The Republicans accelerate their downward spiral

Robert Reich said it right in this Huffington Post article:

It's as if they didn't learn a thing from the 2012 elections. Republicans are on the same suicide mission as before -- trying to block immigration reform (if they can't scuttle it in the Senate, they're ready to in the House), roll back the clock on abortion rights (they're pushing federal and state legislation to ban abortions in the first 22 weeks), and stop gay marriage wherever possible.

As almost everyone knows by now, this puts them on the wrong side of history. America is becoming more ethnically diverse, women are gaining economic and political power, and young people are more socially libertarian than ever before.

Why can't Republicans learn?

It's no answer to say their "base" -- ever older, whiter, more rural and male -- won't budge. The Democratic Party of the 1990s simply ignored its old base and became New Democrats, spearheading a North American Free Trade Act (to the chagrin of organized labor), performance standards in classrooms (resisted by teachers' unions) and welfare reform and crime control (upsetting traditional liberals).

The real answer is the Republican base is far more entrenched, institutionally, than was the old Democratic base. And its power is concentrated in certain states -- most of the old Confederacy plus Arizona, Alaska, Indiana, and Wisconsin -- which together exert more of a choke-hold on the Republican national party machinery than the old Democrats, spread widely but thinly over many states, exerted on the Democratic Party.

These Republican states are more homogenous and conspicuously less like the rest of America than the urbanized regions of the country that are growing more rapidly. Senators and representatives from these states naturally reflect the dominant views of their constituents -- on immigration, abortion, and gay marriage, as well as guns, marijuana, race, and dozens of other salient issues. But these views are increasingly out of step with where most of the nation is heading.

I basically agree that the GOP is on a kamikase mission toward oblivion. Do you agree?

Views: 328

Comment by MikeLong on June 20, 2013 at 10:14pm

"representatives from these states naturally reflect the dominant views of their constituents"

I WISH! (See gun control as an example.)

Representatives reflect the views of their bosses - those who pay to get them elected (including the traditional post-term job for life).

Comment by Unseen on June 20, 2013 at 10:29pm

The word "radical" comes from the latin word radicalis which means "root." Radicalism in politics means going back to root principles. Because of that, radicals value purity. In fact, as I heard one political scientist say. "To a radical, purity, keeping your hands clean, is more important than success or winning." 

As we stand back in amazement, watching the GOP kill itself by blocking immigration and by spouting comments on women, rape, and race that range from merely misguided to pseudoscientific to just plain scurrilous and hateful, note that it's all based on fundamental ideas or principles they actually believe. 

It's Republican ideas which are dragging them to a rendezvous with oblivion.

Comment by Unseen on June 20, 2013 at 10:33pm

@Mike  Actually, I think you'll find that in the strongly Republican "red" states there is at best weak statistical support for gun control. Now, that antagonism may be fed by advertising funded by the NRA and gun manufacturers, but it's a mischaracterization to say that legislators in those states aren't reflecting majority views of their constituents.

Comment by Kairan Nierde on June 20, 2013 at 11:40pm

I don't think a diminished Republican Party changes anything about the course we have plotted. Domestic policy has already been won over by the 'progressive' movement but international policy remains untouched. In the latter arena, Democrats will gladly continue to promote the same consensus-built, belt-way policies while Republicans figure out which way is up. What rises from the dust of the Republican schism...? That will be interesting. 

Comment by Dennis Downs on June 21, 2013 at 9:21am

I prefer to call them the "Conservative Cheap labor Party"

Comment by James Cox on June 21, 2013 at 11:57am

I think the operative term is 'suicide', qouting the immortal words 'why worry?' Sadly, I expect the amount of collateral damage will exceed 65%... 

Comment by Unseen on June 21, 2013 at 12:42pm

What collateral damage do you foresee?

Comment by James Cox on June 21, 2013 at 12:59pm

Sadly I still remember a statement made by republicans long ago, concerning the desire to reduce the size of the federal government, something like, 'small enough to drown in a bath tub'. Given the population of citizens dependent upon federal and state programs, and the seeming desire to give the heave-hoe to many of these programs, my collateral damage estimate might not be impossible. I am little paranoid about why the economy has tanked, I still think we have suffered a power grab on the order of trillions of dollars, intentional or opportunist, take your pick. Since I am only a Democrat because the Greens are of limited power at present, I do not think both parties are immune to blame. Nor do I think that as individuals, we are immune either.   

Comment by Tom Sarbeck on June 21, 2013 at 8:36pm

The GOP's suicide attempts didn't begin with the rise of the Tea Parties.

GOP suicide attempts didn't begin when President Reagan invited xian fundamentalists into the Party. They brought their refusal to think and their need to obey their leaders with them.

GOP suicide attempts didn't begin when, after Goldwater's 1964 loss, party activist Nixon devised a "Southern Strategy" that brought anti-civil liberties Democrats into the Party. They brought their racism with them.

GOP suicide attempts didn't begin in the summer of 1964 when California Republicans chose the Western conservative Goldwater over the Eastern moderate Rockefeller.

Question. Did GOP suicide attempts begin in the final years of Eisenhower's presidency, when right wing Republicans, saying he was too moderate, called him a conscious agent of the communist conspiracy and started expelling moderates?

Did they begin when the moderate Tom Dewey lost to Harry Truman and cause conservative resentment?

One history of the Party, Rule and Ruin by Geoffrey Kabaservice, points out that before the Civil War, three anti-slavery parties who agreed on nothing else came together.

Had Lincoln not been killed, could he -- despite his pro-confederate VP Andrew Johnson -- have united those factions?

Did the Party's split between Taft (William Howard) and Roosevelt (Teddy) play a part?

Something else?

Comment by Unseen on June 23, 2013 at 8:50am

From this morning's Huffington Post:

2016 Election: GOP Basic Strategy Looks Deeply Unsettled

The Republican Party's road map for winning presidential elections looks hazier than ever as GOP lawmakers and others reject what many considered obvious lessons from Mitt Romney's loss last year.

House Republicans are rebelling against the key recommendation of a party-sanctioned post-mortem: embrace "comprehensive immigration reform" or suffer crippling losses among Hispanic voters in 2016 and beyond.

Widespread rejection of warnings from establishment Republicans goes beyond that, however. Many activists say the party simply needs to articulate its conservative principles more skillfully, without modifying any policies, even after losing the popular vote in five of the past six presidential elections.

Despite Romney's poor showing among female voters, House Republicans this past week invited renewed Democratic taunts of a "war against women" by passing the most restrictive abortion measure in years. (read more here)

Looks like that GOP death spiral is "full speed ahead!"


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