Since the first year of George W. Bush's presidency in 2001, the Republican Party has maintained its support only among frequent churchgoers, with conservatives and senior citizens showing minimal decline.
So in short, the GOP resembles a Christian nursing home. Well, let me say it louder, then: GOOD LUCK WITH THAT!
This certainly explains Tennessee’s Republican majority. We’re the buckle of the Bible belt, 13% of our population is over age 65 and we’re predominantly white. Little surprise that our Republican-controlled legislature is discussing abortion restrictions as I write this; we’ve legalized carrying handguns everywhere save the state capitol, and the state Senate is set to vote on a resolution rejecting federal cap-and-trade legislation. Can they even do that? Who knows. Says the bill’s sponsor:
"The federal government can't make us do anything," he said. "But what they can do is hold a bunch of federal money hostage. And that's how they make us comply with every other thing they make us comply with."
Uh, duh. You don’t have to take the money, dude. Maybe now that we’ve declared our sovereignty, we shouldn’t be taking it, anyway.
I’m not serious about that last bit, of course, but I have to wonder: as Tennessee Republicans go further into the land of the lost, and nationally Republicans have become the political refuge of old religious conservatives, what will happen here at home? Will Tennessee eventually turn around as national trends take root here? Or are we so deeply stuck in the mud that we like a legislature that can’t focus on turning our economy around but saves all its energy and focus for ideological battles?
In short, has Tennessee become that vast hole into which what remains of the GOP has crawled? Or is there a chance the current crop of ideologues will be shown the door?