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JLeslie's avatar

What would happen if the media stopped saying the Republican base is the religious right?

Asked by JLeslie (47107 points ) March 11th, 2012

I just heard a journalist say the heart of the Republican party is the religious right. Stats I have seen previously seem to indicate the right is about 50% of the party (not sure how accurate that is) so couldn’t the party switch the conversation if they wanted to? What would happen? Does the media keep this religious divide alive?

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53 Answers

Ron_C's avatar

I think the divide between moderate Republicans and the religious right has anything to do with what the media says. Nixon’s southern strategy to bring the religious groups into the party was deliberate and in my opinion cynical. The facts are that the fundamentalist christian is likely under-educated, rural, and probably racially prejudice.

I expect that describes the majority of the Tea Party faction of the party. This over concern with punishing people and countries, violent opposition to women’s rights, and anti-government prejudice is what has turned an almost reasonable party to an anti-American, anti-democracy party of “know nothings”. Hopefully the moderates will eventually prevail but I doubt it. Regardless this party make-up has almost nothing to do with media except that the Fox New Network takes advantage of the ignorance at the base of the Republican party.

Other media is not really responsible for what the violent religiousness does the the party.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Religion has NO place in public politics, IMO.

Ron_C's avatar

@Dutchess_III you are absolutely correct. Did you know that a drug using transvestite has a better chance to win public office than a person with an exemplary reputation but is an atheist?

SuperMouse's avatar

It is my understanding the the evangelical movement has made a concerted effort to get more involved in politics by becoming more active in the Republican party and supporting evangelical candidates as they seek office throughout the country. This is a strategy that has been in effect close to 20 years and it has worked. At this point there are so many evangelicals involved in the GOP at so many levels it is virtually impossible to separate the two. There may be a small voice in the wilderness of the party wanting to get away from the religious slant, but it is small and getting smaller. The fact is that no one in the party wants the media to stop saying that so there is no way they ever will. Here is some interesting information on the subject. The media does not keep the religious divide alive, the Republican party does.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Good post @SuperMouse. The media reports on the activities and actions of the politicians. If they pick and choose what to leave in and what to leave out, that would just be propaganda.

I’m sure to a certain extent even the very best of reports are slanted because it’s human beings who are reporting after all, but the most reputable and trustworthy sources work to keep all bias out.

marinelife's avatar

No. the religious right is very active in voting and voting their political beliefs.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@SuperMouse When you say that “it has worked”, do you mean that evangelicals are gaining more power? Because it doesn’t seem to be “working” for the party.

Blackberry's avatar

I think more moderates need to make themselves known and stand up against the crazy republicans. We all have someone in our demographic that makes us look bad whether it’s gender, age etc.

mazingerz88's avatar

If that happens, in time people may stop associating the Republican party with conservative religion. But. It all depends. Republican politicians have to step back a bit from making statements grounded on religious beliefs. Now try telling that to someone like Santorum.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Why would the media stop reporting this, when it is true?

SuperMouse's avatar

@dappled_leaves I mean the evangelicals are gaining more power, As an example, here we are some 40 years past Roe v. Wade and for some strange reason we are discussing a woman’s right to have her birth control covered by medical insurance. It is actually okay for a radio host to call a woman a slut on a nationally syndicated show with no remorse. There is a drive to force a woman to have a medically invasive procedure before she is allowed to decide what she can do with her own body. Seriously? How long before they decide the fairer sex really has no business voting? I find the whole situation baffling and infuriating. There is no doubt in my mind that these Bible toting fundamentalists who take every single word of the Bible as truth (except for the ones that don’t suit their agenda to control women and tell everyone else how to think) are behind this assault on women, women’s rights, and human rights in general. They are doing all they can to blur the lines between church and state with the ultimate goal of obliterating them. It’s our own little Taliban right here in the good old US of A and to me it is terrifying.

Dutchess_III's avatar

We do seem to have taken a giant step backward recently regarding women.

JLeslie's avatar

@Ron_C Did you think I was talking about Fox news specifically? I was actually talking about other news outlets when I wrote the question, but of course Fox says it too.

@mazingerz88 I think Rick decided to take a strategic move to differentiate himself from Mitt with the religious talk. They both are religious men who in the past have typically supported keeping their religion personal, and not creating bunches of legislation enforcing their religious beliefs on others. They are both northern Republicans, which in my experience tend to be moderate if not leaving left on social issues when it come to politics. Switch to national elections and Republican primaries and suddeny they are hard right. Mitt has tried to stay away from social issues, make them more of a non issue, I think he realizes that religious stuff doesn’t fly well with independents. They also both are religious minorities, they know if the country decides to legislate “religious” laws it won’t be Mormon or Catholic most likely, it would be one of the more mainstream Christian faiths. If bibles are ever going to be given out in public school, it isn’t going to be one of the versions from their religions most likely. They understand that even if some guy in small town Alabama doesn’t.

PhiNotPi's avatar

I have met a whole bunch of super-conservatives. (I live in South Carolina, which, to quote one of my friends, “would rather succeed from the Union than make a rational decision”)

From my point of view, the ultra-conservative right are also the religious right. I have personally met people who believe (and have said to me):

-
Obama has made a mistake in “everything he does.”
Obama’s goal is to destroy America.
Obama is not Christian and has never attended church in his life.
Obama has only attended church once in his life and that it wasn’t because he wanted to go.
The church Obama attends teaches the Bible the “wrong” way.
Santorem is the most trustworthy candidate.
Obama always lies.
Nobody trusts Obama anymore.
Nobody will vote for Obama.
Obama is taking Christianity out of the government
-

Extrapolating from the above, these people believe that there both a “right way” to teach the Bible and that the government is supposed to be based on Christianity.

So, I do believe that the ultra-conservative groups are very religious (at least in SC) and that religion is a part of why they are so conservative. The political right and the religious right do seem to have merged to a degree, but I don’t know why.

mazingerz88's avatar

@PhiNotPi (I live in South Carolina, which, to quote one of my friends, “would rather succeed ( secede? ) from the Union than make a rational decision”)

Ha ha ha ha! That made my day, thanks. ( No I didn’t care about the verbal mistake. The whole statement was funny. )

JLeslie's avatar

But, let’s say it is true only 50% of the party is part of the religious right wing, why do they get credit for being the base? Why not the other 50%?

PhiNotPi's avatar

@PhiNotPi Secede from the Union, not succeed. We did secede once, but we definitely did not succeed.

I wish I could fix that. (but if any mods see this, don’t send it back for editing, it’s funnier this way)

SpatzieLover's avatar

@JLeslie Why? Because they have the money and the microphone at the moment. Personally I think they get the credit because 100% of the right runs on ‘family values’ all of which supposedly stems from religion.

I agree @Dutchess_III the right movement has archaic gender stereotypes and role models. It’s decades behind the women’s movement.

SuperMouse's avatar

@PhiNotPi Obama is taking Christianity out of the government, WTF?! Last time I checked, Chritianity wasn’t supposed to be part of the government. @JLeslie that is the reason it doesn’t matter if it is 50%, 98% or 5%, this is the vocal majority and for some odd reason the rest of the party seems to be following the freakish lead.

@SpatzieLover sometimes I can’t help but wonder what are these family values of which they speak? Taking away a woman’s right to take birth control for its prophylactic effect in preventing ovarian cancer? Not letting gay folks adopt children into their loving household because they happen to be the same sex? Taxing the sh!t out of the middle class and forcing them to stretch their resources while the rich keep getting richer? Where exactly are the family values in those things?

dappled_leaves's avatar

Yeah. The unfortunate thing is that I think most people who self-identify as conservatives don’t support a lot of what is happening in the Republican party right now. So those people are voting Democrat because they have no choice. And then, they feel that they’re being attacked with the “broad brush” in places like Fluther and other forum sites. It means they’ll never feel entirely comfortable identifying as liberals, even though their values align better with the current Dem government than with what the current Reps have to offer. Eventually, the Republican party will find its way out of the wilderness, and then these voters will go back in droves. Anyway, that’s my guess.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@SpatzieLover No kidding..and it’s kind of scary. I mean, I grew “up” in the 70’s. I wanted to take shop in school. I was discouraged from doing so. In middle school they gave apptitude tests. I figured I’d score highest in reading and literature and in social science. To my surprise, my highest score, 99%, was in engineering. No one ever spoke to me about it. I wonder if it would have been addressed if I’d been a male.

SuperMouse's avatar

@dappled_leaves here is an article to gives me some hope.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Good post @SuperMouse. What the republicans really need to do now is damage control…they need to find a way to rescind the right of women to vote.

PhiNotPi's avatar

@SuperMouse I agree. I, for one, am in favor of the separation of church and state.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@PhiNotPi Yeah, I mean, talk about a constitutional guarantee. I can’t believe they’re even suggesting that we mix the two together.

JLeslie's avatar

@Dutchess_III What part of the country was that? I was born in ‘68 and I never felt like shop was off limits. Someone was telling me that home ec was just for girls in her school. In my Jr. High girls and boys both took home ec, and we both took wood working, and we both took accounting, etc. I never felt like a class was off limits because of gender. Not sure if it is because of the part of the country I was in, or that I am a little younger than you.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, I was in Kansas. I wanted to sign up for shop, but was discouraged by the teacher. Perhaps it was just him.

JLeslie's avatar

Rick Santorum grew up with a mother that worked. I don’t think he is trying to put women back in the home uneducated and barefoot and pregnant. I know if women don’t use birth control they wind up pregnant a lot of everythng is working right, which essentially makes it much more difficult for a career, but I think Santorum does not think about it that way. Maybe these people who want women not to control their fertility think women should just do everything, work, birth babies, mother babies, I don’t know what they think. They certainly love women like Sarah Palin who have lots of children and big careers.

@Dutchess_III That I could see. There definitely would have been men around back then, some now, who would discourage I think.

digitalimpression's avatar

They could stop saying “religious right” and “forward thinking liberal” and any number of other popular buzzwords… the media only affects the “clones” of society who get their information from it. There will always be people who associate things incorrectly.. e.g. absurd, backward women’s rights with being a republican.

JLeslie's avatar

@digitalimpression You don’t think “religious right” is a fair title for that group?

digitalimpression's avatar

@JLeslie What I’m saying, to put it more plainly, is that the media is stupid. That includes media that slants either right or left. Yes, I am generalizing.

JLeslie's avatar

@digitalimpression I don’t like slant either, but I don’t mind calling the religious right the religious right. I do mind forward thinking liberal, but I can honestly say I have never heard that before. Where do you hear it?

MollyMcGuire's avatar

Oh my God!!! Do you mean a non-Christian might vote Republican?

That particular outlet would be an outcast among the elites.

wundayatta's avatar

@JLeslie You are making a lot of unwarranted assumptions about Santorum. He may be from the North, but he is very, very conservative. He is also a staunch Catholic, and his views follow all the Catholic anti-women views in lockstep. He home schooled his kids (and cheated in getting funding for that, too). He does not trust government and wants to make it as small as he can.

He believes women should stay home to take care of kids. They have no business holding jobs other than taking care of children. He is very bad. He was the worst Senator my state ever had. You should not be trying to apologize for him without knowing a lot more.

This man would be a disaster as a President. No one should vote for him in an effort to give Obama a weaker opponent. If he were, through some disaster, to end up as President, our country will be set back another fifteen years (to add to the years the Shrub set us back).

The “base” of a party are those folks who are rabid partisans. They can be counted on to turn out, no matter what. The Republican Religious Right is the base because these folks vote and work for candidates no matter what. They are not soft supporters who might vote for you, but won’t do anything else for you. If they like the candidate, they work hard. That’s why you can’t alienate them. Without them, you have no workers. That’s how politics work. It’s no different for dems. The party workers are the committed progressives.

JLeslie's avatar

@wundayatta I realize he is pretty fundamental in his religious beliefs. I appreciate you commenting since you would know him better being from your state. I am completely against people voting for him to try to give Obama an edge. I am against that in any election. If a Republican wins, I want it to be the one I can live with, believe me I am with you on that. I am not pushing for him to be the candidate. I can’t imagine he will win the nomination, but I am wrong all the time about what Republicans will do.

ETpro's avatar

It is remarkable how little control what people say has over long term reality.

Charles's avatar

What would happen if the media stopped reporting the delusions of the religious right? The media would probably lose credibility and people would post on fluther instead of reading the news.

Ron_C's avatar

@JLeslie in reference to your comment about networks responsible for the current religious divide. Frankly I thought of CNN, ABC, NBC, MSNBC and ABC before I mentioned Fox. Compared to FOX all of the other networks are pretty even handed concerning religion Most rarely discuss it because religion has (or should have) no part in a Presidential election. Even the Constitution says that there should be no religious test. The only time religion was really mentioned prior to the last three elections is when Kennedy ran and he had to assure people that the Pope would have no part in his decision making process.

Actually compared to the present day “religious” leaders, the Pope is pretty benign.

Nixon started this bullshit with his Southern Strategy. Bush Jr. propagated the religious farce we are now facing. I always avoid voting for politicians that base or try to base their platform on religion. Pat Robertson tried it and Rick Santorum is trying to use his fundamentalist Catholic religion as a crutch to cover his own inadequacy as a candidate for president.

The problem isn’t the media, it’s the candidates. It’s funny that the most immoral candidates like Gingrich think that proposing religious support is the way into office. I don’t care what he says Gingrich has absolutely no credibility as a leader. I think he is actually evil while Santorum is just an idiot.

wundayatta's avatar

Santorum is much more evil than most liberals seem to realize. He is not merely an idiot. He is a malicious idiot.

Gingrich, on the other hand, might appear to be immoral, but I think he’s just a pure hypocrite. I trust him more than Santorum. He’s smart and I purely opportunistic, I think. Not evil. Just unprincipled.

Ron_C's avatar

@wundayatta considering Gingrich’s record of divorcing wives that are sick, even to the point of doing it by leaving a phone message is cruel and unspeakably evil.

Santorum actually thinks he is doing the right thing injecting religion into the race. Stupid, irrational, and scary. absolutely! Evil, I’m not so sure. I will agree that if he was actually President, the results would be evil but I’m not sure about the person.

We have evil here in Pennsylvania caused by a Governor and legislature that completely sold out to Gas drilling companies. They gave our property, voting, and even speaking rights to the gas companies. That is evil and people will die and be dispossesed as a result.

JLeslie's avatar

@Ron_C But, I am not talking about the media discussing religion, I am talking about the media saying the religious right is the base of the party. What if they gave equal time to the level heads in the party? We see it on some shows, rational Republicans, like Meet the Press, This Week, Morning Joe, but I think average America does not watch those shows.

Ron_C's avatar

@JLeslie “What if they gave equal time to the level heads in the party? ” Are there any left. They have all seemed to go into hiding. The only voice you hear or see written are right wing wackos and people from the Heritage foundation and Focus on the Family.

JLeslie's avatar

@Ron_C Haha. I would say yes. Peggy Noonan, Joe Scarborough, many of my college friends. I don’t agree with them on everything, but they can have a conversation and are not ruled by religious belief. It’s not always religion to blame on conservative views of course, but it is in a lot of cases.

I just think the left maybe talks about the religious right as a way to show the “worst” in the Republican party. I think possiby it backfires in a way, because the more talk, the more the party attracts the religious people in the country, and spurs on the conversation regarding religion in politics. It’s like how I think we should talk about all the people not in debt in the country, rather than how everyone is in debt. People think it is normal to be in debt, everyone is, right? But, actually around 40% of people pay off credit cards in full every month, and over 30% of Americans own their houses outright. What Americans perceive as “normal” and acceptable is somewhat influenced by the slant the media puts on things. IMO. I am not saying the media should lie, only that how they present the truth affects the listener one way or the other.

Ron_C's avatar

@JLeslie as you know, I’m firmly on the left and I agree that seldom hear Peggy Noonan’s voice of reason. I even agree with Joe Scarborough a good deal of the time. The problem is that the religious factor is so very, very loud. If you believe them the constitution was written by orthodox Christians that based the law solely on the bible.

As for the debt, I don’t like it. Don’t forget, Clinton paid off the debt and we had a surplus when Georgie stole the election. (Yes, I’m still bitter about that). I pay off my credit card every month but I’m not running a country that suffered a tremendous loss of manufacturing. For that I hold everyone from Clinton to Bush responsible. Actually it was Reagan that started the exportation of jobs while he was in the process of killing unions.

This country should be running a deficit with infrastructure replacement and repair for two reasons, the money comes back in the form of income and sales tax, and increased jobs mean increased demand. The trick is to insure that the money stays in the country and not to allow cities like San Francisco to buy bridge spans from other countries.

JLeslie's avatar

@Ron_C Sounds reasonable, even tough I tend to hate any debt. I’ll vote for you.

Ron_C's avatar

@JLeslie I don’t think that I’d be elected or last as president if I were elected. I am to the left of Obama and you see what they do to him. I do have a valid copy of my birth certificate, I needed it to renew my passport. I would tell the truth and actually work for the middle class and minorities. They shot JFK for just thinking about getting out of Vietnam. I would expect a missle attack on my house when they hear my agenda of getting completely out of Afghanistan, Iraq, cutting back on military support for Israel, pulling most of our troops out of Europe, cut back on our troops in Japan and Korea, and severely cut back on payments to the military/industrial complex, and forbidding private prisons to operate. I would also take back our commons in Federal parks, and other places where corporations were permitted to scam the U.S. government.

While I’m at it, I would expand the Security and Exchange commission, add personnel to the IRS concentrating on large corporate taxes, bring back Glass–Steagall, eliminate capital gains for short term transactions and for hedge fund managers. That is just the start, I’m sure there are other things

ETpro's avatar

@JLeslie I think that the word “base” in political terms is the confusion. The GOP base is not all Republicans, but rather those who are such party loyalists they would vote for rabid baboon from their party in preference to a saint with shining halo from the other party. The same goes for the left wing base. It is true that the Republican base is made up mostly of the Christian right, white racists and the Neoconservatives. Interestingly, those are all droppings from the Democratic Party over time.

JLeslie's avatar

@ETpro Thanks for the link! I think most people interpret base to be the most important people to please in the party. Don’t you? So, in turn you would think that should be the majority. But, if the base is those likely to vote with the party no matter what, then I find it counterintuitive to play to them, they are the sure thing.

ETpro's avatar

@JLeslie As the article tries to explain, the base are the party faithfuls that you can count on to show up during a primary election, so politicians end up pandering to them to win enough support to get nominated. Then they are faced with the challenge of pivoting back to the center for the general election to gain the votes of independents, who make up a large and growing portion of the electorate. Little wonder so many people feel that all politicians, regardless of party, will say whatever it takes to win office.

As to who constitutes the Republican Base today, read a bit on Free Republic.

JLeslie's avatar

@ETpro Lord, I could not read that. I found it too dizzying.

ETpro's avatar

@JLeslie I’d vote for it not only as an example of far right hate speech, but as one of the most annoying website design jobs I have ever seen.

digitalimpression's avatar

” I do mind forward thinking liberal, but I can honestly say I have never heard that before. Where do you hear it?”
Tv, radio, internet.. pick a medium… but mostly it is self-professed by people on liberal Q&A websites. xD

JLeslie's avatar

@digitalimpression I find the expression offensive. I have heard people accuse the right wing of being backwards, I don’t like that much either. I don’t see how either helps during a conversation, to drive a point, or pursuade people to change an opinion. Except maybe when liberals are talking among themselves. Like when jellies were trying to explain to me why they felt Obama was right about mandating birth control in health plans. Some talked about archaic attitudes, might have used the word backwards, to describe the church’s stance. Still, it can sound offensive.

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