Thursday 30 August 2012

US Elections: Why the Republican Party scares me

We're entering the home straight in the US Presidential elections. Mitt Romney has finally been confirmed as the Republican nominee at this week's national convention in Tampa Florida.

US politics feels like an never ending story of Presidential campaigning. No sooner has one election been won, the cycle immediately begins again.

Romney is the reluctant choice for many Republicans. It's like a 'marriage of convenience'. There's no great love for him from grassroots conservatives and Republicans but they accept he's their best chance of beating Obama.

Romney doesn't worry me too much. He comes across as fairly moderate conservative; one that struggles to connect with ordinary Americans. It's the Republican party behind him that's the real concern.

The party's been hijacked by radical right wingers and elements of the Tea Party, moderate conservatives voices have been purged. The result is a party that looks ridiculously extremist and out of touch to many foreign observers.

Why are they so extremist? I'll explain.

Reading the weekly column by US political commentator Andrew Sullivan in the Sunday Times, he described some of the following policies Republicans are advocating.

  • Climate change is a hoax.

  • On immigration, the party supports a wall across the southern border of the country, and the deportation of the nation's 11m illegal immigrants.

  • On the budget deficit and debt, the party refuses to look at tax increases to raise revenues. This despite the fact that tax revenues are at a lower proportion of GDP than at any time in the past 50 years!

  • They want to repeal the health insurance Act introduced by Obama. This allowed 30m of America's poor to have access to health insurance.

  • A constitutional amendment to ban any legal recognition of gay couples in any state.
  • On foreign policy - more Jewish settlement on the West Bank, and a possible war with Iran

  • To quote John McEnroe from his 1980s tennis playing days: 'You can not be serious'

    This party should be unelectable but as things stand Romney is running neck and neck with Obama for the November election. How is this possible?

    Obama is still favourite, but there's still a real possibility of the Republicans winning the White House.

    If you're not scared you should be.


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