As one who follows US politics, I think we’re seeing an interesting phenomenon in the Republican leadership race – the chickens are coming home to roost. For the past thirty years or more, the Republicans have catered (pandered?) to the Christian Right, specifically targeting evangelical born-agains, to mobilize a high-voter-turnout segment of the population with hot-button issues like gay marriage and abortion. That this has largely worked is easy to see by looking at the division between red and blue states on these issues. That it was a cynical move simply to harness a voter base is obvious now that an actual evangelical, a guy that actually believes the stuff, is leading the leadership race and open panic in Washington is setting in. Huffpost and TPM have good summaries of the fun and games.
Where this goes is anybody’s guess. If Huckabee does win the leadership, my feeling is that he will have his ass handed to him by whoever the Dems put up, even Hillary. If this happens, it will be a watershed moment for the cozy relationship between the evangelicals and the Republican Party – the Republicans do not like to lose, and they wouldn’t think twice about chewing off the limb that holds them in the trap. Of course they wouldn’t openly cut their ties, but things will frost over and that voter block will likely once again become mobile.
What happens next is simple conjecture. The “Christian Right” might dissolve as a voting block, some voters staying Republican, others drifting toward centerist Democrats, and others just not voting, but I would not be all that surprised at all to see a powerful third-party movement arise.
I simply don’t want to think about a Huckabee Administration. I just heard Ron Paul ominously quoting Sinclair Lewis – “if fascism arrives in the US, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross”. He’s absolutely right, of course – anyone that thinks fascism can’t happen here because we don’t have German or Italian accents is a fool.