I've been paying scant attention to this election, and at the moment, it doesn't seem like this Santorum fellow is going to be the GOP nominee. I still think that the fact he's done as well as he has (2nd in delegates behind the presumed frontrunner, Romney), however, says a lot about the state of our union and its political situation.
Santorum is currently under fire for remarks that a fire-and-brimstone pastor said at a rally for him. The pastor said, among other things, that "we" (by "we", he means American citizens) worship Jesus Christ and that anyone who doesn't like it, such as the gay people, the liberals or the pro-abortion people, can just "get the hell out". Of course, Santorum immediately tried to distance himself from the comments that the pastor made, although you can see him in the video clapping along with everyone else. This seems a lot like the Reverend Jeremiah Wright controversy back in '08, which looked like it might have sunk then-Senator Obama's chances of being President.
But the point I wanted to make is that the success of this candidate Santorum says a lot about where our country will be headed politically in the years to come. As our economic fortunes continue to wane and our futures become more and more uncertain, I feel that a vast amount of people who still vote, will gravitate to maniacs and those who are on the religious fringe. Assuming that one will still be able to vote this November, or in 2014 or 2016, and so on. In my opinion, there is a distinct possibility that there will be a real backlash (and not one limited to the far-right) against the kinds of people that the pastor was attacking in his sermon. Joe Six-Pack, who might not have much in the way of political or social beliefs, might look at the advent in power of gay people and think, "things were okay until these people came along and started forcing their ways on us." I know that what I'm saying might sound illogical, but hard times and suffering tend to make people hold illogical opinions.
The Democrats hold a fair amount of blame, if this were to come to pass. The author Chris Hedges explains this much better than I could; he even has a book about it, "The Death of the Liberal Class", but I'll try my best to explain it. For decades, in terms of most economic issues, there is little difference between the two parties. Both the Democrats and Republicans have advocated and passed taxation and financial policies that benefit the top 1% of Americans. This has taken place as middle-class and working Americans have lost ground, as their jobs are shipped elsewhere and their income stagnates or declines. Rather than the Democrats acting as an alternative to the money-worshipping GOP, they have largely emulated their allegiances to big business. These days, the only difference between the two parties lies in the social wedge issues, like abortion and gay rights, which the Democrats usually support. Hedges refers to this as "boutique activism". And Democrats will say that the poor rural people "vote against their economic interests" when they vote Republican.
I don't agree with that. When working people are losing their jobs and seeing their incomes flatline, regardless of who is in office, they will turn to other issues in order to determine who gets their vote. If you are a strong believer in God or if you want to own guns, you will probably vote Republican.
I'm going to include two videos from Bill Maher's show, by the director Alexandra Pelosi (daughter of Nancy Pelosi). One is of voters in Mississippi, many of whom are very critical of Obama. The other is of voters in New York City, who support Obama because of the stereotype that Democrats keep people on welfare (I love the one guy who refers to government handouts as "Obama bucks"). I find a lot to dislike about both camps, but I do have a slight "less evil" preference for the New York pro-Obama crowd. At least they're honest about taking handouts, unlike the rural right-wing "get government's hands off my Medicare" types, who rail against big government while accepting any government assistance they can get.