Is the Republican Party Nearing Extinction?
Our democracy runs reasonably smoothly when we have two healthy and functional political parties that can check each others power and keep their own extremists on the fringes. We need two parties that cast wide nets and move toward the center in order to gain approval from a plurality of the population.
Obama's demographic path to victory in 2012
- 55% of women
- 67% of unmarried women
- 93% of Blacks
- 73% of Asians
- 71% of Hispanics
- 76% of homosexuals
- 60% ages 18-29
- 55% ages 30-39
- 63% under $30,000
- 60% under $50,000
- 54% under $100,000
- 44% over $100,000
- 55% with postgraduate degrees
- 55% who attend church at least monthly
- 50% of Catholics
- 34% of white males
Also, in 2012...
The Way of the Whigs
Let me be clear - there will always be a place for conservatives. They will always have a party or few. But what the GOP has right now is a branding problem.
These things happen from time to time. Prospects were bleak for Democrats when the Reagan Revolution married Evangelicals to the chamber of commerce (Jimmy Carter = Evangelical) and won the popular vote in five-of-six national elections.
Democratic soul-searching resulted in neo-liberalism - uniting Wall Street and the Chamber with social liberals - but they survived as the party of lesser-evil, Republican-lite, abortion-and-marriage-equality-defines-liberalism pragmatists. And not only survived, but are in the midst of their own five-of-six nationwide presidential popular vote win streak.
The same cannot be said of the Federalist Party, the Bull-Moose Party, the Whigs - all have long since disappeared. However, survival alone does not guarantee influence - Green Party, Libertarians and Tea Partiers have varying levels of influence.
So what if Republicans lost the presidential race by five million votes? Republicans still control the House and many federal and district courts. Oh, plus 30 GOP governors and most state legislatures. Perhaps 2012 was an aberration; because after all, 2010 was a slaughter, and conservatives will come out for mid-term elections again come 2014, 2018... What if it's not the Republicans who are in trouble? The Democratic brand is only slightly less unpopular, and when Obama isn't there to get such a high percentage of minorities out to vote for them...
With Obama, Democrats picked up two seats in the Senate in 2012; and though Republicans retained control of the House, Democrats actually got 500k more cumulative House votes nationwide. The Tea Party red tide of 2010 produced gerrymandered districts resulting in an estimated 7% GOP advantage.
That advantage only holds until 2020 - by which time demographic realities will be even more dire for the current iteration of the Republican Party. They rode the Southern Strategy for nearly fifty years - but the number of angry white men will keep dwindling and dwindling. They already married Evangelicals and rednecks with the business class. Forty years of increasingly legalized political bribery has allowed billionaire political donors pump so much money into politics that they not only purchase members of congress, governors and state legislatures, but down to courts, and city and student council positions.
And we're sickening of it. The vast majority of Americans agree that money has corrupted politics. Some have heard of Citizens United, fewer realize a 28th Amendment is necessary to overrule the SCOTUS, and their numerous rulings saying that corporations are people and money is speech.
People are fighting to reduce the monied interests in politics. Demographics are produces fewer angry white men - and fewer believers in organized religion.
So the question begs itself - can GOP leadership reign in the rabid true-believers for the sake of the national party? Or does short-term personal political gain of GOP House members trump the well-being of both party and country? Besides, what compromises are left for the party elites make with the fringes who only want a doubling down on gays & guns, abortion & racism? The donor class has little interest in such things. If the Republican Party is to survive, it must somehow shed the ugliness of dog-whistles, fear-mongering, and religious fundamentalism.
For a hundred years prior to Civil Rights, the GOP could count on carrying the Black vote. Ever since Goldwater in 1964 and then Nixon's Southern Strategy, Democrats have won the Black vote by at least 80%.
My advice for the GOP? Call out the dog-whistle rhetoric:
When Sarah Palin tweets, "The President's shuck and jive schtick...needs to stop.";
When Newt Gingrich repeatedly calls Obama the "food stamp president";
When Donald Trump & Joe Arpaio & Orly Taitz carry on with their birther fiasco;
When Jan Brewer wags her boney white finger and later claims intimidation by the black President;
When Rep Joe Wilson yells out "You Lie!" during the President's speech;
When Mitt Romeny proclaims that "No one's ever asked to see my birth certificate";
When Romney says that Obama is "in some respects foreign";
When John Sununu laments, "I wish the president would learn how to be an American.".
I could go on and on... it harkens back to Saint Reagan's old strapping your bucks and welfare queens driving Cadillacs line of thinking. It goes back to the Willie Horton ad. It might do the GOP some good to talk with the NAACP more often; maybe give a little more thought to Affirmative Action; maybe scale back on the War on Drugs; maybe address the needs of the poor with a better plan than trickle-down tax cuts being the rising tide that lifts all boats.
Don't listen to me or Colin Powell when he warned of the "dark vein of intolerance"; just remember 93%.
This simple fact should scare the bejeezus out of the GOP; 50,000 Hispanics turn 18 every month in this country. By the way, they get to vote. While no group are single issue voters, the GOP may want to reconsider their collective stance on immigration policy.
When Romney adopts as his immigration policy a 1994 satirical comedy sketch, in self-deportation;
When potential presidential candidate Herman Cain proposes a Great Wall with an alligator-filled moat and electrified fences;
When Rick Perry brags of his border with Mexico, "We've got our Texas Ranger recon teams there now.";
When Jan Brewer mentions "desperate illegal aliens" in her book and "attrition through; enforcement" in one of her letters;
When Robert Bentley espouses "creating an environment that is unwelcoming".
My advice is to stop referring to human beings as illegals, that would be a good start. Stop passing laws such as SB 1070. I would not say that Hispanics are inherently liberal, so propose some compassionate conservative immigration reforms with a pathway to citizenship. Start with the getting behind the Dream Act. And maybe some work visas? As Newt would say - we aren't going to round up 20 million people, we aren't going to deport all of those grammas and we aren't breaking up all of those families. Stop blaming immigrants for our ills and let them start paying into my Social Security.
I know you guys keep on saying it's not real. I know that you all have mothers, and most of you have wives and daughters; so of course none of you are actually opposed to women. But women are more than just wives and daughters and mothers. You guys really need to speak up...
When Todd Akin talks about "legitimate rape" and "shutting that whole thing down";
When Phil Gingrey says of Akin, "He's partly right.";
When Richard Mourdoch says "even in that horrible situation of rape...something that god intended";
When Sharron Angle says of rape-babies - "Lemons can be made into lemonade";
When Rick Santorum agrees, and warns of the "dangers of contraception" is "Not okay.", and only "a licence to do things in the sexual realm.";
When Rush Limbaugh calls Sandra Fluke a "slut";
When Paul Ryan co-sponsors a personhood amendment.
Women are adults, they can make their own decisions about their bodies. No one likes abortion. But trying to stop it only will take us back to coat hangers on the kitchen table. If you don't want abortions, then fund contraceptives and sex education. Stop attacking Planned Parenthood. Your tax money does not fund abortion; there is a federal law against that happening.
Stop opposing things like the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. It was not redundant, it was about the ability to sue. Besides, you should be happy when your wives bring home more money.
Stop opposing the Violence Against Women Act. I can't believe I even have to say this, how is there even a question? The GOP oppose the aspects that help gay women, native women, and immigrant women. Since when does it matter who the victim is? Violence against women is wrong no matter what. Wake up, guys.
But hey, don't listen to me or Kate Beckinsale; just remember the 55%, and the 67%.
Just Don't Call it Marriage
I know what you guys think the bible says about homosexuality. Without getting too much into ancient Aramaic & Hebrew or to'ebah & sodomy or the Levitical holiness code & ceremonial instructions - I might tend to disagree.
Leaving all of that aside, come on people - I know you guys know someone who is gay. They are here, they are queer...
When Rick Santorum compares homosexuality to beastiality and pedophilia;
When Michele Bachmann compares homosexuality to pedophilia and bondage;
When Ron Paul suggests “the Christian law and the Bible become one with the civil law”;
When Newt Ginrich claims“Gay and lesbian people can choose to be straight just like people can choose to be celibate.”
Separate is not equal, and civil unions are not marriage. Grow up. Rather, do like Benjamin Button. People under 30 are perfectly cool with the LGBTQ community, while people over 60 are largely opposed. Basically, the bigots are dying off - so this problem takes care of itself in due time. Just desserts.
So don't listen to me - listen to Dick Cheney; and remember the 76%.
This one is tough too, I know. Some of y'all like to talk about makers and takers; like to complain about people who get welfare or food stamps; like to complain about the people who don't pay federal income taxes; like to blame teachers and unions. Basically, the 47%.
Simply, rich people are not job creators. Capitalism only works when regular folks have enough disposable income to buy goods and services. The wealthy do not hire people out of the kindness of their hearts - they hire people when their is increased demand for their goods and services.
When JFK's was president, he cut the top tax rate 20%, and Reagan cut it from 70% down to 28%. Those were huge cuts, if you believe in the Laffer Curve. But we are already collecting the least amount of taxes since Eisenhower.
George H. W. Bush called supply-side, trickle-down, wealthy-as-job-creators policy what it really is - Voodoo Economics.
But don't listen to me or Keynes or Krugman - what do you want from me? Conservatives are only Keynesians when it comes to defense spending and corporate welfare. Listen to Jesus, he was all about helping the poor, free healthcare, embracing the outcast, paying his taxes to Caesar, and chasing off the bankers. And remember the 63%.