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...
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.