It’s no secret that the Republican Party has a problem connecting with the modern world. They have an extremely strong anti-intellectual streak that denies climate change and even evolution, they are stuck in the stone age on marriage equality, and that whole “war on women” thing is still haunting them today. But the issue that the GOP is most backward on is also arguably the most harmful: the war on drugs. This may be highlighted October 28 at the debates, being held in Boulder, Colorado, the most pot-friendly city in the most pot-friendly state in the nation.
Some candidates have made no bones about their opposition to federalism and states’ rights on the issues, most prominently Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey who, were it not for Donald Trump, would be the most abrasive and out-of-touch candidate out there. Other candidates have issues with it as well. Trump, Ben Carson, and Carly Fiorina, among others, have each stated their opposition to personal liberty on the matter of legal weed.
Whether or not the issue is broached in the debate tonight is still a matter of, well, debate, though the venue would suggest that it will at least be touched on. After all, refusing to address the issue that has most defined the state of Colorado over the past few years is like putting a lampshade on the elephant in the room. The state has experienced inarguable, enormous success by legalizing weed. Colorado remains an important swing state as well, unlike other pro weed states like Washington, Oregon, and Alaska which are all but guaranteed to go to one party or another.
This has led to two separate groups–one pro-prohibition and one pro-individual rights–releasing their ranking of the GOP candidates on the issue of pot legalization. Not surprisingly, candidates like Christie and other conservatives do poorly with pro-pot groups. Of course, the Republican Party isn’t exactly known for its coherence and adherence to principle over political expediency.
This only begs the further question as to why they would oppose something that has proven to be so popular with the younger crowd, a group they have historically struggled to attract, as well as it’s proven success in the free market and appeal to those who support not only states rights but individual liberty. Ironically, states’ rights, individual liberty, and the free market are all things the GOP claims to support.
Hopefully the issue will be broached, and hopefully the candidates will make their stance clear–for better or for worse. While bloviating buffoons like Christie have no chance of getting the nomination, it would be nice to see where some of the more serious candidates truthfully stand on the issue. Of course, with the GOP base being in the sorry state it’s in currently, it may not matter anyway.