By Prof. Steven Harper | 12 May 2023
If you vote for a Republican, you’re selecting someone who—once elected—is unlikely to support your views on the issues that matter to you most. Instead, here’s what you’re choosing:
The vast majority of Americans favor simple and effective gun control measures. They want:
- universal background checks and “red flag” laws that would alert law enforcement to gun owners with serious mental health issues;
- a national database for gun ownership;
- laws requiring gun owners to store their weapons in a safe storage unit; and
- the prohibition of semi-automatic rifles—weapons of war that killers have used in the seven deadliest mass shootings of the last decade.
But elected Republicans oppose all of those measures.
Attacks on Women’s Rights
The vast majority of Americans want to preserve a woman’s right to control her own body.
But elected Republicans unite to enact legislation that outlaws abortion altogether—even for rape, incest, or the health of the mother—or that moves the period of any permissible abortion ever closer to the date of conception and before a woman even knows she’s pregnant.
In every single state where abortion is banned, the legislature is GOP-controlled.
While state Republicans have made rolling back reproductive rights a cornerstone of their agenda, Dems are fighting back and expanding access to health care. https://t.co/qv0ioD7oC6
— Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (@DLCC) May 12, 2023
The Debt Ceiling
Americans want a functional government that doesn’t face a financial crisis every time Republicans decide to hold the nation hostage to their unpopular demands. When Donald Trump was president, neither party in Congress created a debt-limit crisis.
But with President Joe Biden in the White House, elected Republicans have:
- abandoned all pretense of “fiscal responsibility”—a perennial GOP rhetorical talking point;
- threatened to crash the U.S. economy into recession or worse, create chaos in global markets, increase the nation’s borrowing costs that will increase future federal deficits, and jeopardize America’s international financial credibility; and
- united in opposing an increase in the nation’s debt ceiling—despite Congress’ bipartisan authorization of the expenditures that created the debt in the first place and the U.S. Constitution’s command that the “public debt of the United States, authorized by law, shall not be questioned.”
Cult of Trump
Most Americans want honest, courageous, and hard-working leaders with personal integrity.
But elected Republicans refuse to condemn their leading candidate for the 2024 presidential nomination, notwithstanding:
- his adjudicated liability for sexual abuse and defamation;
- his indictment on charges that he paid off a porn star in his effort to win the presidency in 2016;
- criminal investigations involving his unlawful retention of highly classified documents and his obstruction of government efforts to retrieve those materials; and
- state and federal criminal investigations surrounding his attempt to subvert the 2020 election and obstruct the peaceful transfer of power. Although videos of the deadly assault on law enforcement personnel on January 6 are irrefutable, Trump has pledged to pardon the insurrectionists who have been imprisoned for serious felonies.
Wasn’t J Smith asking T’s employees if T showed the documents to anyone ? Moving boxes etc …https://t.co/cXNEtm0HgD
— Daphne_ du Maurier (@McmOne) May 11, 2023
Threats to Democracy
Most Americans want the United States to remain a democracy. Our forebears fought and died in wars to secure and defend it. In the immediate aftermath of the insurrection, congressional Republicans blamed Trump for the January 6 riot. They described it as a heinous and unprecedented attack on the U.S. government.
Restricting Voting Rights
Most Americans want to make voting easier. After all, it is the bedrock of any democracy.
But elected Republicans pursue voter suppression with a vengeance—literally. Committed to the opposite of democracy, they enact legislation that makes casting a ballot more difficult for those who are likely to vote against them.
Skewed Government Priorities
Most Americans support higher taxes on the rich.
But elected Republicans oppose taxes on the wealthiest Americans, while urging reductions in government spending that target, among other vulnerable groups, veterans, Social Security recipients, Medicare beneficiaries, poor mothers, and infants.
Most Americans want the government to take seriously the existential threat of climate change.
Narratives espoused by conservatives averse to policy tackling climate change tend to suggest it is an invention intended to oppress Americans. https://t.co/Z8USpXze21
— Newsweek (@Newsweek) February 11, 2023
Most Americans despise the polarization that has infected the body politic.
But elected Republicans use culture wars—including the rejection of science—to promote illiteracy and ignorance across a range of issues, deepening the schisms among us. In addition to the topics listed above, here are two more examples:
- Polls show that a vast majority of Americans oppose book bans, but elected Republicans are pushing them.
- LGBTQ rights enjoy an overwhelming majority of popular support, but GOP leaders seek to reverse them.
Your Vote Should Matter
Stated simply, if you vote for a Republican, you’re probably voting against your personal preferences for the nation.
You’re voting against democracy, which is supposed to honor voters’ desires.
You’re voting for those who claim to care what you think, but use such rhetoric to seduce you.
You’re voting for people whose sole agenda is the acquisition and retention of power. Other than Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s (R-Calif.) desire to retain his slim, four-person GOP majority in the House of Representatives, there’s no reason for him or any true party leader to tolerate the continuing presence of Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.), who was a disgrace long before his recent federal indictment for fraud, money laundering, theft of public funds, and false statements.
Eventually, the actions of elected Republicans betray them—and most of their supporters. But until it’s personal and GOP voters actually feel the impact, they won’t care.
Because in America today, that’s what it means to be a Republican voter.
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