We Need to Start Taking the GOP Seriously



Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, center, speaks on the debate stage at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, Calif., on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015. (Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times/TNS)


I’m an independent. My family has never claimed particular allegiance toward either political party because they, like myself, believe that staunch party allegiance is one of the most limiting things in American politics and prevents free discourse. It is to the detriment of the country as a whole that we ignore good ideas because they happen to come from the mouths of those that align with “the enemy,” and it is for this reason that declaring, outright, any kind of political allegiance simply never made sense to me.

However, as long as I can remember, I have found myself leaning far more to the left than to the right. When George W. Bush went up against John Kerry, my family supported Kerry. When Barack Obama went up against John McCain and Mitt Romney, I supported Obama both times. Now, the 2016 presidential election seems to be repeating history, at least for me.

But my support for the Democratic Party was never due to a strict love of their proposed policies. Let’s face it, Obama hasn’t exactly been totally successful in everything he’s set out to do. Rather, it became very, very difficult to take the Republican candidates seriously, sometimes even as human beings. The moment McCain picked Sarah Palin as his running mate, and she went off spouting a slew of nonsense–she actually said that Paul Revere ran through town ringing bells–we all knew McCain’s campaign was dead in the water. Once Romney wrote off a whopping 47 percent of the country as being in the pocket of Obama’s policy, clinging to it for financial support and thus unwilling to give their votes to Romney, we knew that this was a man with a less than shimmering character. Indeed, his “47 percent” comment quickly became an Internet meme, closely followed by his comment that he has “binders full of women”–an attempt to make himself appear in favor of gender pay equality as he had received numerous resumes from prospective female employees whilst he was Governor of Massachusetts.

With this election, now, even before the GOP has officially picked a candidate, we are still giving the most attention to the people that say the most entertaining or controversial things. The fact that Donald Trump and Ben Carson, both people that don’t seem to know anything about American politics beyond a shallow understanding, command such high popularity ratings is astounding. The most recent GOP debate, along with the one back in August, were seen as shows of entertainment. In regards to the former, I recall massive groups of my friends gathering together just so they could watch and laugh at the candidates quipping and chucking mud at each other–and, unfortunately, the GOP candidates did not disappoint.

Meanwhile, in the discussion between whether Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton would make the better Democratic nominee, the topic involves their actual political policies. The fact that Sanders self-identifies as a socialist is a thought-provoking fact, and it compels Americans to consider just how much “change” is necessary for this country.

So where is the discussion of the GOP’s politics? I mean their actual politics, not the things that Trump and Carson say just to gain notoriety yet people affiliate with actual Republican platforms. The fact that publications like Rolling Stone post articles with titles like “21 Hilarious and WTF Moments From the GOP Debate” shows just how little respect we as a society and as a community have for the party.

John Kasich, the current governor of Ohio and one of the contenders for the Republican nomination–albeit a name you probably have not heard–actually said something fascinating in this most recent debate. He said, “My great concern is that we are on the verge of perhaps picking someone who cannot do this job. I’ve watched to see people say that we should dismantle Medicare and Medicaid and leave our senior citizens out, out in the cold. I’ve heard them talk about deporting 10 or 11 [million] people here from this country out of this country, splitting families. I’ve heard about tax schemes that don’t add up that put our kids in a deeper hole than they are today.”

And you know what? That’s exactly what’s going to happen if we just put the loudest talker or the most entertaining figure up as the Republican nominee. Because then, frighteningly enough, he might actually win. There are Republicans with actual good points out there, but they’re not nearly getting the exposure they deserve. Chris Christie, governor of New Jersey, is well aware that we are more than three trillion dollars in debt, and he has criticized the fact that “71 percent of federal spending today is on entitlements and debt service.” Ted Cruz has highlighted that the median wage for women has dropped dramatically under Barack Obama’s presidency, so much that 3.7 million women have become impoverished since the beginning of his tenure.

These are important things to talk about, and definitely things that affect us as a community. But if we keep putting the Palins, the Romneys and the Trumps in the limelight, in a place where we can continuously point and poke fun and say that “this is what the Republican party is all about,” then we’ll never be able take them seriously, and these good ideas and important topics of discussion will just be shelved until next election when, surprise surprise, they’re still going to be a problem.