Trying to raise my kids the best I can

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The future of the Republican party

I remember back in 2004 when George W. Bush won his second term. The post election coverage was fixated on the one group that seemed to push him over the edge. This was the "morality voter" another way of saying "The Christian Right". I should state here that it was exactly the "morality" factor that influenced me (and two other peers that I know) to vote for Bush - because there was one or two Supreme Court justices on the line. Because of the key that the morality vote played in the election, a Christian group I had always admired, Focus on the Family, was absolutely flooded with political money (in the hopes that they would replicate this achievement). It branched off a political arm and have since taken a nasty turn away from their roots as Jesus followers, in my opinion.

Here we are in 2012 and I have been closely following the news to see what group played that pivotal role in this election. There isn't a clear cut answer, consequently it didn't get the same coverage as 2004. Overall we can easily see that Hispanics and young people voted Democrat. But let's look at some other factors.
  • The undecided women - every time they started to lean Republican a nincompoop would say something controversial about rape!* Not to mention substitive issues like "equal pay for equal work".
  • In Ohio there were two interesting phenomena. #1 The blue collar, auto union workers went for President Obama. This is the interesting part. In the debates Obama and Romney were disagreeing about what they have said on car manufacturer bailouts. They both basically said, "Look it up." "Research it." "See for yourself."  Well apparently they did because in the weeks before the election there was an uptick in the search engine hits on Romney's 2008 Op Ed Piece "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt".
  • Black voter turn out in Ohio was higher in 2012 than 2008. That is fascinating to me. They must have really gotten the message that this election was tight and critical. I think everyone got that message. Here in Massachusetts I stood in a line for the first time in my 26 years of voting.
So what does the future look like for the Democrats?  It's important to note that the young people of today are not turning Republican as they age. In my opinion, this is very much dependent on the gay marriage issue. Even Christian youth are breaking off Democrat because of this issue. That's the Republican base!

More importantly, is the increased Latino population. This is a big deal because this isn't just a theoretical "oh, there's more Hispanics in every state". No, this is Texas is on the verge of turning Democrat. And when that happens there is no more Republicans. Ohio won't matter, Florida won't matter. Pensylvania won't matter. It will be mathematically impossible for the Republicans to win. And to add insult to injury, if Puerto Rico's vote to become a state gets ratified that means 7 more electoral points for the Democrats.

I am absolutely, positively convinced that if the party doesn't come center they will continue to lose.

I have been fixated on post election coverage, to see the response of the Republicans. Will they see the error of their ways? Will they at least agree to compromise for the sheer sake of getting votes? The answer is no. I have watched and read and watched and read and the answer is no. They say no on Fox news. They say no on CNN. The say no in newspapers. They say no on the radio. Many even say that they moved to far to the middle in this election!! That they need to go back to their core values. They are committed to their beliefs and unable to see that by not changing, they risk losing everything. (And, they are lucky they didn't this time around. The House that they "won" was technically won by Democrats in the popular vote.) Mike Huckabee on the Focus on the Family radio show said, and I quote: "I think there were a lot of Christian people who simply stayed home for reasons that I can't figure out." As if that were the reason they loss. And that, merely getting out the Christian vote next time will change everything. These people are living in the past. 2004 to be exact. They are closing their eyes and hoping things don't change.

I vacillate between disappointment and joy as I watch this unfold before me. On the one hand I want to bang my head against the wall. It's the very definition of insanity! Doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome. On the other hand, as a Democrat, I am filled with joy, knowing that we have the next election in the bag and as many more as it takes for them to change. The next election will not require the tipping point help of women, black and union voters. No, the increase in youth and Latino voters will be plenty.

The Republicans are going to have to navigate this difficult process of welcoming new voters while alienating old ones. Specifically, it will take the gay marriage issue to gain youth voters and immigration to gain Latino voters. It's been done repeatedly in the United States before. Just two generations ago Republicans had to give up their discrimination against black people. It can be done again. The Republicans will rise again.


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