Polls indicate that President Obama is likely to win in November. Naturally we don’t want to be overconfident about this, but, just for fun, let’s consider what the Republican Party has come to look like as it faces its probable loss under Mitt Romney's banner. Such a loss, by the way, would be the fifth out of the last six elections, if we think strictly in terms of how people voted, and not in terms of who managed to bamboozle their way into the White House in the face of voter opposition.
The GOP has gradually become the party of rich, white guys and those foolish enough to identify with them. The prototypical Republican is Grover Norquist, a fanatically anti-tax white guy who grew up in cushy privilege and who has dedicated his life to making sure that people in desperate poverty have no opportunity to escape this fate. I’m not sure why Grover holds poor people in such contempt, and, of course, he doesn’t actually say, “I want to stick it to poor people,” at least not in so many words. What he says are things like “Our goal is to shrink government to the size where we can drown it in a bathtub.”
But what does this bathtub murder scenario imply? Its primary message is that those people who live on the brink of starvation and despair would be absolutely on their own in Grover World. People whose homes have been lost as a consequence of Bush era deregulations and pro-business policies would be told, “Hard cheese on you, losers. Hope you and your kids like living in your Corolla, because you’re gonna be staying there for quite a while.”
People who do the back-breaking work of vegetable harvesting, (so that the rest of us won’t starve), who get paid minimum wage for this, and whose children are trapped in a migratory world where adequate schooling is impossible without government assistance, will be told in Grover World, “Thanks for the food amigos, but screw you and screw your niños también.”
Grover’s main device for sticking it to poor people is his anti-tax pledge. This pledge depends on a lot of Republicans - who lack the guts to tell Grover to shove it - kowtowing to him by promising not to support any legislation that includes tax increases no matter how reasonable they may be. I think it’s fair to say that this pledge is the main reason for America losing its top credit rating last year. It is also one of the reasons that our government is in danger of going “over the fiscal cliff” in December if a new budget has not yet been agreed to by then.
This “over the fiscal cliff” scenario would entail a worldwide depression that would likely last for many years. But at least poor people wouldn’t be getting any help from the government!
Score one for Grover.
The good news is that the GOP has continued to identify itself as the party of rich white guys to such an extent that its base is steadily shrinking as the population grows diverse. At this rate it may eventually shrink to such a size that even a poor migrant worker’s child could drown it in a bathtub. But, of course, this idle talk is beside the point because the migrant workers I’ve known have large and generous hearts. Such cruel and ghastly imagery doesn’t seem to come naturally to them.
“I was born rich and privileged. The rest of you can just suck on it.”*
* Editor's insightful interpretation of Grover's thinking.