Influential Prose

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Where are the secular Republicans?

Modern GOP candidates know that getting elected requires an expression of faith. It’s expected by both voters and party leaders and it’s not negotiable. There are regions of greater or lesser pressure in this regard, but the expectation remains.

This dynamic creates a strategic bind for the Republican party. Faith-based supporters are reliable voters, but declines in church attendance and a rise of self-identified secular people means their demographic is shrinking.

Options for retaining power?

Change the game: make voting less relevant or irrelevant. Create hurdles to voting. Amplify messaging – lies, when they’re effective, but anything that will stick – with dark money. Create facades of inevitability.

All of which the GOP is doing now in plain view.

There’s an alternative strategy the GOP can adopt without surrendering ties to its primary sponsors in the business world. Simply this; embrace secular Republicans. They can campaign on the traditional themes of fiscal conservatism, law and order, national security, but do it on a rational basis.

Secular Republicans can do business without the embarrassing baggage of religious conservatives; the treatment of women and minorities as second-class citizens, the ignorant dismissal of science, the insular arrogance that demands their way or the highway.

The modern GOP leadership doesn’t want democracy. It wants mob rule. If you’re not a member of a faith-based club, you can’t hold office. Extending that viewpoint beyond the GOP extinguishes democracy. Empowering a mob can be good for business as long as it does business’ bidding; the day may come when it doesn’t.

There are, always have been, people who put on a mask of faith for public view and discard it in private. This utility of this mask is eroding. There are people of goodwill in both secular and faith communities. Appealing to that goodwill, rather than dividing people over faith, will allow us to return our focus where it belongs – on the values that sustain a healthy democracy.

Written by Influential Prose

April 10, 2015 at 3:59 am

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