Voter Turn-out Question

Looking forward to the 2008 presidential election, which party do you think would suffer more from low voter turn-out …

The Dems if they nominated a candidate who was more moderate on the war than the left-wing would like.

or

The Pubs if they nominated a candidate who was more moderate on the social issues like abortion and gay rights than the right-wing would like.

Please try to stay away from the liklihood of either happening at least for a little while.

Perhaps imponderable. The most zealous voters are always the ones likeliest to turn out, but “zealous” does not always equate to “extreme.”

Previously, I would have said that the Democrats would suffer more. Democratic voters have shown a far greater willingness to break from the common herd, think independently of the party leaders, and withhold their votes if they don’t like what they see. Republican voters, on the other hand, show up regularly to vote for the candidate with an ‘R’ next to their name, even if what they’re getting is higher federal spending, new government programs, and seeming indifference to the traditional beliefs of the Republican Party.

Lately, concerning those Republican voters, I’ve started wondering if there is madness in their method. By all accounts, President Bush and congressional Republicans haven’t implemented much conservative legislation, but they have replaced two moderate Supreme Court justices with right-wingers. That gives four dependable right-wing votes (Scalia, Thomas, Roberts, Alito), so they only need to replace one more and they’ll have an unstoppable majority of five. At that point, the Supreme Court can simply impose whatever beliefs it likes on the country, and there won’t be any democratic means by which the people can stop it.

In that way, the attitude of those voters makes perfect sense. They aren’t getting legislation from Congress; rather, they expect to get it from the bench. With all their hopes pinned on the Supreme Court, they wouldn’t risk a social moderate President. Such a president might choose a consensus judicial nominee who the entire nation could support–conservatives’ worst nightmare. I think the Pat Robertson/Ann Coulter wing of the party would defect in that case.

From their POV that’s what we’ve got now. Their objection is not so much to the fact of the SC’s power but to the content of its decisions since the '50s; the latter is what they want to change.

I like to believe that the justices are sensible enough to put their personal opinions aside and focus on the law. (I’m an optimist that way, much like Anne Frank saying that all people are good at heart right before the Nazis killed her.)

That’s why the question-and-answer sessions before congress have always been so frustrating for me. “How would you vote on Roe V. Wade?” Any candidate who could give you a flat answer for that is a bad one. The right answer, in my opinion, is “I dunno. I’d have to see the particular case and what area of the law they’re challenging and on what basis.” But of course, people would get angry with such an answer, seeing it as evasive.

The question they should ask is: “Are you able to put aside your personal feelings about an issue and decide based on the law and the Constitution?”

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Come to think of it, why hasn’t that come before the Court yet since Roberts was confirmed?

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Okay, perhaps it’s too severe to say that five strongly conservative judges would “impose their beliefs”. In some cases, the Republicans’ goal with respect to the Supreme Court is to overturn a decision, such as Roe v. Wade or Lawrence v. Texas. That way, they could get the issue handed back to the states, and abortion and gay sex would be outlawed in some parts of the country. In other cases, however, they’re looking for a chance to impose their will nationwide from the federal level. For instance, the administration’s War on Porn aims to outlaw all pornography in the United States, and only first amendment concerns prevent that. The goal is to create a Supreme Court that won’t accept first amendment defenses of pornography. (Mind, I’m not saying that I’m sure five conservative justices would do that, but there’s no doubt that many on the religious right are hoping for it.)

Ooh, yeah! Say, what ever happened to that? The porn industry ain’t hurtin’ from what I’ve seen (which is a great deal, believe you me! :wink: ).