GOP's Chickens Coming Home to Roost: Will Far-Right Legislatures Alienate Swing Voters?
Ever since the election of Barack Obama to the presidency, the Republican Party -- now a very right-wing enterprise, indeed -- has enjoyed remarkably good fortune consolidating its power in legislatures and governor's mansions across the country. But as the presidential election approaches, writes Michael Cooper in the New York Times, G.O.P. strategists have begun to fret over chickens coming home to roost on the White House lawn.
In 21 states, Cooper reports, Republicans control both the legislative and executive branches, and that has led to an avalanche of controversies over issues ranging from evolution to the definition of rape to mandatory invasive ultrasounds for women seeking abortions -- not to mention union rights for public employees. While these issues may galvanize the G.O.P.'s right-wing base, they're likely to alienate the swing voters Mitt Romney will need in order to win the presidency. As described in the Times:
Tennessee enacted a law this month intended to protect teachers who question the theory of evolution. Arizona moved to ban nearly all abortions after 20 weeks, and Mississippi imposed regulations that could close the state’s only abortion clinic. Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin signed a law allowing the state’s public schools to teach about abstinence instead of contraception.
John Weaver, a Republican strategist who worked on the presidential campaigns of Senator John McCain and Jon M. Huntsman Jr., said that the attention Republicans were paying to social issues at the state level could cost the party support from several important blocs of voters, including independents, women and young people voting for the first or second time.
“I think it’s problematic,” he said, “not just for this national election we’re facing, but for the long-term health of the party.”