I know I have posted on this but I feel I have to keep repeating the point. It seems the left will never stop pining about the end of the GOP. Oh well I guess I cannot get what I always want.
The latest attempt is by In These Times columnist Theo Anderson. Titled “Romney 2012: The End of the GOP,” the article cites the typical talking points from the left about the end of the GOP. Women, particularly single and minority women, Hispanics, and younger voters (think Millennial Generation) are turning away from the GOP. Older white voters, the core of the GOP, are shrinking in terms of their size of the electorate. Blue Collar workers and fiscally libertarian conservatives are increasingly at odds with social conservatives, fracturing the GOP base. The list of talking points goes on.
But what those on the left seem to lack is any true understanding of the cyclical nature of politics. For example the situation or time can make a voter more conservative or liberal. Consider this. From 1920-1932 there was a commanding conservative Republican regime in the nation. Then the Great Depression in all its fury hit. Suddenly we saw over a decade of liberal governance only checked by Southern Democrats and the Supreme Court. Fast forward to more modern times. In 1980 the nation was politically moderate but a Reagan presidency ushered in over a decade of conservative policies. This as the Cold War raged and the economy boomed. Even Democrat Bill Clinton from 92-2000 dared not change the model, especially after the Republican Revolution of 94.
It is only in the last decade however that political scholars and analysts have looked seriously at the changing nature of American politics. This was bound to happen after three subsequent wave elections. In 2006 Democrats won the House and Senate for the first time in twelve years. In 2008 Democrats deepened their hold on Congress and won the Presidency. For the first time since FDR it could be argued the Democratic liberal coalition had been reborn, albeit with different constituencies.
However, in 2010, amid a stalled economy and a politically charged environment where conservatives and independents worried about liberal policies such as Obamacare the GOP retook the House. The members that won seats in 2010 were also dramatically more conservative than those who won in 1994.
I mention this because without this context some readers would be willing to go along with the “Inevitable demise” argument for the GOP. But keep in mind after 2008 the same arguments were being made. Well guess what, the very base voters Democrats claim make up their new governing coalition, due to the declining economy (in other words situation) sided with the GOP. According to 2010 exit polls women favored the GOP by 49%-48%, the first time since 2002. Young voters, who had favored Obama and Democrats by massive margins in 2008 were more conservative, with 56% backing a Democrat and 44% a Republican candidate. Perhaps most telling was that the GOP won college educated women, men, every age group from 30 above and all voters with an income above $50,000.
So much for the theory about the GOP’s inevitable demise. Or so one would think.
But it is not to be. Generic ballot polls and presidential ballot tests show Obama and Democrats in numerous races running ahead of Republicans and GOP Presidential nominee Mitt Romney. Apparently this is proof-positive the GOP is doomed in 2012 and beyond now that the electorate is going to be “Browner.”
This theory for 2012 would only hold water if the bottom dropped out for the GOP. The Party consistently wins the voters most likely to vote, as in senior and high income voters, as well as a solid majority of conservatives and usually 40-45% of moderates. In the political environment surrounding 2012 somehow I doubt the bottom is going to drop out for the GOP, even if they fail to win the WH or Senate control.
Going beyond 2012 the GOP has many reasons to believe they will stay relevant in American politics. First, they epitomize fiscal and social conservatism. Liberariansn cannot exactly run to the left on fiscal issues and have their voices heeded. Second, in a two-party system where are voters going to go for an alternative (think 2010) if the other majority party pushes to far (Obamacare)? Thirdly, the raging political issues of our time, illegal immigration, gay marriage, legalizing pot, etc. that dominate our political discourse and appeal to young voters is likely to fade over time. And as time passes these voters lives are sure to change and shape their political views. If liberal policies of dependence and an economically based caste system come into play these voters, older by then, would likely be more than willing to join the GOP.
There are of course many other reasons why the GOP is going to stay relevant in American politics for decades to come. But I think those listed above do a good of elaborating why there are many holes in the theory of the GOP’s demise. I just wish liberals and Democrats would be more willing to see this. Oh well, you can’t always get what you want.