To the right-wing, Democrat votes don't count

To many of today’s MAGA Republicans, only certain opinions matter when it comes to the big issues

Published June 4, 2022 4:00AM (EDT)

Make America Great Again Hats on Ground (Getty/David McNew)
Make America Great Again Hats on Ground (Getty/David McNew)

This article originally appeared on AlterNet.

When Joe Biden was hitting the campaign trail in 2020, he bragged about how — during his decades in the U.S. Senate — he was able to work with right-wing Republicans, find common ground and get productive legislation passed. Many of today's MAGA Republicans, in contrast, brag about refusing to compromise with Democrats and act as though millions of Democratic voters simply don't exist or don't matter.

That mindset was evident when Gavin Wax, president of the New York Young Republican Club, made a June 2 appearance on One America News — a cable news outlet that's known for promoting far-right conspiracy theories and prides itself on being to the right of Fox News and Fox Business. OAN's Kara McKinney brought Wax on the show "Tipping Point," which she hosts, to discuss gun control, and Wax's comments went beyond the usual gun lobby and National Rifle Association (NRA) talking points.

Wax told McKinney, "We certainly have a lower rate of mass shooting from many other countries across the world, and if you take out some of the big cities in the U.S. and the gang and drug-related instances of mass shootings, the United States is actually one of the safest places in the world. But of course, you know, the Democrats and the media are going to politicize and weaponize this issue because their end goal is to disarm law-abiding U.S. citizens and make us a less free country as a result."

First, the U.S. is much more violent than countries in Europe are known for being. Residents of the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Austria, Sweden and many other European countries are horrified by how common mass shootings are in the U.S., where a May 24 mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas left 19 children and two teachers dead. It came less than two weeks after a May 14 mass shooting in Buffalo, New York that claimed ten lives.

Second, Wax's comments showed total indifference to residents of major urban areas, many of whom vote Democrat. Those comments reflect a MAGA mindset that the concerns of voters don't count if they live in large cities.

But Wax is hardly the only Republican who thinks that way. Just as Wax implied that voters who are worried about violence don't count if they are urban dwellers, Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana recently commented that his state's high rate of maternal mortality isn't bad if you don't focus too heavily on African-American women.

Cassidy, in May, told Politico that when it comes to pregnancy-related deaths, "If you correct our population for race, we're not as much of an outlier as it'd otherwise appear."

Journalist Tat Bellamy-Walker, reporting on Cassidy for NBC News, explained, "Louisiana has some of the highest Black maternal death rates in the country. A report from the state's health department shows that four Black mothers die for every White mother and two Black babies die for every one White baby. In the United States, Black mothers are three times more likely to die in childbirth than White mothers."

The fact that so many of the maternal deaths in Louisiana involve African-American women doesn't mean that Louisiana doesn't have a major problem with maternal deaths; in fact, it underscores the problem.

Following the 2020 presidential election, far-right Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a lawsuit seeking to throw out millions of votes in four states that Biden won: Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Georgia. The fact that Biden was the clear favorite in Philadelphia, Detroit, Milwaukee and Atlanta — all of which have a lot of Black voters — didn't matter to Paxton, who couldn't have cared less about the will of voters in those cities. And he wanted their votes invalidated.

In a op-ed/essay published by the New York Times on June 3, journalist Mimi Swartz — executive editor of the Texas Monthly — expresses her extreme frustration with Gov. Greg Abbott, arguing that he is totally indifferent to millions of Texans who aren't "hard-right culture warriors."

During his June 2 appearance on OAN, Wax angrily railed against "RINOs" (Republican in Name Only) who are willing to work with Democrats on gun control legislation. Wax's mindset is very much an us-versus-them mentality, and in today's Republican Party, it isn't at all uncommon.

By Alex Henderson

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