The Republican Party has been captured by the 1%. They have become a caricature of the pinstriped, buttoned-down moderation that they stood for in the past.
Like children who want what they want regardless of the consequences, they demand nothing less than the end of the federal government, as we know it.
As Grover Norquist has written, they want to shrink it to the point where it can be drowned in a bathtub.
Mitt Romney was a moderate when he was governor of Massachusetts. Romney the Republican presidential candidate is someone else.
In the science-fiction movie Invasion of the Body Snatchers, aliens invade the earth not with military hardware but with space pods. Put the pod beside the person and that person becomes robot-like, with no independent will. It is as if someone placed a pod beside Mitt Romney. He marches to a tune dictated by a fringe, wingnuts who have become the Republican mainstream.
For the elite 1% — unblack, unsick, unpoor — the impact of a Romney victory would be that they pay less taxes. But what would be the fallout for the middle class, blacks and the poor? I recall a film, The Sum of All Fears, in which terrorists detonate a nuclear device near the port of Baltimore. For working families, especially blacks, the impact of a Romney presidency would be the realization of the sum of our fears. It would be the political equivalent of a nuclear bomb.
“When one person is sick, I cannot be well; when one person is poor I cannot be rich.” President Barack Obama’s healthcare plan writes into law the spirit of those words from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. All Americans should have the ability to see a doctor without regard to wealth or income.
But Obama’s ambitious plan to make healthcare available to all citizens has become a symbol for what the Republicans wrongly call “socialism.” It would be ground zero in the political mushroom cloud of cost-cutting that would follow Romney’s inauguration.
But it is not just healthcare; it is all entitlements. In a Romney administration, I see the Social Security Administration gone — a cost-cutting measure. All funds would likely be turned over to Wall Street, for “investment.” And not just Social Security either. The New Deal itself would be in play. Federal programs ranging from worker safety to Aid to Families with Dependent Children, everything that is conjured up by the term “social safety net,” could be gone.
As Kelsey Grammer’s character says in the TV drama Boss, “Greed has no edge, no bottom.”
The federal Department of Education would vanish, the old building leased probably to a hedge fund. Federal student loans — gone. What about the home mortgage deduction? This has meant the difference between staying afloat and drowning for more than half the American middle class.
It is so important to so many that many assume it will always be there. But a Romney presidency could be the iceberg which punches a hole in those assumptions.
Nothing would be sacred, not even the economic survival of he middle class itself. In the aftermath of a Romney election victory, the middle class would be decimated. The black middle class could virtually disappear. Third World countries have an economic structure like an hourglass: a lot of people at the top, a lot at the bottom, few in the middle.
Affirmative action would likely be a relic of history. When Jeb Bush was governor of Florida, he issued an executive order prohibiting the use of federal funds for “affirmative action.” This divisive plan was called “One Florida.” (Conservatives have a style of rhetorically framing retreat from civil rights as an advance.) Under Romney, the final assault on affirmative action might be called “One America.”
When Obama took office, I said it was morning in America. The clock of our liberty moved forward. But the America the Republicans envision is an America of the past, the kind envisioned by Archie Bunker in the TV sitcom All in the Family, the America of Herbert Hoover.
This fearful possibility is why we need to roll up our sleeves and work as hard as we can. Because, if, God forbid, Romney wins it will no longer be morning in America for blacks or the American middle class. Politically, a dark night will have begun.
Donald Jones is a professor of law at the University of Miami School of Law.