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writing for godot

Why I Am Now Calling Myself an Eisenhower Democrat

Written by   
Monday, 08 February 2021 08:50

34 President of the U.S.

Some time ago a meme on Facebook summarized the 1956 Republican Party platform as follows:

1. Provide federal assistance to low-income communities.

2 Protect Social Security.

3. Provide asylum for refugees.

4. Extend minimum wage.

5. Improve unemployment benefit system to it covers more people.

6. Strengthen labor laws so workers can easily join a union.

7. Assure equal pay for equal work regardless of sex.


To be sure that it was accurate I did some fact-checking. Based upon the Snopes fact-check of it I would label it accurate enough that the intended message holds true.

When you read through the 1956 Republican Party platform you notice the absence of hard-line language demeaning groups of people such as immigrants or gays. You notice that social issues like gun-control and abortion are not the main concern, the economy and care for those who are in need of assistance are the main concern.

There are famous quotes from Barry Goldwater and Billy Graham warning about the Republican Party becoming too closely allied with the religious right. Those warnings have been long since ignored. Evangelicals have a strong grip on the Republican Party and while they are a loyal, vocal, and active voting block, this alliance also alienates many voters. Many within the party have become obsessed with the right of the religious, as long as they're Christian, to be able to ignore laws if they feel it violates their religious beliefs.

Since Ronald Reagan proclaimed that "government IS the problem" a large portion of the Republican Party has become fanatically against big government. Lower taxes regardless of the impact on the country has become a purity-test to be considered truly conservative. Oddly enough, government spending, particularly on the military, goes up significantly during Republican administrations leading to higher federal budget deficits.

The Gun-rights group the NRA has also changed over the recent decades. "Any gun, anywhere, anytime" seems to be their mantra now. It no longer resembles the NRA of old that was actually in favor of sensible gun control laws. They have successfully inculcated the new ideology into the psyche of the Republican party creating many second amendment fanatics who brazenly carry weapons of all kinds in public thus causing safety concerns and leaving many of us wondering if the horrific increase in mass shootings is somehow related.

Finally, it seems that there has been a slowly advancing movement that now overwhelms policy decisions that science is not to be believed and that intelligence is not only not a virtue, but is something to be disdained.

Throw all that together and add the unbridled world of social media and you have a dangerous brew that easily indoctrinates the masses into believing anything no matter how bizarre or blatantly untrue.

Democrats of today, on the other hand, have always failed at messaging in my opinion. At least some of that can be attributed to the fact that Democrats, or liberals if you please, are open-minded free thinkers who are open to change, or at least should be if they call themselves liberals. The very nature of those sensibilities creates an environment where, as a group, they can't seem to agree on anything. They would do well to get back to their routes, which, oddly enough are reflected in the 1956 Republican Party platform.

Many voters are tired of what has been labeled "identity politics." While racism and gay rights are certainly important issues today, it shouldn't dominate the party the way it does or lead to the resulting name-calling. There are many issues in healthcare, education, and the economy that affect ALL Americans. There seem to be no limits to the extent to which Democrats will push for virtually unlimited rights for these groups in much the same way Republicans push for extended rights of the religious right.

Ever since Roe v. Wade became the law of the land, Democrats have lost mounds of votes in every election because of poor messaging. There are a lot of one issue voters out there when it comes to abortion and they all vote Republican. Generally, Democratic candidates steer clear of the issue or vaguely describe their feelings that a woman should have control over her own body and those decisions are between her and her doctor. As a result, Republicans have successfully convinced many of those one-issue voters that Democrats are just fine with abortion right up to the day of delivery even if just on a whim. Nothing could be farther from the truth, and yet, Democrats don't nearly adequately counter such statements. Very simply, every Democrat should be saying "I hate abortion. I wish there were no abortions. But, there are many ways to reduce the number of abortions without making it illegal." That should be repeated over and over. If pushed further to clarify their stance then they can fall back on their stock rhetoric.

Likewise, when it comes to gun control they are all over the place as far as banning assault weapons, banning high-capacity magazines, and universal background checks. So, once again the Republicans are able to convince a lot of voters that the Democrats are "comin' for your guns" and Democrats don't counter that claim strongly enough, if at all. Again, simply, every Democrat should loudly proclaim "I support the second amendment." Without any further clarification that statement leaves an awful lot of wiggle room for personal preference, but, it is what the voter will hear first and remember first.

And while being so busy labeling people, they forgot their core constituency of old, the middle class blue collar worker. As a result, in 2016, that group voted for Trump in large numbers.

In summary, I'd take the above seven planks from the 1956 Republican platform and only add enough to solve our infrastructure problems and inject some sanity to the discourse on social issues. I would bring back the New Deal's CCC and WPA. Heck, I'd even consider the idea professed by the fictional character Frank Underwood in the TV show "House of Cards." That is, the "America Works" program that would guarantee a job for all Americans at a decent wage. You could eliminate most welfare programs and unemployment insurance if that were implemented.

This article is not an endorsement of the Eisenhower presidency itself, but of the policies promoted by the Republican Party of the day. So, I hereby reject both parties and now call myself an Eisenhower Democrat. My slogan will be the KISS acronym, "Keep it Simple, Stupid!" Gone would be the fanaticism that has so marred much of our public discourse. Instead, the seven principles delineated above will be my mantra and common sense will rule. Well, I can always dream. your social media marketing partner
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