The Republican party's leaders (and the conservative media) uses moral issues and religious beliefs to divide voters to push their economic agenda of taxation, government spending and worker's rights — getting people to vote against their own best economic interests.
The Republican leadership knows that if someone believes birth control is immoral, and that abortion is murder (but that the death penalty is divinely sanctioned and perfectly justified), the voters will vote for Republicans, allowing them to lower tax rates on the rich, make cuts to food stamps for the poor, and pass labor union-busting laws — because for many Republican voters, that would be the lesser of two evils.
The Republican party uses wedge issues such as gay marriage, civil rights and immigration, (preying on homophobia, racism and bigotry) to divide the voters to get laws passed that primarily benefit the super-rich and the largest multi-national corporations. The Republican leadership will advocate old-fashion and superstitious beliefs (and sell snake oil if it could) to promote their economic agenda.
The Republican party uses ignorance, intolerance, media propaganda and lies to keep their voters ignorant and intolerant, the same way Southern plantation owners once tried to keep their slaves ignorant — like banning books, as they weren't allowed to learn to read and write — because knowledge is power. The Republicans play their voters like fools, making them look like "hee-haws" to the rest of nation and the world. That's why I sometimes pity them for their blind faith, lost innocence and ignorant bliss — despite how cruel their actions and words may be to others.
The Republican party claims to be the "right to life" and the "right to work" party; but once one is actually born into this life, the Republicans leave that life to survive all on its own with no support at all — but leave their working-class voters with the "right" to work for poverty wages — because forced free labor is no longer legal in this country. There are no longer slaves to lift up the boot straps of those "self-made" rich people who donate millions of dollars to Republican election campaigns.
The Republicans use gerrymandering and voter suppression laws to rig elections, because they know they can't win the majority of the popular vote in a true democracy with their economic, ideological, moral and religious agenda alone. They lie because they know the truth won't win them votes either.
The Republicans manipulate their base and prey on their ignorance and religious beliefs to win elections, the same way some religious (and/or cult) leaders uses psychology to prey on the ignorance and superstitions of their flocks — the same way ancient rulers promoted themselves as gods to the ignorant masses, sometimes using technological trickery to appear as "miracles".
During the 1930s and 1940s, most Americans (even Southerners) voted for FDR, who promoted the same progressive issues that Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders do today. That changed in the 1960s with a Democratic president from the South, because besides Social Security and Medicare, Lyndon B. Johnson also signed civil rights laws.
And since 1973 (Roe v. Wade) the Republicans have learned that they could use this moral issue to advance their economic (pro-corporate) agenda of less taxes on big businesses and the super-rich, less regulations to protect worker's rights, and smaller government to "starve the beast" (Google The Powell Memo).
The "states rights" agenda of the Tea Party today is the very same that the Southern "Dixiecrats" promoted in the 1940s, and is the same one that Southern states backed in the 1800s — when cotton was king, before a Republican president freed the black people. Both political parties are the exact opposite today.
The same way that ISIS envisions an Islamic state (caliphate) today, so do the Republicans envision America today as the Southern states of the 1800's — a more "conservative" time in U.S. history. But America is supposed to be a democracy (governed by a majority), not a theocracy that's governed by religious fervor (with a separation of church and state); but now the Republicans are passing their so-called "religious freedom" laws. And the conservative media has been making their false claims about a "war on religion" and a "war on Christmas" for years, further dumbing down the Republican voters.
The mainstream media, ever so careful to be "politically correct", sometimes gives these antiquated Republican zealots equal air-time on cable news, and often without opposing views from a Democrat in a debate, further allowing these Tea Party types to push forward their twisted form of government. The media often uses the word "congress" rather than specifically blaming "Republicans" when a bill doesn't come up for a vote, or whether or not one fails or passes as a law.
The Republicans have shown for the past 40 (or so) years that their ideas of "trickle down" economics don't work at all. Most working-class people who have lived and worked in the U.S. since the 1970s are all well aware of this — as union membership peaked in 1979 and has declined ever since—almost parallel to when wages began to decline and the middle-class began to shrink.
Republican voters (and leaders) use birth control. Republican voters (and leaders) get abortions. As a percentage of the population, there are probably just as many gay people in Republican and Southern Baptist families as there are in any other family. All the perceived evils that Republican voters find in the Democrats can also be found in the Republican leadership (or in a mirror). But a Republican can't pick and choose which "sins" they will oppose and which sins they will favor. Sin is sin, and we are all guilty of sin (If shooting your neighbor was legal, would you shoot your neighbor?)
Republican party leaders are fully aware of the moral dilemmas some of these good people face, but uses that (as well as other voter's ignorance, bigotry, racism, and intolerance) to get their true agenda advanced — which mostly favors big business and the super-rich — and all at the peril of working-class and poor Americans (of ALL color) when it comes to government regulations, laws and programs that would mostly benefit them — such as wages, healthcare, Social Security and Medicare.
During the days of Ronald Reagan, because he appeared so affable, friendly and strong (and humorous), he was my hero. I wasn't very politically astute in those days. But ever since that time (especially since the days of George W. Bush), I've educated myself with a lot of reading — and I was shocked to learn just how ignorant I once was! I discovered that the Republican leadership preys on the ignorant; and promotes ignorance, fear and hate — just so they can prey on it. I was once a Republican voter. Now I'm here to help educate Republican voters, so that they too can see the light.
Don't misunderstand me — I'm not at all happy with Democrats like Hillary Clinton either (who promotes the same economic agenda as "moderate" Republicans do). I much prefer someone who holds the same values as FDR or LBJ (or Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders) — those who promote and advocate issues that benefits ALL people equally, not JUST the big corporations and the very rich.
In four consecutive elections, FDR won almost every state in a landslide (including all Southern States). But if FDR were running for president in 2016, the Republicans and talking heads on Fox News would most likely label him as a far-left wing loon and a socialist (just like they do Obama); and probably claim FDR favors allowing pedophiles to freely roam our neighborhoods, just to get voters to put them in power.
Maybe with the exception of "Bush One", Dwight "Ike" D. Eisenhower may have been the last morally decent Republican president we've had:
Wiki: Throughout his presidency, Eisenhower adhered to a political philosophy of dynamic conservatism. He continued all the major New Deal programs still in operation, especially Social Security. He expanded its programs and rolled them into a new cabinet-level agency, the Department of Health, Education and Welfare — while extending benefits to an additional ten million workers. He also implemented integration in the Armed Services in two years, which had not been completed under Truman. As the 1954 congressional elections approached, and it became evident that the Republicans were in danger of losing their thin majority in both houses, Eisenhower was among those blaming the Old Guard for the losses, and took up the charge to stop suspected efforts by the right wing to take control of the GOP. Ike then articulated his position as a moderate, progressive Republican: "I have just one purpose ... and that is to build up a strong progressive Republican Party in this country. If the right wing wants a fight, they are going to get it ...either this Republican Party will reflect progressivism or I won't be with them anymore."
Ever since Ike, the Republican leadership will say and do anything (right or wrong, true or false) to promote their economic agenda that mostly favors big business and the very rich over everybody else — including lying to and manipulating their own base, while preying on their fears and moral beliefs. To me, that's one of the most despicable things one person can do to another. Especially just to feed the rich while starving the poor.
Now we have a Canadian-born Tea Party opportunist running for the President of the Untied States. At least Obama was born in America. Hawaii became a State on August 21, 1959 — 2 years before Obama was born there on August 4, 1961 — when my family and I had lived there, while my father was stationed at Hickam Air Force Base. Will Donald Trump (especially if he ever decides to fake running for president again) demand to see Ted Cruz's long-form birth certificate, just to be sure he was a foreign-born immigrant?