Republican Party Members: An Ethnographic Essay
Even more Americans than ever before were interested in political issues in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election. The spread of social media is one of the critical factors that has affected this involvement. Americans participated in conversations over the country’s most urgent social, political, and economic problems. The major political parties in America have essentially split the political landscape into two camps: Democrats and Republicans. Democrats are liberals who advocate for improvements to most social, economic, and political problems, while Republicans prefer to keep things as they are. This paper is an ethnographic analysis of the discourses employed by democrat communities on social media. The paper will focus the articulation of issues by these individuals on Twitter on three major issues: gun control, abortion and immigration. It will also rely on articles and spoken discourses by some of the senior members of the party. The paper will review how the community uses and produces written discourses and language to express itself.
Social Media Use
Twitter is a platform where individuals can post their opinions and experiences which are then viewed by all the users. Many members of the republican party have used this platform to express their views on the key issues affecting the country. Donald Trump (Twitter handle @realDonaldTrump), one of the senior members of the Republican Party who was later elected president, tweeted in February 2013, “Republicans must be careful with immigration—don’t give our country away.” The tweet showed that Trump was advocating for stricter immigration laws. His sentiment was supported by another Republican Party supporter named Jose, of Twitter handle @jar884, who replied, “Coming to the USA is a PRIVILEGE not a right…you should comply with the Law if you want to come and stay!” A look at Jose’s other tweets reveal that he is a staunch supporter of the Republican party. The two social media posts were used to convince other Americans to support the push for stricter immigration rules. Many republicans believe that immigrants are to blame for a reasonable number of social, economic and political problems facing Americans.
On November 5 2017, Marcus, on the twitter handle @marcushjohnson, put up a tweet stating that there is need to put up a gun control law. Stingy Brim (@StingyBrimllc), another twitter user whose posts show that he is a staunch Republican party supporter, replied to Marcus, “What law would have prevented this? Be specific. Murder is already illegal.” Stingy’s tweet showed that he was satisfied with the current laws on guns in the country and that there was no need for stricter gun control laws. On October 2 2017, the twitter handle @goldengateblond posted, “Only Thing That Stops A Bad Guy With A Gun Is A Good Guy With A Gun.” This argument was put out justifying gun ownership by some Americans. The owner of the handle was trying to demonstrate that there was need for the population to be allowed to own guns in order to defend themselves from gun violence. In some instances, conservative Americans on social media have brought up debates on multiple issues to counter arguments put forward by Republicans and other individuals who hold contrary views. On October 6 2017, Bess Kalb (@bessbell) put up a post on twitter imitating how Republicans get abusive on issues regarding abortion and maternal care and divert all the attention to blocking any efforts to have gun control. Tony Shaffer, on the twitter handle @T_S_P_O_O_K_Y replied, “Sure – when the government starts paying for my ammunition I will support them paying for your abortions and birth control.” There are many such instances where the republicans have had to challenge members of the Democrat party and other individuals opposed to the conservative agenda.
Articles on the Internet and the Mainstream Media
Dave Andrusko, one of the members of the republican party who has been vocal on the pro-life campaign, write an article expressing that most of the Americans were pro-life. Just like Republic members on twitter, Andrusko attacks Democratic party politicians who believe that most Americans support abortion. In his article, he claims that the fact that Democrats have won elections in areas where the pro-life/pro-choice debate dominated the campaigns demonstrated that most of the Americans are against abortion, especially beyond the first trimester. Democrats have accused the republicans of an intention to ban abortion entirely (Basset, n.p). Articles such as the one by Andrusko are meant to persuade Americans into supporting the pro-life mission and clarifying on some of the issues that they feel the Democrats were misrepresenting to the people to undermine the popularity of the Republican party.
An article by Paul Bedard was published on the official Republican Party website in October 2017. The article has some similarities with that of Andrusko as it seeks to demonstrate that many Americans support the position of the party on immigration. According to Bedard (2017), 70% of Americans are in support of stricter immigration policies and the methods proposed by Trump to reduce the number of foreigners entering the country. Bedard responds to two Democratic Party senators, Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, who had claimed that that a large number of Americans opposed Trump’s first efforts in office to come up with stricter immigration laws. Bedard uses the opportunity, just like the social media users, to defend other Democratic Party policies by stating that all their views reflect those of the majority population.
John Lott, one of the Republic party supporters and a crusader for less strict gun laws, wrote an article claiming that the Democrats were ignoring some of the facts that prove that Americans need guns in relation to the Sutherland Springs church shooting. According to Lott (n.p) the church shooting would have been more fatal if the man with a gun would not have chased away the attacker. The sentiments in Lott’s article are similar to those posted on twitter by @goldengateblond which stated, “Only Thing That Stops A Bad Guy With A Gun Is A Good Guy With A Gun.” This shows that many republican party members agree on most of the issues affecting the country. They push for their agenda and beliefs by putting forward claims on social media and other platforms and tackling the ideas of the members of the Democratic party and other individuals who have liberal views on issues.
Political debates on key issues affecting the country were mainly undertaken by senior politicians. The advent of social media has changed this as many Americans can engage each other on these issues on various social media platforms. Both junior and senior members of the republican party have been vocal on these platforms to defend the position and actions of their party. The senior politicians have also continued with the debate to justify their actions and push for the support of their agenda through other traditional means of communication such as media conferences and columns in major newspapers.
Andrusko, Dave. Pro-Abortion Democrats in a Panic Day Before the Virginia Gubernatorial Election. LifeNews.com, November 6, 2017. http://www.lifenews.com/2017/11/06/pro-abortion-democrats-in-a-panic-day-before-the-virginia-gubernatorial-election/. Accesed 11 Nov, 2017.
Basset, Laura. Here’s Why the House Is Considering A 6-Week Abortion Ban. Huffington post, November 1, 2017. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/house-abortion-ban-6-weeks_us_59f9ff79e4b00c6145e351cb. Accessed 11 Nov. 2017.
Bedard, Paul. Immigration. Republican National Committee, October 9, 2017. https://www.gop.com/issue/immigration/. Accessed 11 Nov. 2017.
Hershey, Marjorie Randon. Party politics in America. Taylor & Francis, 2017.
Lott, John. Texas shooting: Liberal media fixates on laws that wouldn’t have stopped attack, ignores good guy with gun. Fox News, November 7, 2017. Accessed 11 Nov. 2017.