You brought up a lot of interesting questions in your response, so I tried to break them up into a few separate ideas.
Researching the issues is not rocket science.
It just requires an open mind to look at multiple sources AND to look for consistency in viewpoints about those sources. For example, I did a search for “national polls on background checks” and tried to find the most recent polls:
As President Barack Obama unveils a new initiative aimed at curbing gun violence this week, the public's attitudes…www.pewresearch.org
When President Obama announces today - a little over a month after 14 people died in a mass shooting in San Bernardino…fivethirtyeight.com
Democrats and Republicans support expanding background checks to private gun sales and sales at gun shows, a Pew…thehill.com
While there is a need for credibility when it comes to poll taking and expert opinions, this has been twisted to justify dismissing facts because they don’t fit peoples’ belief systems.
For example, before the financial meltdown, there was relatively low unemployment under Bush. Democrats were critical, saying that we had to look at the number of people who stopped looking for jobs, the underemployment of people whose better paying jobs disappeared and were replaced by fast food jobs, and how the middle class was suffering from stagnant wages since 1980. When Obama took office, after the stimulus, the economy recovered, and unemployment dropped under 6%. But now, Republicans cited the same criticisms Democrats had under Bush, while Democrats defended Obama’s economic record.
The Bureal of Labor Statistics supplies data that has limitations (as described above), and each party tries to twist the subset of facts that support their side. As we allow partisan politics to attack the validity of data, we start to erode our shared acceptance that facts do exist. This came to a head when a senile crackpot claimed the job numbers were fixed in order to help Obama win reelection. Facts exist, but if people deny reality because it doesn’t conform to their partisan world view, we have no basis to find common ground.
With regard to your view about the history of causes and that issues shouldn’t be decided by public opinion, I think we can agree that certain issues are just a question of whether you are on the right side of history or not.
It’s pretty clear that things like individual freedom and equal protection under the law tend to eventually win, regardless of how entrenched forces and institutions try to deny progress: abolition of slavery, women’s suffrage, civil rights, same sex marriage, equal pay for women and expanding voting rights,. (And yet the Republicans have been steadfast in their opposition to these last three issues).
In addition, there are issues where the science is pretty clear on what needs to be done for public safety.
Think about child labor laws, seat belts and other safety standards, food inspections, rigorous drug testing. Only a small fraction of the population would even hesitate in their support of these government interventions that have protect public health and improve our quality of life. (And yet the GOP-controlled Congress has refused to fully fund a 2010 food safety law aimed at protecting the thousands of people who became ill because of tainted eggs, peanut butter and spinach.)
For example, climate change is an issue that has near unanimous agreement among scientists, a strong majority of public support and is even understood by oil companies.
Exxon was aware of climate change, as early as 1977, 11 years before it became a public issue, according to a recent…www.scientificamerican.com
A bipartisan group of 21 Florida mayors wrote letters to GOP candidates this year about climate change:
You simply can’t argue with the fact that Miami Beach has flooding on sunny days (amazing video) and it is due to rising sea levels. You can’t argue with the fact that “of the hottest years on record 15 out of 17 have come since 2000.”
The top 10 hottest years on record have all been since 1998.www.climatecentral.org
And yet this issue has been completely ignored and denied by the Republican party.
The only category of issues where public opinion may not represent the best policy would be our most complex fiscal and economic issues.
And I’m not talking about socialism vs capitalism. We already have a mixed economy with a huge number of socialistic institutions that nobody complains about, except when they don’t function up to our expectations. This includes police, firefighters, public education, military, infrastructure, and public agencies tasked with protecting our health, individual rights and property rights.
As a conservative, I would expect you to advocate for fiscal responsibility, but I do have a problem with the inconsistent response, depending on which party is in power. Reagan increased the national debt by 186%, almost tripling it, and Republicans said nothing. Bush increased the national debt by 101%, and again everyone went along with unfunded wars and tax cuts. Obama has increased the national debt by 68% while trying to recover from the worst financial collapse since the Great Depression, and Republicans have been obsessed with the debt since he took office.
I think I have explained what constitutes the will of the people (and, in most cases, what is good for the people) and the fact that the GOP stands in almost complete opposition, the burden is on you to show how this is not the case, or at the very least to show why those Republican positions are actually what is best for the country.
BTW, taking guns away from the Jews in Hitler’s Germany would not have stopped the brownshirts and the SS from moving forward with the Holocaust. Jews only made up .75% of the population. Why would you choose to use this as an example to make your point?