Dear GOP/Tea Party

I know it’s generally bad practice to take advice from one’s opponents, so feel free to take the following with a grain of salt…but we need to talk.

After your ideological allies on the Supreme Court struck down section four of the voting rights last summer, there was the flurry of voter-suppression laws that could have been (indeed WAS) easily predicted. In many areas where the GOP is still dominant (and where the voting rights act had up until that point been preventing exactly such things), new voter-suppression laws sprang up almost overnight. Yes, Attorney General Eric Holder said afterwards that he will continue to vigorously defend the voting rights of everyone with what remains of the tools in his kit — as he should.

But let’s be frank with one another for a moment here, GOP. You know, and I know, and everyone else who’s paying attention knows that Holder’s actions are an attempt to prevent you from stacking the deck in your favor. You folks have talked for years in vague but threatening-sounding terms about “voter fraud,” while providing scant evidence that such a thing actually exists in the real world.  In fact, hard evidence from voter registrars or secretaries of state of documented cases where specific individuals tried to vote twice intentionally, or vote where they weren’t registered, are so rare that it’s no wonder you can’t provide much in the way of documentary evidence to support your claims of rampant voter fraud. No, you want to make it harder for young people (students) and minority voters and poorer voters to vote because you know if they vote in large numbers, you lose.

Think about that for a moment: if people vote the way it was always intended that we vote in this country – as a whole, all of us – you tend to get shellacked.

So I’m going to put this as bluntly as I possibly can, just so there’s no confusion: if the only way you can win is by cheating or rigging the game in your favor, your ideas suck.

One of these days, you’re going to realize that. To be honest, I strongly suspect most of you may already have realized it on some level. If you hadn’t realized it, you wouldn’t be gerrymandering and suppressing voting rights so vigorously and consistently. Some of the smarter among you may even have realized it on a more-conscious level. Yet the public-facing marching orders and positions of the GOP remain unchanged. However, you can only lean so hard, for so long, on a dwindling majority of disaffected, conservative white voters, while suppressing all others. Nixon’s “silent majority” is a majority no longer — or at least that is fast becoming true. One of these days, you’re going to have to actually adapt your message to appeal to the electorate as it IS, not as you wish it still were or fondly remember it to be, if you do not wish to go the way of the Whigs.

I’m just a few years shy of fifty, and virtually all I’ve seen from you that entire time are bogus investigative witch hunts and sham impeachment trials, flag-sucking, jingoistic paranoia and xenophobia, and a fear of change or even of anything simply different from you, which results in everything from red-baiting to homophobia to voter suppression and anti-immigrant hysteria. You’ve let so many opportunities to do better, to engage more fully, pass you by that I gave up some time ago hoping the revanchist conservative movement in America could be reasoned with. Now, I just hope your intransigence and unwillingness to see clearly the reckoning that is coming lasts long enough to be your undoing, to cement a rejection of the conservative/GOP mindset in the minds of America’s changing electorate as the toxic ideological swamp that it has been in practice for so many decades now.

Seriously, you’ve convinced me. If the behavior of the GOP and especially the conservative movement since the Reagan era has taught me anything, it’s that you won’t give this up willingly. You truly believe it is your (near-divine) right to rule this country, regardless of what the polls or even elections say. As if the old conservative slogan “take it from my cold, dead hands” shouldn’t have been enough of a clue for anyone paying attention. No, by now, I believe you: you’ve convinced me you’ll fight until your dying breath, and you truly do not care what anyone else thinks, says or even how they vote.

Well…good for you, I guess. When I was younger, I longed for an invigorating national political discourse which would strengthen the country as a result of the robust exchange of views and resultant give and take. But I learned that all you want is your way or the highway, 100% of the time, and to destroy ideas like some of the ones I favor beyond the power of memory to recall they even existed. So now I simply urge you to keep on with this dead-enderism that, even into the Bush years, so frustrated me. It will only make the coming fall that much harder for you. In the end, that may be the only thing that truly gets your attention.