In his well-titled Washington Post column, “Are Republicans rebranding or rethinking?,” E.J. Dionne, Jr. pinpoints the meaningful distinction that should be made in any discussion about where the Republicans are headed and what they are trying to project. He then adds:
The bad news: In some states where Republicans control all the levers of power, they are rushing ahead with astonishingly right-wing programs to eviscerate government while shifting the tax burden toward the middle class and the poor and away from the wealthy. In trying to build the Koch brothers’ dystopias, they are turning states into laboratories of reaction…
…This deeply anti-majoritarian, anti-populist approach explains the really bad news: Some Republicans show signs of not worrying about winning majorities at all. Gerrymandering helped their party win a majority in the House (no longer so representative) in November while losing the popular vote overall by nearly $1.4 million. Some are trying to rig the electoral college in a way that would have let Mitt Romney win the presidency even as he lost by about 5 million popular votes.
And they are willing to use the Senate’s arcane rules and right-wing courts in tandem to foil the policy wishes of a majority of Congress and the president — witness the precedent-less U.S. Court of Appeals ruling voiding Obama’s recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board. The president took this course because intransigent Republican senators blocked the nominations. There should be a greater outcry against such an anti-democratic power play.
If there’s any good news for Dems here, it’s that “The “Red State model” is likely to take hold in only a few states — and may provoke a backlash,” as Dionne puts it. For Dems, it’s about calling them out and making them own it publicly at every opportunity. But it’s also about stepping up our game by recruiting, training and funding better candidates and mobilizing better GOTV — a daunting challenge to be sure, but still an easier way to go than accepting the alternative.