All you have to do is look at their official state party platforms. The platforms are typically wish lists forged at multiple levels: I’ve been involved a little bit with our local Minnesota DFL, and anyone can show up and propose an addition to the party platform, which means you’ve usually got a few pie-in-the-sky items suggested…and those all get voted on at the local convention and then at the state convention, and the wackier or excessively improbable items get winnowed away in the voting. If you look at the Minnesota DFL platform, for instance, you find a rather idealistic document that gives you an idea of what the Democratic electorate wants to do. It’s not entirely practical (“We oppose terrorism” isn’t exactly breaking news), but it’s at least representative of a liberal/progressive party, and I’m not at all embarrassed to be part of that political party.
Look at the Texas Republican platform, and you see something different: they’re for God and guns, and against gays and Darwin. It seems to be a nationwide theme for Republicans. The Montana Republican platform is in the news because it actually endorses something entirely illegal.
At a time when gays have been gaining victories across the country, the Republican Party in Montana still wants to make homosexuality illegal.
The party adopted an official platform in June that keeps a long-held position in support of making homosexual acts illegal, a policy adopted after the Montana Supreme Court struck down such laws in 1997.
Like I said, party platforms often aren’t practical guidelines for specific legislative action, but they do reflect the will of that segment of the electorate. The heartening part of this news, though, is that at least some Republicans are embarrassed by their own party platform. Now if only the ones who favor such medieval nonsense would split off and join a new party (Teabaggers!) and let the Republicans equilibrate back to something slightly more sensible.