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The End of the Reagan Coalition


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#1 Catalyst

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 06:06 AM

This is what we're seeing in this country. The republican coalition that allowed them to dictate politics in this country since the 80's is, frankly, falling apart. Even when Clinton was in office, he won by moving his party to the center to compensate for a much more conservative electorate. Now, we've seen Obama win handily twice by essentially re-aligning the electorate and creating a new center-left majority of his own. It's as simple as demographics changing in this country. That and a piss poor strategy by the GOP to keep up.

The country is no longer the center-right nation controlled by the Reagan coalition. It's a dead center nation controlled by the - for lack of a better word - mainstream majority. These are people who don't want government to take over everything, but who also understand the need for government to play a role and for a social safety net. They're not the occupy crowd - though many of them likely also voted for Obama - this is the modern day version of Nixon's "silent majority."

Bill O'Rielly said it best on FOX last night, that the country is changing. The old white male demographic simply doesn't have the power to control elections anymore. It's hispanics, it's the black vote growing, the youth vote, and the women vote. The two on that list that are really tough for the GOP are Hispanics and young voters. They clearly have alienated both groups in a major way. The youth vote in particular has to be troubling because this is the 3rd election in a row where young people have voted in large numbers against the GOP and as these voters grow older and begin to replace the older voters who lean the GOP's way, the mainstream electorate is poised to move further to the left. 40 years ago we saw young voters beginning to trend heavily republican in the same way and Ronald Reagan carried the youth vote by large margins, as did George Bush. In the 90's it was relatively even. After 9/11 and Iraq, however, it's gone solidly democratic and that trend doesn't show any signs of changing, particularly as the GOP continues to openly alienate young voters.

Last night Anne Countler tweeted after Obama won that "at least it guarantees young people will be unemployed by the millions" or something of the sort. Bill O'Rielly has made a habit out of calling young voters "pinheads" in his show and mocking them as weed-smoking slackers who want the government to give them "stuff" for free. This instead of trying to understand why young people are voting against them and working to change it, the GOP establishment has simply turned on young people and said "fine then, we don't need you." Just as they have with Hispanics, just as they have with blacks, and just as they have with single women.

Adding to that, what young voters who are joining the GOP tend to be libertarians rather than neocons/tea partiers. This presents a big problem for the GOP as a huge chunk of the party despises the Paulites and the libertarian platform. But the fact is they cannot win without these people. And they can't afford for them to break ranks and vote for the libertarian party. Just look at last night in Montana; the libertarian Senate candidate got over 5% of the vote in a race the democrat won by 3%.

The GOP needs to listen to Jeb Bush, to Jon Huntsman, and to Lindsey Graham. They're not losing because they're not right-wing enough, they're losing because the country has and is continuing to change and they're refusing to change with it. Not only that, but thanks to the tea party they're moving backwards and making matters even worse. They've nominated two solid moderates the last 2 elections in McCain and Romney and both have been forced to move substantially to the right to appease the base. In doing so, they've essentially alienated the middle.

The very fact that Obama has now carried Virginia and Colorado twice is a perfect example of this shift. Both states were once solidly red states, as was North Carolina, which Obama was very competitive in despite losing. The same shifts in demographics are happening in other red states as well, particularly in the southwest as Arizona and Texas are both receiving huge influxes of voters from out of state - many of them traditionally democratic voters from the old rust belt. Not to mention young people from out of state who move there to go to college and wind up staying. And that's not even touching on the growing Hispanic vote. Georgia is another state that's changing thanks to people moving in from the northeast/midwest. Florida now has a ton of Puerto Rican voters who went big for Obama, essentially winning him the state last night.

And oh yeah, Puerto Rico itself just voted for statehood. If that winds up going through it'll be another 5-7 electoral votes for the dems.

If I'm a member of the GOP "powers that be" I am completely purging the party elite and bringing in new people who can find a way to make the party relevant again outside the deep south and mountain west. This includes taking a more libertarian stance on gay marriage, on the drug war, and not being so gung-ho about military action at the drop of a hat. As for the tea party, do to them what Obama did to occupy wall street: ignore them. You may lose a few House and Senate primaries because of the tea party vote, but don't tell me the GOP power structure can't control who runs and POTUS. No more Bachmann's, Perry's, or Cain's. More Huntsman's, Christie's, and Jeb Bush's. The tea party candidates can be saved for the V.P. slot.

If something doesn't change, the GOP is seriously risking the same type of political black hole that the democrats fell into in the 70's and 80's, and to a lesser extent the 90's even as they had to move substantially to the center to keep Clinton in office.

#2 Davidson Deac II

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 06:51 AM

Things change to quickly to be making grand sweeping predictions. Obama won by a razor thin margin. I do agree that the republicans definitely face some demographic challenges, but I have no doubt we will see them make a big comeback in 2014 just as they did in 2010. And the race for the whitehouse will be wide open then. Obama won't be on the ticket to drive the huge voter turnout that he got from the African American community in his two election bids.

Also, if its true that new young republicans are libertarian in nature, then why did Ron Paul and Gary Johnson do so poorly in the elections and primaries? If every single Johnson voter had switched to Romney, it wouldn't have mattered. He still would have lost. Sure they got a lot of internet buzz, but thats about it.

#3 Zod

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 07:06 AM

Stop emulating Reagan, Start emulating Dwight.

#4 King

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 08:16 AM

Stop emulating Reagan, Start emulating Dwight.


The guy who put "One Nation Under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance?

I thought social conservatism was the bane of the republican party, not its strength.

Emulate Harding or Coolidge, if anyone.

#5 pstall

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 08:39 AM

this one group called the baby boomers getting much older might have a little to do with this.

don't emulate anybody. listen to the people, make hard choices when you need to and don't pander to any base. don't do what's popular, do what's right. ok, so emulate the guy who said that then.

#6 Jase

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 08:42 AM

Taft? Goldwater?


Lots of premature emulation going on in here.

#7 Zod

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 08:47 AM

Are you under the impression that Hispanics are not religious?

#8 Awesomeness!

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 12:45 PM

I've been saying the same thing for months. The GOP doesn't try to engage minorities they simply dehumanize them, and then get mad when they don't vote Republican. Say want you want about Bush, but he won elections because he TRIED to engage blacks Hispanics and women. The Black vote in 04 actually won him re election. Romney didn't even try. He throw us under the bus, and lost every swing state.

Rush said it best the other day. Does the GOP have to become pro choice to win women? No. They just have to stop saying rape isn't real, and stop pushing their stupid religion on the rest of us. MOST people are against abortion. People can relate to a candidate that is anti abortion, but he doesn't have to go all overturn Roe V Wade on us. Thats simply ridiculous. They better learn fast..because if the economy does pick up and people are still talking about self deportation..and legitimate rape, around this time in 2016 we will still be counting votes in Arizona and South Carolina.

#9 Awesomeness!

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 12:46 PM

Ron Paul would have won this election...

#10 stirs

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 12:53 PM

I've been saying the same thing for months. The GOP doesn't try to engage minorities they simply dehumanize them, and then get mad when they don't vote Republican. Say want you want about Bush, but he won elections because he TRIED to engage blacks Hispanics and women. The Black vote in 04 actually won him re election. Romney didn't even try. He throw us under the bus, and lost every swing state.

Rush said it best the other day. Does the GOP have to become pro choice to win women? No. They just have to stop saying rape isn't real, and stop pushing their stupid religion on the rest of us. MOST people are against abortion. People can relate to a candidate that is anti abortion, but he doesn't have to go all overturn Roe V Wade on us. Thats simply ridiculous. They better learn fast..because if the economy does pick up and people are still talking about self deportation..and legitimate rape, around this time in 2016 we will still be counting votes in Arizona and South Carolina.


I understand your statements but there is a slight problem there. Within the Republican party, life, for instance is very important, the old and the unborn.

All repubs believe this, but not all are radical like a few. Same goes with Dems as some are for any abortion at any time for any reason.

Yet the media will portray Romney or whomever the nominee is as the worst of the worst. Ron Paul would have been portrayed as a huge racists because of some emails from his past. He was not, but at the end of the day, he would have been branded that way. Sifting through what is right and wrong about statements is something the electorate as a whole does not take the time to do.

#11 Awesomeness!

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 01:03 PM

I understand your statements but there is a slight problem there. Within the Republican party, life, for instance is very important, the old and the unborn.

All repubs believe this, but not all are radical like a few. Same goes with Dems as some are for any abortion at any time for any reason.

Yet the media will portray Romney or whomever the nominee is as the worst of the worst. Ron Paul would have been portrayed as a huge racists because of some emails from his past. He was not, but at the end of the day, he would have been branded that way. Sifting through what is right and wrong about statements is something the electorate as a whole does not take the time to do.



The Media already TRIED to brand Paul as a racist..didn't work. The GOP rejected him and nominated Romney because he was a tool that would say anything to get elected, which is all the GOP cared about this go around. People weren't buying that crap.

I'm "Pro-Life". We had a pregnancy scare this summer. I knew that if she had the baby, I probably wouldn't go going back to school anytime soon, but I was ok with that. It actually scared me how quickly my views on abortion changed. We talked about an abortion, and I love my girl friend to death, but I told her I would never talk to her again if she got an abortion. Luckily she wasn't pregnant. The point being you can be strongly personally opposed to it, but I wouldn't stop anybody from doing it, not even her. Whats wrong with that?

#12 beach

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 01:09 PM

Helluva post SCP

Bottom line: the GOP hasn't learned how to broaden its social tent and its going to continue to be their biggest problem.

Its not their unwillingness to socially adapt because they honestly don't need to, but their unwillingness to accept the conservatives that have moved on with social issues. People continue to laugh at the idea that a majority of the 20-30s are socially liberal while fiscally conservative but really that's who they're ignoring. Their alienation of a potentially large chunk of people in this country lost them the past 2 presidential elections. A Huntsman or Jeb type could have won this election for the GOP

The problem is their perceived base can't even accept a moderate on their own side anymore for really no reason other than how much they hate the other side or think the other guy is far too left. "You better believe in every one of these fundamental views or get lost"

It's harder to keep a steady float in the middle and it makes them angry that people propose such notions, but produces a hell of a lot better results.

The people of this country need to realize that congress is just as if not more important than that one position in the Executive branch. We need to start electing better at the local levels who represent us if you want significant change.

#13 stirs

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 01:10 PM

If Paul had been the nominee, you would have seen stuff like you never saw because he was not close. The media spent their efforts to make Romney, who is probably further left than McCain, seem like Barry Goldwater. The media knew their target. They were successful in making Romney a back in chains, back to the alley kind of guy. You even beleive it.

I personally do not like abortion as a form of convenience for people who might not be ready for parenthood, but am not gullable enough to think everyone is like me. Medicine is medicine and if the mom is in trouble healthwise, then things might have to be done.

Now, I would be labled as a lunatic who wants to take the vote away from women and kick them out of their jobs. It is just the nature of the beast in politics.

#14 mmmbeans

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 01:14 PM

how in god's name did "the media" make romney out to be like goldwater?

#15 beach

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 01:18 PM

If Paul had been the nominee, you would have seen stuff like you never saw because he was not close. The media spent their efforts to make Romney, who is probably further left than McCain, seem like Barry Goldwater. The media knew their target. They were successful in making Romney a back in chains, back to the alley kind of guy. You even beleive it.


I agree but its as much if not more the party itself doing this than the media

They took a Rockefellar conservative robot and asked him to be a Neo-Conservative Tider

They need to find a type that can at least come across as acting like himself without the fear of scaring away the moderates. Hard to find nowadays on both sides.

The thing with the dems though is that they can come across as more socially connectable and that's a huuuge advantage in the information age.


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