Illustration for article titled This Is Actually The Point
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Do not despair, Americans—the Republicans systematically tearing down our civil rights and social safety net will surely be vulnerable once they have achieved every last one of their stated goals.


There is a particular sort of mind disease that afflicts people who spend too much time engaged in Politics As a Board Game—pundits and professional political functionaries who slowly lose the ability to relate politics to actual lives, and begin to see the entire enterprise as little more than a back-and-forth ballgame. This disease causes people to view political issues not as ends in themselves, but rather as tools whose value is completely dependent on how they effect the next political election. They come to see the results of having power as things that only have instrumental, rather than intrinsic, value. Politics, to them, is just another inning of baseball to be won, and the only thing that really matters is who is putting up points.

An incredible example of how extreme this warped vision can get is Carol Sanger’s New York Times op-ed yesterday, in which she actually cautions Republicans that overturning Roe v. Wade could be “bad news for Republicans” because it might end up hurting Republicans politically—it could, she warns, “deprive the far right of one of its most crowd-pleasing, rabble-rousing, go-to issues,” and even “energize [women] to elect more Democrats who will support reproductive rights.”


This is like warning a boxer that knocking out his opponent might be a bad idea because it would just motivate the other guy to train harder later. It misses the entire point of what the person is engaged in. This is how dark and twisted political logic can get when you forget that the point of politics is to achieve policy goals, not vice versa. What Carol Sanger is actually saying to Republicans is, “Be careful—if you win, you will have already won.”

I do not imagine the right wing Christians who have strategically allied themselves with the party of the rich for decades in order to achieve this very goal will be too persuaded by this argument.

The Republican Party is a thoroughly cynical vehicle for lowering the taxes of the wealthy and removing any barriers to maximum profitability of businesses. Because these goals are obviously not attractive to a majority of the population, the party uses social conservatism, racism, and xenophobia as tools to attract the popular vote. Embracing the goal of outlawing abortion has allowed a decidedly un-Jesus-like party to earn millions of votes from hardcore Christians for many years. They don’t vote Republican because they like the colors of the yard signs. They don’t want a right wing Supreme Court because they think it’s fun. They don’t scream at scared women walking into abortion clinics because they need a hobby. This is what it’s all about. This is the policy calculation that allows the Republican Party to claim it can serve god and money. It is the thing that all of these people have been trying to accomplish. Accomplishing it is not something you need to warn them against. It is what they want. A child can understand this. The only person who cannot understand this is someone who has forgotten the fact that you win elections in order to change the world, not the other way around.

Senior Writer.

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