Politicians in the Republican Party of today know that their party has travelled too far to the right. They know that the ideologies espoused by their tea party base are out of touch with the majority of voters. This is why you get Republican senators who in the 90’s were in favor a health care reform, but now oppose essentially the same legislation. A Republicans biggest fear is not a government take over, the erosion of family values, or even losing to a democrat in the next election. With districts being so well Gerrymandered Republicans fear their own; they fear a challenge from the right, they fear their own primaries. Just ask former six term Senator Dick Lugar. He lost to Richard Murdock, a tea-party affiliated candidate who beat him in a landslide in his primary.
This is why you get Republicans who vote very conservatively, and brag about that record in the primary, but then claim to be bipartisan and moderate in the general elections. Political junkies know this, it is apparent to us, and we understand that this is a necessity of being a politician in today’s age. We tell our political junkie friends. We discuss how transparent their ploys are over coffee. We do this, all the while complaining and wondering why “normal” people, people who do not read all the local blogs, don’t see through these transparent moves. We reside in our echo chamber complaining about why more people don’t vote, why they don’t see the logic in our policy positions, and how they don’t see through the flip-flopping and hypocrisy.
We as political junkies, on campaigns, on the hill, as lobbyists, as lifelong activists lack perspective of the “common man”. Three percent of voter eligible people voted in this last off year primary and that same percentage of the people determined the democratic nominees for every state position. Republicans have an even lower percentage of people determining their candidates (Incidentally this is why they got stuck with Ken Cuccinelli and E.W. Jackson). We know why these people were chosen and we saw the writing on the wall. But what all of us junkies don’t do, is an effective job of explaining all of this to the “common man”. Instead of effectively communicating with them we just sit there like Jane Goodall studying them, watching them, but not understanding why they don’t see what we see.
In the 34th district we have a prime example of this. Del. Barbara Comstock has voted for the personhood bill, to allow guns in bars, to repeal one-gun-a-month, against the bipartisan transportation bill, against teacher pay raises, against lowering classroom sizes, and to block implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Yet if you asked the “common man” in McLean, Loudoun, Tysons, they will tell you how nice she is, they will cite stories about how she brought attention to Lyme Disease. And when you tell them about her voting record, they will chase you down the street yelling at you, calling you are a liar. We wonder how could they be this naïve? How could they not have gone through the truly terrible lis.virginia.gov website to find the answers? The answer is because we have not done our job. We talk to each other forming an echo chamber, instead of talking to the voters, dispelling the “moderate” myth, exposing how each of these votes will negatively impact them. We must leave our echo chamber and work to dispel the “moderate” myth.