Posted by: Donna
I know. You’re a nice person. Intelligent too. You’re definitely not a racist. You’re not a bigot. You probably didn’t vote for Prop 102 (Arizona’s version of Prop 8) in 2008 because you’re definitely not a homophobe and you find the Bible thumpers’ obsession with homosexuality to be abhorrent. You’re probably at least nominally pro-choice and absolutely pro-contraception and sex ed. You may or may not own a firearm but you support the 2nd Amendment but also support sensible regulation like background checks. There’s a good chance you take a libertarian view on drug policy and other “victimless crime” type things.
You vote Republican on economics for the most part. You want to see the budget balanced and don’t believe in giving able-bodied people handouts. Low taxes let you keep more of your hard earned money and, besides, the private sector is better at handling most things so why keep throwing money at a bloated and inefficient government? You do think the military should be fully funded because a strong national defense is crucial but you also think defense spending could use an overhaul to get rid of all the waste and inefficiency.
You support immigration enforcement because you think people should come here legally but you don’t want to see Hispanic residents, irrespective of legal status, discriminated against or harassed by the police with no probable cause.
Have I got that about right? It’s based on many conversations with many self-described moderate Republicans over many years. I should also note that I am describing many Republican-leaning independent voters as well. I’m going to include them in the class of “moderate Republican voters” because it’s reasonable to do so.
You’re not like Russell Pearce and Joe Arpaio. Whether you find virulent racists like them appalling or don’t think about them much at all, you’re definitely not like them. I mean that sincerely. I personally know a lot of very nice non-bigoted Republican voters.
So why do you help bigots get elected time after time?
And not just Pearce and Arpaio. I can easily rattle off the other names but you know who they are. Surely you’ve noticed that a disturbingly large number of elected Republicans in Arizona have earnestly embraced the Birther conspiracy that President Obama is not a US citizen. You may know that every Republican in the Legislature voted for the infamous “Birther bill” last year. I hope you’ve been following the lawsuit against the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office where it’s been revealed for all the world to see that, yeah, there was some racism going on at the MCSO.
Why don’t you care about this kind of bigotry enough to stop sending these people back to office? Before you deny you bear any responsibility and decry me of accusing you of aiding and abetting such rank bigotry I ask you to consider two things:
1. That no moderate Republican politician could get elected in Arizona without a substantial percentage of votes from rabid right wing bigoted Republican voters.
2. That no rabid right wing bigoted Republican politician could get elected in Arizona without a substantial percentage of votes from moderate Republican voters.
In other words, even if a particular Republican politician never ran by appealing to bigots, that politician has benefited from decades of their party catering to that demographic and getting them to vote R every time. Similarly, even if a particular Republican is a rabid right wing bigot, that politician has benefited from decades of moderate Republican voters being willing to cast a vote for a bigot (or at least someone very willing to pander to them). You guys have what appears to be a symbiotic relationship there.
I would also like all my pro-choice moderate Republican friends to consider how many abortion restrictions have been passed in the last few years: waiting periods, offensive and invasive medically unnecessary procedures, parental notification, “conscience” clauses, complete 20 week bans in several states with some women facing actual criminal charges. Abortion is unavailable in 85% of US counties because of so many restrictions and they are chomping at the bit to overturn Roe v Wade AND Griswold v Connecticut (birth control). Yes, they are pretty much openly after contraception now. Are your tax cuts really worth all that?
You can no longer deny it, moderate Republican voters. You are part of the problem. Luckily, if you want to stop being part of the problem and get real moderates in office, you have that option. It’s called “voting for the Democrats”. I swear, I promise you: I am a big honking liberal and most Democratic politicians in Arizona are not as liberal as I am. You can vote for them. Please do.
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