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NAT’L – GUN POLITICS – If Biden wins, he must defuse the wedge problems that divide America.

Toward the end of the 1970s, the Republican Party faced an existential crisis. Stagnating wages, declining jobs and growing inequality meant that the Democrats, long considered champions of the working class, would soon see Americans fleeing the GOP-which many saw as the party of big business and corporations. Without the politicization of religion (1979) and arms (1977), the Republican Party might have lapsed into insignificance in the mid-1980s. But in 1980, the newly rising “religious right” mobilized millions of previously apolitical evangelicals, who promoted Ronald Reagan to the White House. Like its youngest followers, the Republican Party was reborn. The politicization of arms in the late 1970s only served to swell the ranks of the GOP. The subsequent rise of the one-question policy heralded an amazing phenomenon: Millions of Americans began to vote against their economic interests. Over the next four decades, the focus on the newly controversial issues of arms and abortion obscured the transfer of $50 trillion from hard-working Americans to the top 1 percent. As inequality grew and the evisceration of the American middle class accelerated, some right-wing activists began to turn to xenophobic rhetoric. Today, this triad of Keil issues-weapons, abortion and racial identity-continues to distract millions of Americans amid catastrophic public health failures, a litany of scandals and, most importantly, growing inequality. Should Joe Biden win the 2020 elections, he will need to put a laser-like focus on America’s wedge problems. If he does not do so, the extreme political polarization that the United States suffers from will only deepen and remain a strong political undercurrent. Worst of all, if the rhetoric about racial identity becomes increasingly bitter, ideological violence could rise to ever higher levels.  [full article]

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