Monday, September 14, 2015

MY POLITICAL PROPHECY...

ADDENDUM: I'VE HAD TO CHANGE MY MIND. Please read this, but pay closer attention to my note at the end. Thanks!

I FORESEE A STORM, a racial storm, on the Right in the next few months...but I do not believe that is necessarily good news for those of us who lean more leftward.

I don't think that it'd ever even occurred to me that someone like Donald Trump could possibly be endorsed by Evangelicals, but that's exactly the impression I got from watching a recent interview with the senior pastor of the very large, extremely conservative First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas. Dr. Jeffress, that pastor, stopped a millimeter short of endorsing The Donald as he explained why so many Evangelicals are comfortable in supporting that man. Now, while the reasons he gave may all be valid, I don't think they're the main reason why they're supporting him enthusiastically; but I don't think this is the time or place to get into that. Let's just say that I was surprised to see such a prominent evangelical as Dr. Jeffries publicly almost endorse a person such as Trump, who --- while nominally Presbyterian --- rarely, if ever, prattles on and on about his being "born-again," or his "relationship with Christ," or all of those things that people from that camp usually go on and on about. He says things that do resonate with them --- very politically incorrect things --- but not about his faith. But he can shore that up by having someone iike Cruz or Huckabee publicly support him --- as I'm sure they will. I suspect, though, that that may not be enough to get The Donald the GOP nomination next year. Lordy, I hope not. As a believer, I'll even say that I pray not.

On the Republican side, I see Jeb Bush heading the ticket --- and I wouldn't be completely uncomfortable with that, for several reason, not the least of which is that he comes from what is, in fact, a rather moderate Republican family. I'm not going back to the clearly antisemitic Prescott, but Jeb's parents and immediate family have taken stands which were, really, much more moderate than those either he or his older brother, "W," could have taken publicly --- especially, in Texas and Florida, of all places.

But the lingering suspicion that Jeb isn't a real (read: fanatically evangelical, hard-core on everything) conservative would push him to name one of those people as his running mate. For a long time, I felt that would or could be Mia Love. While she's black and female (both of which seem to be plusses in today's political climate), she's also politically and socially conservative, and that could help Jeb where the southern and midwestern conservatives might see him lacking. Of course, Mrs. Love had (and has) one big --- no, one huge  --- political liability: Her political and social conservatism stems from the fact that she's a (gasp!) Mormon. Now, we saw with Mitt that the LDS religion doesn't have to be a deal-killer, but still...

Then, along came Someone Else on his white horse or silver platter, or whatever: Dr. Ben Carson. He's just as politically and socially conservative as Mia Love; he's a retired medical doctor who strongly opposes the ACA (aka "ObamaCare"); and --- he's black. While his Seventh-day Adventist faith (about which he speaks openly and often; well, his faith, anyway, if not his specific religion) may not be exactly in the American Christian mainstream, it's certainly not as "far-out" as Mia Love's LDS faith. SO: He's made-to-order.

Let's remember: Most of the prominent black televangelists and pastors of predominantly-black negachurches are conservative Republicans. They kind of sat on their hands during the relatively liberal Obama years ("we've gotta stick together; we can't bad-mouth the brother"), but if Carson gets the vice-presidential nod, they can take off the gloves and go full-blast. And they will. The Church is still an extremely powerful force in black communities, so when the pastors start supporting politicians who do not embrace such ideas as same-sex marriage, they can enthusiastically follow. And they will.

Which does not necessarily bode well for the Republican Party. While I can see a strong push among White conservatives for something like a Trump/Cruz ticket, I can see Black conservatives pushing for a Bush/Carson team to be nominated. And when the fact that Bush's mother had been a member of the board of directors or trustees of a historically black university for many years is publicized (as it will be when the drive to attract more blacks shifts into high gear), well...I think that Bush/Carson will be the ticket.

So I do see a sharp racial divide coming down the pike in the Republican Party. White and very conservative Republicans will push for a Trump/Cruz ticket, while black and other more politically (but not socially) moderate Republicans will insist that a Bush/Carson ticket will be more electable. I happen to believe that the latter is true.

But that will not necessarily be a good thing for liberals and Democrats. Traditionally, those on the Right have been more predictably and reliably active as voters, while many on the Left are very active and loud complainers. Watching the shenanigans in the GOP will lull all too many more liberal Americans into a state of inertia. Of laziness. Sure, while there will be many Republicans who simply won't vote at all because the ticket they favored wasn't nominated, but that does not mean that every Democratic vote isn't needed. We Democrats, we liberals, need Every...Single...One. We should all remember --- every one of us liberals who doesn't vote has by that very inaction cast a vote for the candidate or issue favored by the conservatives. Is that what we want to do? Do we want to usher in a Republican era? Do we want to allow someone who is beholden to the Far Right theocrats to be in a position to name a whole generation of federal judges, and at least one or two justices of the Supreme Court? Let's remember how many really crucial decisions before the Supreme Court have been decided in a 5/4 split; just ONE more on the Other Side....

Starting now, we must resolve to support the liberal candidate we prefer --- and each of us should do all in his or her power to get at least three fence-straddlers, conservatives, or libertarians, to vote for whoever is the more liberal Democratic candidate come November, 2016. We --- we Americans --- have got too much to lose otherwise.

Added note: Someone --- Abraham Lincoln or Mark Twain or one of those dudes --- once said something to the effect that it's better to stay silent and be thought to be stupid than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt. Well, we've seen how true that is with one of the Supreme Court Justices; now, I think we're starting to see something similar with a leading candidate for the Republican nomination for POTUS. That guy is speaking up more and more, but he's just proving more and more clearly and idiotic he really is. Is that what we want as a {resident or even as a Vice-President of the United States?

Democrats, progressives, liberals --- VOTE!