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Future of the GOP?


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#1 Catalyst

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 06:20 AM

This is an article I wrote for another web site that I thought might generate some interest here, assuming anyone cares to read the whole thing...

 

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The more I see on the news, hear on talk radio, and read on the internet the more I'm beginning to think the republican party as it exists today may well be on the path to destroying itself from the inside out.

 

Wishful thinking by a left-leaning voter? Perhaps. I've long put the notion away as unrealistic and more hope than reality, but then the 2012 election happened and I began to see some major cracks in the GOP that I don't know can be repaired.

 

Right now you have three factions making up the GOP. You could probably divide them even more, but there are 3 major factions that have generally made up the base of GOP support nationwide. They've always been able to set aside their differences on some issues for the good of the party - or at least they've always been united against the democrats enough that their own differences seemed minor by comparison. I'm not sure that's the case anymore.

 

The three factions I'm talking about are the establishment wing of the party (Rob Portman, Chris Christie, John McCain, etc.), the tea party wing (Ted Cruz, Jim DeMint, Michelle Bachmann, etc.) and the smaller, but growing libertarian faction represented by Rand and Ron Paul.

 

Following the results of November's election, you saw the establishment wing of the party begin to re-assert itself after essentially ceding power to the tea party for the past 3 years. They want to embrace a more modern and moderate platform, compromise on immigration reform, and we've seen many even publicly support gay marriage over the last few months. The tea party, of course, has fought back. I listen to talk radio quite a bit despite not agreeing with most of what is said. I just find it very interesting to get a look inside the head of the 'other side' and see what they're saying.

 

Rush Limbaugh is as good an example of what the tea party is thinking as any national figure not to hold public office. Almost immediately after Romney's loss he was asking why the GOP should compromise on issues such as gay marriage, immigration reform, and tax rates/spending. He assured his listeners that the real reason Romney lost was because several million registered republicans simply did not show up to vote. According to him, there is no big demographic problem facing the GOP. Nevermind that young voters - who will soon be the majority electorate - are voting democratic 65-35 and have been since 20004 (indicating a long-term trend rather than a youthful vote for the more liberal party). Nevermind that Hispanics, who split close to even for Bush/Gore and Bush/Kerry in 2000/2004 now have backed the democrats by wide margins two elections in a row; nevermind that they're the fastest growing segment of the electorate. Nevermind that the GOP base of older, whiter voters is the fastest shrinking segment of the electorate.

 

No, nevermind all that. The GOP doesn't have a demographic problem. It doesn't need to listen to voters on the issues. It doesn't need to stop nominating the Todd Akin's and Christine O'Donnell's and Richard Mourdock's of the world for the Senate or stop ousting heavily-favored establishment republicans and replacing them with fringe tea party hacks that go on to lose to the democrats in races that should be easy wins for the GOP.

 

Head, meet sand.

 

It's become apparent that the Limbaugh view is shared by the vast majority of the tea party. Not only that, but a recent national survey of tea party activists show they would rather support a candidate they view as ideologically pure but has less chance of winning a race than a candidate who is more moderate who is favored to win. This explains why they feel fine in refusing the efforts to moderate the party; they would rather lose than compromise even the tiniest bit. They'd rather blow the whole system up than shift to the center and get some of what they want. Because some isn't good enough, they want it all. Anything less is un-American, it's not the conservative way. This is what happens when you convince yourself - or someone else convinces you - that the other side is evil and comprised of communist manchurian candidates who are out to destroy America from within.

 

And this is the reason why the GOP may soon go the way of the whigs. If the tea party refuses to cooperate with the establishment efforts to accept that the public view on issues such as gay marriage and immigration are changing, if they refuse to compromise the slightest bit with Obama on deficit reduction, even when offered 10-1 spending cuts for tax increases, then at some point there will be no other choice but for the two sides to break away from one another.

 

If the tea party continues to dominate the GOP primaries and someone like Ted Cruz gets the nomination in 2016 over a more moderate candidate like, say, Chris Christie, then the GOP is in for yet another electoral ass-whooping - especially if Hillary Clinton is the democratic nominee. The simple fact is the GOP cannot win nationally with a tea party platform. The country just is not where the tea party is on most issues. For all the noise made on both fringes, America is at its core a centrist nation and more often than not the candidate closest to the center - and the party closest to the center - will have the edge. As long as the tea party continues to control the GOP that party will always be the democrats. Sure, they have a fringe wing too, but the difference is they don't allow them to control the party. If they did, you'd have Bernie Sanders as the favorite for the nomination in 2016 and not Hillary Clinton. For all the talk about how liberal Obama is from the tea party, the democratic party remains, for the most part, the party of Bill Clinton.

 

And so at some point the establishment wing of the GOP will have to make a choice. They simply cannot win nationally with the tea party in control, so what then? There really is only one option as long as the tea party is unwilling to compromise - as it will almost certainly remain. That option is to split the party in two. Either let the tea party have the old GOP and the establishment/moderate wing forms their own party or they essentially "kick out" the tea party from the GOP and tell them to go form their own party.

 

Political suicide, you say? In the short-term, perhaps. But if the GOP can't win under tea party control what difference does it make? At least with a 3-party system the moderate wing of the GOP can work on attracting independents and conservative democrats into the fold, something the GOP will never be able to do so long as the tea party keeps the party platform so far to the right-wing fringe.

 

They would obviously be taking a major risk, but at the same time it may be their only option. A new moderate GOP would likely be right where the country is on most issues and have a very good chance of attracting independents and conservative democrats as well as Hispanics and younger voters. Which brings me back to that other faction, the smaller faction that doesn't seem to be much of a faction at all today: the libertarians.

 

In such a scenario the libertarian faction might well hold the key to bringing in new voters to the GOP fold. It's been said before that today's young voters are increasingly libertarian on both social issues as well as foreign policy. A moderate party on economics coupled with a libertarian platform on social and foreign policy would be a potentially very potent political force in America.

 

That's something I don't think the GOP can be as long as the tea party continues to pull the strings.



#2 Davidson Deac II

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 07:56 AM

Highly unlikely that it is destroyed.  Talk radio and a lot of what we read on the Internet are some of the most unreliable sources that exist.  The same prediction (end of the party) was made regarding the democrats in the 80's, republicans in the 30's and so on and so forth.  And it is at least partially a demographics problem.

 

Far more likely that the republicans will take a back seat for a while, until they shift/remake themselves as has happened several times to both of the major parties over the last 150 years or so.   30 years from now, the political landscape will look nothing like it does right now and its impossible to accurately predict how it will look.

 

Regarding the Tea Party, the party leadership can't really decide whether they are in control or not.  Actually, they are not in control, and I bet the party leadership wishes they would go away.  But with the primary system, its the voters that make decisions, and right now, those conservatives that consider themselves Tea Party hold a lot of political sway in the primaries, because they vote and vote a lot.  More than minority groups of democrats did, until Obama. 

 

For the immediate future though, the democrats have a question themselves.  While I do believe the republicans face significant longterm issues due to shifting demographics, the republicans will have pretty good shots in the next two elections.  You are wrong to state they can't win with the Tea Party.  The republicans did win in 2010.  The republicans lost in 2008/2012 in large part because Obama was able to get out the minority vote.  Without Obama on the ticket, the democrats will lose seats in the house, and they might lose the Senate in the 2014 elections.  But will the democrats be able to find someone with Obama's draw to run in 2016.   Will Hillary or whomever runs in 2016 be able to get out the minority vote the way Obama did? 

 



#3 GOOGLE RON PAUL

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 08:19 AM

tbh it felt like the republican party was "getting out the minority vote" for obama due to some facets of the southern strategy continuing to linger. if it continues, the republicans will be "getting out the minority vote" for (probably) hillary clinton in 2016



#4 Niner National

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 08:23 AM

The republican party will evolve and simply shift more to the left in the future, but still more right than the democratic party.

 

Eventually the crazies will go away.

 

The world has changed a lot in the last 50 years and many in the republican party think going back to old ways is attainable and the best solution for this country. It isn't. When those people are dead and gone, the party can begin to move forward.

 

It won't die though and it shouldn't. I would hate to be left in a country where a single party dominates for decades at a time.



#5 Davidson Deac II

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 08:29 AM

The republican party will evolve and simply shift more to the left in the future, but still more right than the democratic party.

 

Eventually the crazies will go away.

 

The world has changed a lot in the last 50 years and many in the republican party think going back to old ways is attainable and the best solution for this country. It isn't. When those people are dead and gone, the party can begin to move forward.

 

It won't die though and it shouldn't. I would hate to be left in a country where a single party dominates for decades at a time.

 

 

Agree with all of that, except I don't think the crazies will go away.  They will just become crazy about something else.  :)



#6 g5jamz

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 08:37 AM

The republicans have a younger average age in Congress now.  Democrats are planning to trot out Hillary or Biden in 2016? 

 

That being said...Cruz gives a diplomatic F U to Harry Reid...another old fart.

 



#7 g5jamz

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 08:38 AM

The young bucks are tired of the old ones saying one thing in front of cameras and doing another and not being held accountable.  One thing Rand, Marco, Cruz, and others are doing are being very transparent in their views and actions. 



#8 Catalyst

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 09:53 AM

That doesn't mean anything if young voters flat-out disagree with them on the vast majority of the issues. Today's youth are much more liberal than the GOP is. They back gay marriage and even those who don't tend to be more libertarian about it than anti-SSM. Young people also don't share the GOP's views on government as the problem, even if they are very cynical in regards to government. They also have a natural distrust of big business that the GOP certainly doesn't share and, in fact, is in direct opposition to.

 

As for the statement above about getting the minority vote out for the democrats without Obama, I think you're missing the bigger picture. What we've seen in the increased minority voting is not merely a result of Obama, but the natural result of a long-term demographic trend. Now, I'm sure a higher percentage of black voters have shown up to support Obama the last 2 elections, but that's a very small number of voters in the scheme of things. Plus, if Hillary runs the dems won't need huge minority turnout as she'll get a much larger share of the white vote than Obama did.

 

And this idea that the tea party can win in 2016/2020 because they did in 2010 is wrong, IMO, as well. There's a HUGE difference between the mid-terms of Presidential elections in terms of who shows up to vote. Plus, voters take voting for POTUS much more seriously than voting for the House or Senate or even Governor due to how important the position is on its own. There are a lot of people who might vote republican for statewide office but not feel comfortable voting for Ted Cruz for President. This is evident in Wisconsin, where Scott Walker won both in 2010 and the recall election rather easily, but Obama carried the state in 2012 by a bigger margin than Walker won with.

 

Also, you compared the current GOP to the democrats in the 80's and the republicans in the 30's... what you have to understand there is that the situations are entirely different. The times were radically different in the 30's, things changed much more slowly due to how slowly information/media traveled. Plus, there were many people at the time who felt the GOP was going to fade away if they didn't win in 1952 - hence the reason they pursued Eisenhower to run for them. As a popular war hero he was almost guaranteed to win regardless of what party he ran in. There's a solid case to be made that, had Ike chosen the democrats, the republican party might actually have collapsed in the 50's.

 

As for the democrats of the 80's, the difference there is that they changed. They recognized the voters had changed and that the old new deal/great society platform wasn't what they wanted anymore. The party, as a result, made a wholesale effort to update and change to better reflect the times. The result was Bill Clinton, a more moderate/centrist democrat.

 

My whole point in that article was that the tea party is unwilling to change. Had that been the case with the democrats in the 80's - or for that matter the republicans in the 30's and 40's - both parties would have died out, IMO. I agree that changing/evolving is the right path for the GOP and they could certainly survive or even thrive if they did so, but with the tea party faction of the GOP being completely unwilling to accept any change that doesn't move the party significantly to the right I can't see the GOP being able to make the changes they'd need to make in order to survive into the 2020's and 2030's.



#9 Davidson Deac II

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 10:12 AM

IMO, the tea party members or no more or less willing to change than republicans in 30's, or democrats in the 80's.  Regarding republicans and democrats of earlier times, some actually did change, and others died off, or had to change due to events or getting tired of losing.  Go back and read some of the details of the political battles in the depression era, and you will see similarities with today's political fights.  Really, the thing that changed the pubs in the 30's and 40's was WWII.  Biggest difference really, as you alluded to, is that there is more media coverage of those battles. 

 

Also, I didn't say the Repubs could win because they won in 2010.  I said they won in 2010, so its not correct to say they couldn't win at all.  They probably will win in 2014 fwiw.  I did say they might be able to win in 2016 because Obama will not be on the ticket and its uncertain if his replacement will be able to draw out minority voters the way Obama did. 

 

But basically, all politics are cyclical, and the current political landscape will change.  Of that, there is no doubt.  The only question is how it will look 20-30 years down the road.  And none of us truly know the answer to that.     



#10 Niner National

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 12:05 PM

The young bucks are tired of the old ones saying one thing in front of cameras and doing another and not being held accountable.  One thing Rand, Marco, Cruz, and others are doing are being very transparent in their views and actions. 

Don't worry, a few more terms in and they'll change too.



#11 cookinwithgas

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 08:04 PM

Well thought out, I've had these thoughts as well - having three parties would be better - a crazy right wing party (Tea Party), a centrist right party (Republicans), a centrist left party (Democrats) and a crazy left wing party (probably environmental and psuedo socialist based). It will take a decade to get the last one going after the Tea Party nuts break off but may be a natural reaction to the crazy right wing and the idea that the Dems themselves are not doing enough against them. Wild to think of Tea Partiers and the left wing nuts forming coalitions on drug policy against the establishment, etc.



#12 pstall

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 09:47 PM

the thing about young voters is they are more apt to go with the crowd or whatever is most popular at the moment.

 

i emailed my staunch rep friend(cwg did you read this? i said staunch rep friend.ha) and said what is YOUR party doing?

 

no answer yet.



#13 Cary Kollins

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 10:01 PM

Very nice write up OSCP.

#14 PhillyB

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 11:22 PM

the thing about young voters is they are more apt to go with the crowd or whatever is most popular at the moment.

 

i emailed my staunch rep friend(cwg did you read this? i said staunch rep friend.ha) and said what is YOUR party doing?

 

no answer yet.

 

no one is voting for democrats because gay marriage is cool, they're voting for democrats because they're recognizing that legislating mosaic cosmogonies is completely idiotic. when the republican party recognizes this and stops thumbing their noses at these faddish sheeple kids they'll begin to be relevant again.
 



#15 mav1234

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 11:25 PM

while there are some voters who undoubtedly vote for things they think are "in" and others who vote against those things as some sort of "anti-progress" conservatism, I honestly think the vast majority of voters of all ages are motivated by issues they feel mean something to them, and I think that to just default to "well the reason these people think this way is because of their age and being drawn to what is hip" shortchanges the discussion on *why* members of a given age group might seemingly support one group more than another




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