Now that I've got that last rant off of my chest, I have a few observations to make regarding where I will be spending my time and attention moving forward.
I have been at odds with the Republican party for some time now, mostly regarding their social engineering platforms. I grew up in a rural community in a very sparsely populated state, and it may surprise more than a few people that my family traditionally belongs to the Democratic Party. My Grandad was actually the chairman of the local Democratic board for many years, and was fairly active in local and statewide politics. Most of my family still consider themselves Democrats, for a variety of reasons. Many of those reasons involve the ham-fisted social engineering of the Republican party, and the tendency towards the very rich and the megacorporations that goes hand in hand with the party as it is today. While I have many faults with the Democratic Party on the Federal scale, those beliefs do not often coincide with the ground level politics of many of its members.
In the last 50 years, we have seen some pretty major shifts in the focus of the two major parties. Somehow, the 'Peace, Love, and Freedom' Democrats of the 60s and 70s have morphed into the 'Nanny State' Democrats of today. The Republican Party has shifted away from Barry Goldwater and become ever increasingly Puritan- to their detriment.
We saw this play out numerous times in this election cycle. Witness the backlash on Todd Akin for his ill-advised 'Shut that whole thing down' comment, and Richard Mourdock's 'God-Intended Baby' comment. In both these races, an ostensibly viable candidate was brought to a halt by the Republican Party's insistence on Social and Moral Engineering through government power. Other Republicans, such as Minnesota's Michelle Bachmann, faced tough races, for reasons certain to include their support for the Defense of Marriage Act (which I find a travesty on any number of levels). Social and Moral engineering is losing races for the Republican Party. Unfortunately, it is one of the few places where they place the majority of their effort. Ultimately, I expect a wholesale shift away from these morality play politics, which will leave these players high and dry, and probably end in giving away their seats to the opposing party.
To circle back, I think it is important to recall the number of people involved in the Democratic party that are NOT the major Washington DC players. I find it perfectly reasonable to believe there are large numbers of people, within the Democratic Party, who are open to ideas such as fiscal responsibility and gun rights. The reason that I find this so reasonable is that I know quite a few. Their politics, although they still differ from my own, do not align with the Party leadership. These are the people that we need to be courting. We have seen a few of them- recall the Blue Dog Democrats. While ostensibly moderates, it must be noted that many of them would make acceptable candidates on a fiscal conservative standpoint. They are also, often, from Southern states, where rural areas and gun ownership are certainly prevalent. Too, they are being weeded out in the primaries by more radical and strongly leftist mainstream Democrats.
To that end, I am considering shifting my 'Official' Party affiliation to the Democratic Party- don't get me wrong, here, I'm not changing my views, nor am I compromising my core values. I had almost as many misgivings about registering in Oregon as a Republican as I do about registering as a Democrat. But it seems to me that there are more chances to influence people on a low level in the Democratic Party. By finding ground-level Democrats that are open to reducing debt and government intrusion, and are friendly to gun rights and personal freedom, we can begin to push that party towards our end goal. There may even come a time when we can push the various portions of both parties into cooperating on our behalf- possibly even creating a strong coalition and the seeds of a new party of freedom. Rather than fighting the statist Democrats in the general election, using equally statist and repugnant Republicans, lets fight them in the Primaries, using young buck Democrats that we can convince to back our ideals. What we're doing right now isn't gaining ground- we had best watch our backs lest we lose all the ground we have made in the last 10 years. It may be time to watch the tide, and shore up our lines with a few ascendant Democrats. We know it works when it makes new shooters, maybe it will work when we make new politicians.