are generically “angry,”  like all other Republicans, and that makes them willing to overlook his many flaws.

Or perhaps it’s because they are forgiving, as Ralph Reed told Lauren Fox of Talking Points Memo. “Evangelicals have a long history of accepting converts to the pro-life and pro family cause at their word,” Reed argued.

But really, this evangelical fervor for Trump isn’t all that surprising when you consider the history of the religious right in this country, a history which suggests these voters are less motivated by faith than they are motivated by conservative ideology. “Jesus” is just the word they apply to their beliefs to make otherwise repulsive reactionary politics seem moral and righteous. Evangelical voting behavior makes way more sense if you assume the politic views come first and the Bible is just the rationalization for them.

Trump’s campaign motto is “Make America Great Again!”, which ties into his campaign theme of a country that’s lost its way and needs to be returned to some halcyon days of yore. What that means is pleasantly vague enough for pundits to project all sorts of narratives onto it, but I would venture that the simplest interpretation is probably the one resonating with the voters: This used to be the sort of country that would never elect a black man (or a woman) to the White House, and Trump is going to get us back to those days again.

His pitch is convincing because he’s successfully painted the rest of the GOP as people are too cowed by the forces of “political correctness” to say what really needs to be said, which is evident to voters in the other candidates’ relative unwillingness (with an eye towards the general election) to race-bait as blatantly as Trump does.

That this racially provocative narrative appeals to evangelicals shouldn’t be surprising, because this particular narrative has always been the motivating, indeed formative narrative of the religious right. It’s forgotten all too often, but the religious right as we know it formed in the South as a direct reaction to the civil rights movement, and its purpose was to use “Jesus” as a cover story to resist desegregation. In 2014, historian Randall Balmer published a Politico article on this quickly fading but critically important history, where he laid out how much of the infrastructure of the religious right was established by racists who were trying to preserve segregation.

As Balmer explains, after Brown v Board of Education, huge swaths of the South reinstated segregation by creating an elaborate private school system, which were deemed “segregation academies.” Jerry Falwell got his start as a religious right leader founding and defending such schools.

But in 1971, the federal government ruled that private non-profit schools could not maintain a tax-exempt status if they banned black students, and the organized efforts to resist this, by using religion as a justification to resist race-mixing, turned into what we now understand as the modern religious right.

To be clear, the religious right was swift in turning away from overt racism to overt sexism as its defining feature, first by fighting the Equal Rights Amendment that would ban sex discrimination and then waging the war on legal abortion, sex ed, and contraception access. But the disappearance of overt claims that Jesus disapproves of race-mixing shouldn’t be mistaken for a total abandonment of white resentment as an organizing force for the Christian right.

Ronald Reagan gets a lot of credit, for understandable reasons, for helping shape the religious right into a definable and powerful Republican voting bloc. He did this in part by feeding them the anti-feminist rhetoric they wanted to hear, but he also did it by pumping out an endless stream of race-baiting that fed directly into the political style of the religious right, which leans heavily on urban legends and rejects empirical evidence.

Reagan loved to thrill his racist audiences by telling tales of a “welfare queen” who bought a Cadillac off welfare or the “strapping young buck” buying T-bones with food stamps. He argued that the Voting Rights Act was “humiliating to the South” and opposed the Civil Rights Act. He kicked off his 1980 campaign in a town where civil rights workers had famously been murdered, and his speech focused on his support for those resisting desegregation. And he won the religious right’s vote, despite being a former movie star and the first (and so far only) divorced President.

Sounds an awful lot like the current front-runner of the Republican race, a man who enjoys tickling his audience with racially loaded urban legends and bigoted insinuations, and whose past as a decadent tabloid fixture and TV star doesn’t seem to ruffle religious right feathers, so long as he keeps the bigoted rhetoric coming.

And yes, while Trump’s history on reproductive rights suggests he’s not as opposed to them as the other candidates, it’s also true that his misogyny is unquestionable. The sad fact of the matter is that he doesn’t have to be against reproductive rights to prove his disdain for female independence, because contempt for women drips off him.

There’s been a lot of attention paid to the fact that Trump won the Latino vote at the Nevada caucus, but don’t believe the hype. Only 8% of the voters who turned out to the Republican caucus were Hispanic, compared to 19% in the Democratic caucus. Eighty-five percent of Republican voters in Nevada were white, compared to 59% of Democratic voters. If you want to understand Republican voters and why they thrill at Trump’s wink-and-nod race-baiting over the stylings of men named Marco Rubio and Rafael “Ted” Cruz, that might be the simplest answer. Yes, even for the ones who like to talk about how much they love Jesus, who they, after all, invariably portray as a white man.

Amanda Marcotte is a politics writer for Salon. She’s on Twitter @AmandaMarcotte. 

 

See:http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/why-religious-rights-love-donald-makes-total-sense?utm_source=Amanda+Marcotte%27s+Subscribers&utm_campaign=395339125c-RSS_AUTHOR_EMAIL&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_f2b9a8ae81-395339125c-79824733

 

 

Anti-Abortion One-Upsmanship Will Haunt Republicans in the Election

They’re handing the future Democratic nominee a mighty large sword to wield against them in the general election.

Source: The Guardian, via AlterNet

Author: Jessica Valenti

Emphasis Mine

If 2012 was the year of Republican men saying stupid things – from “legitimate rape” to pregnancy from rape being something “God intended”this must be the year of Republican men simply being stupid. There’s no other way to account for the complete meltdown that the party’s presidential hopefuls are having over abortion, racing to the right in a short-sighted effort to win the nomination while leaving themselves high and dry for the general election.

Marco Rubio, who supported a bill in 2013 that included exceptions for rape and incest, flat-out denied as much during the Republican debate earlier this month, saying, “I have never advocated that.” Later, when caught in his lie,Rubio said he only supported the bill because “it prevents abortions” and doubled down on his extreme position: “While I think [pregnancy from rape and incest] are horrifying…I personally believe you do not correct one tragedy with a second tragedy.”

When Ben Carson was asked if he supported rape and incest exceptions,Slate writer Amanda Marcotte pointed out that he claimed exceptions aren’t really necessary because women can just stop the pregnancy before it starts: “I would hope that they would very quickly avail themselves of [an] emergency room, and in the emergency room, they have the ability to administer, you know, RU-486, other possibilities, before you have a developing fetus.” Leaving aside the fact that not all rape victims are able to get to an emergency room – especially if the rapist is a family member – RU-486 is not the morning-after pill; it’s an abortion-inducing pill you take to end an established pregnancy. Perhaps a doctor should know this?

Scott Walker says that women don’t really ever need abortions to save their lives, and Mike Huckabee – the gift who keeps on gaffing – is out there actually arguing that 10-year-old rape victims should be forced to give birth. Have you ever met a 10-year-old girl, Mr Huckabee?

As I find myself (almost) speechless in response to all of these men, I think Sen. Elizabeth Warren said it best: “Did you fall down, hit your head and think you woke up in the 1950s or the 1890s? Should we call for a doctor?”

Republicans vying for their party’s endorsement seem to forget that women’s votes exist. And that while this anti-choice posturing may be beneficial in the primaries, they are handing Hillary Clinton – or whoever the Democratic nominee may be – a mighty large sword to wield against them in the general election.

Jess McIntosh, vice president of communications at EMILY’s List, told me, “They’re so extreme it almost forecloses the possibility of a campaign. No persuadable voters want to hear about your plan to force raped children to give birth. It sounds as monstrous as it is.”

“And how do you argue about parental consent, when if you had your way the wishes of the parents would be meaningless?” she continued, “since every accidental teen and pre-teen pregnancy would be forced to result in birth?”

The GOP contenders are ignoring the fact that one in three American women will have an abortion and that 95% of them will not regret it. Do they think those women will be voting for the candidate who would try to have that decision taken away?

It’s well-established that extreme positions against abortion simply don’t fly with American voters. Measures to give zygotes personhood rights have failed again and again, the majority of Americans don’t want to see Roe v Wade overturned, and most people believe in abortion exceptions. Jocelyn Kiley, associate director at the Pew Research Center, told me that about 75% of Americans believe abortions should be possible in the case of rape. “For and health and life exceptions,” she says, “there’s a broad majority of more than 80%.”

 

Jessica Valenti is a daily columnist for the Guardian US. She is the author of four books on feminism, politics and culture, and founder of Feministing.com

See: http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/anti-abortion-one-upsmanship-will-haunt-republicans-election?akid=13398.123424.Hd8xrT&rd=1&src=newsletter1041176&t=10

The GOP’s First 2016 Debate Showcases Its Right-Wingers and True Crazies

Fox News shows the nation how nuts the GOP has become.

Source: AlterNet

Author: Steven Rosenfeld

Emphasis Mine 

The Republican Party’s first official debate of the 2016 presidential election showed the GOP’s leading candidates as not just all hard right-wingers, but different shades of crazy.

There was Donald Trump, who will doubtless draw the most press attention by declaring right off the bat that if he is not the nominee, he would seriously considering running as an independent—which, as Fox News’ debate moderator Bret Baier said, “would almost certainly hand over the race to Democrats and likely another Clinton.”

That brought boos from the crowd and a spontaneous attack by Sen. Rand Paul, who blared, “This is what’s wrong. He buys and sells politicans.” To which, Trump replied, “ Well, I’ve given him [Paul] plenty of money.”

That feisty spree set the tone for much of the next two hours. Trump would go on to explain that, of course, he spends money to buy politicans’ attention, and failed to see anything at all wrong with that. When asked what he got in return from Hillary Clinton, he said that she came to his latest wedding. But beyond political gossip like that—or saying he was tired of being criticized for being politically incorrect after crude and sexist statements about women—the Fox News debate made it clear that most of the GOP’s leading candidates roughly fell into two right-wing camps: truly crazed extremists (Donald Trump, Rand Paul, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee) or blandly presentable right-wingers, whose agenda is still remarkably out-of-synch with mainstream America (Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Marco Rubio, John Kasich, Chris Christie).

The blander crazies are probably the more dangerous crew, because even though their policies are very far to the right—anti-abortion, anti-gay rights, anti-tax, anti-immigrant, anti-government, anti-science—they will be portrayed by mainstream media as moderates. Take reproductive rights, just an example.

Bush answered a question about being on the board of ex-New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s foundation, which has supported Planned Parenthood, by saying that his record as governor was to lead the country in restricting abortions, passing parental notification laws, outlawing late-term abortions, and being first in the nation to have pro-life license places. That was the quote-unquote, moderate response, when compared to Mike Huckabee, who said that the next president must declare that the Constitution’s 5th and 14th amendments protects the rights of the unborn “from the moment of conception.” Speaking of the Roe v. Wade ruling legalizing abortion rights, he said, “It’s time that we recognize that the Supreme Court is not the supreme being.”

Other social issues followed the same arc. Early in the debate, one Fox moderator pressed Ohio Gov. John Kasich for being a litte too much like St. Peter because he expanded his state’s Medicaid program under Obamacare, which Kasich defended. But when asked about same-sex marriage, he replied, “If one of my daughters happened to be that…” Kasich quickly followed up by saying, he’d love his daughters unconditionally, but such exchanges showed just how immoderate the GOP’s supposed moderates are.

The more serious exchanges were interrupted by moments that were astounding political theatre, such as Trump sparring with Fox News’ Megyn Kelly who said, “You’ve called women you don’t like ‘fat pigs, dogs, slobs, and disgusting animals…’ Does that sound to you like the temperament of a man we should elect as president?” Trump began his reply, saying, “I think the big problem this country has is being politically correct… I frankly don’t have time for total political correctness. And to be honest with you, this country doesn’t have time either. This country is in big trouble.”

Exchanges like that quickly ended and were followed by other zany questions, such as asking Ted Cruz why he recently called Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell a liar? To which, Cruz replied, because he was one—and the country needed politicians who spoke the truth. “As Republicans, we keep winning elections. We have a Republican House. We have a Republican Senate, and we don’t have leaders who honor their commitments. I will always tell the truth and do what I said I would do.”

When it came to specifics of what the candidates would do, the template was roughly the same. The plan is to cut taxes and regulations to promote economic growth, build up the military—including sending troops overseas fight a new ground war with ISIS, and saying that this strategy worked for Ronald Reagan and would surely work again. Of course, there were small differences. On immigration, everyone objected to amensty for the undocumented already in America, but some—such as Jeb Bush—said a pathway to legalized status was needed, especially to ensure economic growth. Others were less charitable. Trump, of course, said a new border wall needed to be built—but with a large door in it for those following a legal process to enter.

The debate did showcase the candidates’ political skills and that might shake up their ranking in the polls. Chris Christie had a good night, feistily dismissing questions about New Jersey’s lagging economy under his watch—it was worse before he got there, he said—and eagerly attacking Rand Paul for his opposition to NSA spying on Americans. Marco Rubio, who has the best smile of anyone on the stage, didn’t say anything that was truly cringe-worthy, even though he was fervently pro-life and almost libertarian on federal oversight—on the environment and education. John Kasich appeared almost grandfatherly on stage, projecting himself as a seasoned hand on budget and national security issues. And Jeb Bush, when pressed on being the heir to a political dynasty, replied he had a higher bar to prove himself with voters, which came across as both insecure and honest. In contrast, Scott Walker, who didn’t make any mistakes, came across with answers that seemed a bit too canned—practiced and unengaging.

The crazies, however, may have won the night’s battle but set themselves back in the longer war. Trump clearly distinghished himself as someone who really doesn’t care what people think about him—he’s a businessman who will do whatever it takes. The other outlying ideologues—Cruz, Huckabee, Carson, Paul—all seem to be in narrower silos where their followers will love what they said, and how they said it, but they’re less likely to break through to a larger base.

You can be sure that the Republican Party will declare their first debate a great success. Millions of people watched. They saw candidates up close and personal. Their remarks will surely shake up the race. And, to be sure, the night will also be seen by Democrats as pure political manna from heaven—because the modern GOP was on display in vivid color, and because it is not a party of mere establishment right-wingers, but also out-and-out crazies running for the presidency.  

Steven Rosenfeld covers national political issues for AlterNet, including America’s retirement crisis, democracy and voting rights, and campaigns and elections. He is the author of “Count My Vote: A Citizen’s Guide to Voting” (AlterNet Books, 2008).

See: http://www.alternet.org/election-2016/gops-first-2016-debate-showcases-its-right-wingers-and-true-crazies?akid=13363.123424.-8l4Ir&rd=1&src=newsletter1040551&t=1

Poll:70% of Voters Say Government Should Not Restrict Abortion Access

Source: National Partnership

Emphasis Mine

August 18, 2014 — Almost 70% of registered voters say the government should not limit access to abortion, according to a new poll from NARAL Pro-Choice America, Politico Pro reports.

The poll marks the first time NARAL asked respondents to distinguish between the morality and legality of abortion, an approach that allows respondents to voice personal objections to abortion but still support access to it. The poll did not include questions about restricting abortion based on the stage of pregnancy or other factors.

Greenberg Quinlan Rosner pollster Drew Lieberman said polls that do not make the distinction between morality and legality force people “into artificial categories.” He added, “Almost half the population is in the gray area” of having moral objections to abortion while supporting legal access, which is a “pro-choice position.”

Key Findings

For the poll, GQR researchers surveyed 800 registered voters.

The poll found that 23% of respondents believe abortion is “morally acceptable and should be legal,” while 45% said they are personally against it but believe the government should not restrict access to it. About 25% of respondents said abortion should be illegal.

In addition, the poll found that the majority of Democrats, Republicans and independents do not support government restrictions on abortion. Specifically, 84% of Democrats said the government should not limit access, while 53% of Republicans and 66% of independents said the same.

NARAL: Poll Shows Disconnect Among Lawmakers

NARAL Political Director Erika West said the poll’s findings show that elected officials are not representing voters’ views. Only four in 10 representatives in the House fit NARAL’s definition of abortion-rights supporters, she noted.

“People ask why are we losing ground on reproductive freedom, and it’s because our elected representatives don’t represent our values,” she said (Haberkorn, Politico Pro, 8/18).

See: http://go.nationalpartnership.org/site/News2?abbr=daily2_&page=NewsArticle&id=45376

The Brownshirts are back – where is HUAC when we need it?

insurance industry funded fascism.

Perhaps HUAC should come back and investigate these folks…

Insurance industry funded fascism, from Frank Schaeffer, alternet: ” The Republican Old Guard are in the fix an atheist would be in if Jesus showed up and raised his mother from the dead: Their world view has just been shattered. Obama’s election has driven them over the edge. Consider Former Congressman Dick Armey. Several far right foundations and the multitrillion dollar health-insurance industry have teamed up with him  to organize the far right foot soldiers of the Republican Party to  intimidate people speaking on behalf of health-care reform.  They are using my old shock troops — given many of these folks were first energized by the Evangelical pro-life movement that my late father and I started in the 1970s. What we did to clinics they are now doing to congressmen and others speaking out for health care reform.

Having failed at the ballot box, having watched their Fox News-organized “tea parties” fizzle the intimidation tactics which the Republicans have embraced are being used in a well-financed, top-down orchestrated fake grass roots campaign by corporate interests to try and protect  the profits of the insurance business. Armey’s FreedomWorks is  organizing against health care reform. Armey’s lobbying firm represents pharmaceutical companies including Bristol-Myers Squibb. Armey’s lobbying firm also represents the trade group for the life insurance industry.  FreedomWorks is supporting the status quo at all costs. (They are also fans of fossil fuels. Armey’s lobbying firm represents Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Prime Minister of the UAE, on energy related issues.)…I think I know what happened to him, Gingrich and the rest: They can’t compute that their white man-led conservative revolution is dead. They can’t reconcile their idea of themselves with the fact that white men like them don’t run the country any more — and never will again. To them the black president is leading a column of the “other” into their promised land. Gays, immigrants, blacks, progressives, even a female Hispanic appointed to the Supreme Court… for them this is the Apocalypse.

The last presidential election (to paraphrase Bart Simpson)  “broke their brains.” What else could explain their embrace of intimidation — rather than discourse — over the health care debate and such unsavory moments of madness as the Republicans accusing Obama and Judge Sonia Sotomayor of racism, knowing full well that they’d just destroyed their chances with the Hispanic community forever?…Dick Army and company have been driven mad by their reversal, not just of political fortunes but of seeing that they’ve wasted their lives. They now know they were wrong: about the country, the free market, war for fun and profit, and what the American people really want. They made their best case and were rejected by the American people —  and by history. Bush was their man and he turned out to be a fool. So now all the the Republican gurus have left is what the defeated Germans of World War Two had: a scorched earth policy. If they can’t win then everyone must go down. Obama must fail! The country must fail!…A barrage of outright lies, wherein the Democrats are being accused of wanting to launch a massive euthanasia program against the elderly, free abortions for everyone, and “a government takeover” of health-care is now being combined with physical intimidation that in several cases has required police escorts to protect pro health-care reform speakers… It’s time that this whole shabby (and insane) business be exposed, vilified in run out of town on a rail by whatever responsible Republicans — if any — that are still in the party and who want to see the fortunes of their party revived. Republican leaders taking insurance industry money via lobbying firms and using it to organize what amounts to roving bands of thugs not only need to be exposed but thrown out of the public debate forever.  They should become absolute pariahs.

It’s time to give this garbage in name: insurance industry funded fascism.

N.B.: Frank Schaeffer – and his father Francis – was a right wing “pro life”zealot”.

Emphasis mine.

see: http://www.alternet.org/healthwellness/141833/right-wing_turncoat_gives_the_inside_scoop_on_why_conservatives_are_rampaging_town_halls/