Republican Power and Evangelical Influence

1.  The Republicans have been accused of "turbo-charged" gerrymandering in order to hold on to their state and federal offices, and the two states which seem to critics to exemplify their approach are Pennsylvania and North  Carolina.  The New York Times provides, as might be expected, excoriating commentary on both situations, suggesting that Republicans are no longer just about holding power but about de-legitimising their opponents.

At stake are not just hundreds of state legislative seats, but also control of the House of Representatives, which Republicans currently hold by a 45-seat margin.

The most shocking case is playing out right now in Pennsylvania, where Republican lawmakers in 2011 created maps so skewed that when Democrats won a majority of the popular vote the following year, it translated into only five of the state’s 18 congressional seats.

But when the Pennsylvania Supreme Court struck down the districts, the Republicans were ready.  After their appeal to the US Supreme Court was struck down by none other than Samuel Alito, they moved against the elected Pennsylvania judges:

A Republican legislator this week moved to impeach the five Pennsylvania justices who voted to strike down the maps, on the grounds that they “engaged in misbehavior in office.” 

And if Pennsylvania sounds bad, how about North Carolina, where electors put a Democrat, Roy Cooper, into the state house as Governor, only to have the gerrymandered state legislature quickly strip the office of as many powers as possible before Cooper took office.

Democracy in America?  Not going terribly well, it would seem.

2.  Meanwhile, evangelicals continue to parade their support of Donald Trump.  

America's fundamentalist protestant Christians have a habit of preferring non-religious presidents like Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump, both divorcees who could hardly be seen as exemplars of Christian teaching on marriage.  In Trump, they have managed to find a leader to support who has committed serial ethics violations, engages in abusive personal tweets, and can rarely be found holding to truth.  

Evangelical leaders claim they do not want to judge Trump as an individual, not a tolerance they held towards Bill Clinton, or to any American citizens who happen to be gay.  

In abandoning any moral stance whatsoever, evangelicals have at least revealed their colours as a partisan pressure group which merely holds its religious statements up as an umbrella for its political activism, rather than as a serious set of principles to live by.  Atheists must be delighted at their overt outing.  


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