|What Other divides are hurting the GOP?|
1. Neel Kashkari, the state party standard-bearer, both in his record, his platform, and his record.
2. The conflict among statewide candidates vs. the local races.
3. Chairman Brulte's decision to take union money and maintain a party structure without defining or defending the party's key principles.
However, there are deeper cultural divisions which have hurt the Republican Party (and also the Democratic Party), and these concerns cannot be ignored either.
During the Reagan Revolution, the former Governor of California united social conservatives (family values), limited government advocates (libertarians), and national conservatives (strong foreign policy).
|What factors are tearing the national fabric?|
What has happened?
Over the last thirty years, American political culture is debating issues which had been settled realties in the past. The encroachment of the federal government into more areas of our lives has also created divisions which had not existed before. Of course, the lack of leadership or courage from our political leaders has made strife the norm rather than the exception in our political discourse.
During the Nixon and Reagan Administrations, foreign policy, limited government, and free markets were not opposed to each other. The greatest threat to the world order was the Soviet Union, a communistic political and economic behemoth which was collapsing beneath its own contradictions and failures. Reagan's hard-line diplomacy, plus the inevitable breakdown of the system, enabled a strong yet patient military while fostering domestic recovery at home.
By resisting the spread of communism, in word if not in practice, Nixon and Reagan's foreign policy was making free trade a more prevalent reality. Twenty years later, with the War on Terror, foreign policy has justified big government, which has hurt free markets. In an attempt to shore up economic recovery, easy credit to ease the rattled markets followed 9-11, which created a rush on commodities, followed by another crash and the Housing Crisis in 2007-2008. Foreign policy now conflicts with limited government rather than defending it.
Today, the three faces of conservative foreign policy have split rather than converged. Pat Buchanan nationalists want the focus on the US, and the US alone, with protectionism as the first and only creed. Realists (like former Sec. of State Scowcroft and President George Herbert Walker Bush) recognized the importance of relative stability in other regions, without overt attempts to change the inner political culture through outright force, yet find such cautious interventions hard to carry out and maintain. Neoconservatives (like Paul Wolfowitz, George W. Bush) have seen the dream of Jeffersonian Democracy die a pitiful death in the Middle East, as direct democracy has empowered terrorists, and the brutal tyranny of dictators still stamps its boot in the face of displaced and persecuted minorities throughout the region.
In his second inaugural address, President George W. Bush placed Islam with Judaism and Christianity as religions of peace.
Following the domestic terrorism in the United Kingdom (and the past five years under the Obama Administration), no one can argue persuasively that Islam is a religion of peace, especially to the extent that Muslims take their holy book literally and follow its injunctions to force conversion or destroy (not just displace) infidels.
The breakdown in a recognition of Christian principles (even if some of the Founding Fathers were not Christians themselves) has blocked the strong arguments for defining marriage, for protecting life, for scaling back the role of the state, and now for upholding necessary strictures against certain religions whose dogma supports uncivil, anti-Wester, anti-liberty values.
Yet political correctness instead of moral uprightness has become the norm, yet Republicans, and many in spiritual circles are unwilling to take a stand on these issues, particularly the troubling trends and connections among religious freedom, national security, natural law, God-given rights, and moral conduct in a free society.
Homosexuality has been recognized as a disorderly form of conduct (even the Ancient Greeks never conceived homosexuality as innate though they celebrated the conduct), until deep partisans pressured the American Psychiatric Association to remove homosexual conduct as a disorder. Even then, however, very few would openly reveal their homosexual behavior, let alone define themselves as gay.
Today, homosexuality has become a civil right, dividing political parties, and not just the GOP. Life-long Democrat archbishop Thomas Tobin of Providence, Rhode Island switched to the GOP in a five-to-one Democratic state to register his protest with his former party, which embraced the dissolution of marriage and abortion on demand.
The definition of marriage is under attack. Gay marriage, polygamy, and the role of the state in defining and enforcing marriage has become a political talking point.
Should marriage become a private matter? The tradition of government licenses has taken effect for so long, that conservatives resist the proposal. Despite the revelation in nature and the Bible, plus the traditions of thriving societies, federal and state judges have imposed a cult of equality on the country, turning a disorderly form of conduct into a protected class. The research and outreach of MassResistance.org should dissuade anyone from embracing government-sponsored gay marriage.
In the past, no one ever considered let alone discussed, the idea that children could (or should) reject their sex and redefine themselves in a different gender. Now, in the state of California, the legislature passes a bill which will permit students of a chosen gender to go into the bathroom of their choice. In Massachusetts, a gay Republican, Richard Tisei, sponsored and helped pass a commensurate bill through Beacon Hill.
Instead of reinforcing in young people respect and acceptance of their bodies, politicians, governments, and our schools are accommodating transgender confusion. SexChangeRegret.com will provide insight into what individuals are struggling with, and why transgenderism should stop.
Why are these issues a subject of debate in the first place?! Yet, the fact that this debate exists, and has created another source of division (there are Republicans who support AB 1266, as well as Democrats who opposed this law), behold another source of conflict.
Public Education has to accommodate a new federal program, Common Core, which for many remains shrouded in complexity or details still far removed from parents and teachers. Recent accounts of children crying, and parents criticizing with heated screeds on students' prolix homework assignments, has exposed a government take-over of public education which will only diminish creativity and frustrate teachers' passion to educate young people. A lack of information about Common Core, plus leading Republicans who support the federalization of public education, have engendered more strife. Thirty years ago, the Republican Party had a simple platform: end the Department of Education. Enact School Choice. What happened to these noble goals?
The divisions in public education expose thee deeper problems which have created all these divisions. With the rapid increase of the federal government into more areas of our lives, not just education but also health care (Obamacare), another debate is breaking up the Republican Party: repeal, dismantle, fix, or accept.
The mere creation of a federal program invites more conflict.
On the immigration issue, Republicans have been divided since the Bush Administration (2001-2009). The Chamber of Commerce wants cheap labor. Everyone else (whatever the party affiliation) wants a good job that pays well. Even with Republican majorities in the House and the Senate (2006), Bush found no headway to pass immigration reform. Eight years later, With a Democratic President and US Senate, but a House more attuned to Main Street instead of K Street, amnesty has failed again.
Illegal immigration is not a GOP or a Dem issue, but an American issue. Yet leading conservative lights (Paul Ryan) are openly discuss granting partial amnesty or legal status to millions of illegal immigrants. Radio host Laura Ingraham expressed shock in her discussion with Tea Party affiliate Raul Labrador, who is still looking at immigration reform.
This discussion brings up another issue: the sloppy terminology of the political class. Ask anyone "Do you support immigration reform?" and you will very likely get an affirmative. The word reform invites support, lest anyone think of themselves as bigoted or backward.
But what does immigration reform mean? Streamlining the bureaucracy so that legal applicants are not waiting twenty years? I would support that. How about permitting those legal immigrants on that immoral waitlist receive citizenship right away? Shawn Steele supports that, and so would I. Call it "amnesty for legal residents" to be more precise.
Do you support a guest worker program? I would never support that policy, a blatant failure which has balkanized neighborhoods throughout Europe. The sloppy, evasive language of the political class has cratered otherwise unifying policies.
Sources of Unity?
With societal mores shifting or falling apart, with debate on issues which no one had considered up for debate , are there issues which can unify conservatives, or better yet, people who recognize the truth of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?
The abortion issue has unified otherwise disparate interests, in that a majority of Americans are now pro-life, and even Democrats like California Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi are inquiring whether constituents want a required notice provision before a minor seeks an abortion. Pro-life is alive and well in this country, enough that even the Washington Post recognized that four out of five women do support restrictions on terminating life within the mother's womb.
The Second Amendment
Gun-control is a losing argument, where billionaire donations toward taking away guns have backfired, forcing Democrats to leave the Second Amendment alone. President Obama overplayed his executive overreach on this issue in 2014, and even liberal bastions like Chicago and Washington DC have enacted concealed-carry provisions, followed by the requisite drop in crime. The sanctity of individuals protecting themselves, not just from criminals but government tyranny, is an integral aspect of human experience. Experiments with gun conscription in New England have also set back liberal, statist attempts to undercut the Second Amendment.
Immigration (Enforcement, not Amnesty)
Despite the display of disagreement in Washington over immigration, the issue has in fact generate strong agreement among Republican and Democratic voters, who want an end to illegal immigration. Border and workplace enforcement, followed by welfare reform are the call of the day. I have spoken with Democrats who have admitted that they will vote for a Republican who opposes illegal immigration and will not support amnesty.
Unfortunately, the candidates running for Congress support a pathway to citizenship (amnesty), and even Republican gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari would continue to permit illegal immigrants to obtain drivers licenses in the state of California. This double-standard on immigration enforcement is disconcerting. Voters are united on this issue, and the political class (at least in California) is unity in opposition.
Beyond the party disunity because of candidates, elections, and the chairman, cultural trends, the expansion of big government, the disunity over otherwise settled issues, and the lack of leadership on defining and defending Biblical principles have driven created more sources of division among Republicans, as well as Democrats in the United States.