How screwed is the Republican Party? This is how screwed

I believe that probably Obama will win this election. But whether or not he does, the Republican party will be in trouble for the next couple of election cycles. The entire Republican political strategy revolves around getting poor and middle class white religious folks to vote against their economic interests, and that strategy is rapidly crumbling.

Problem #1: Racial demographics:

A Republican strategist said something interesting and revealing on Friday, though it largely escaped attention in the howling gusts of punditry over Mitt Romney’s birth certificate crack and a potential convention-altering hurricane. The subject was a Ron Brownstein story outlining the demographic hit rates each party requires to win in November. To squeak out a majority, Mitt Romney probably needs to win at least 61 percent of the white vote — a figure exceeding what George H.W. Bush commanded over Michael Dukakis in 1988. The Republican strategist told Brownstein, “This is the last time anyone will try to do this” — “this” being a near total reliance on white votes to win a presidential election.

That’s the first paragraph of the above link. Feel free to go ahead and read the whole thing, but they sure didn’t bury the lede there!

Problem #2: Shifting opinions on everything near and dear the religious right:

I don’t even think I need to cite the evidence that public opinion is shifting way in favor of gay marriage (but here it is anyways). And that trend will just get bigger as the years go by. Think of all the 10-17 year olds there are in America right now. Know what they’ll be in eight years? Elligible voters who support gay marriage by an overwhelming margain.

You might think pushing the abortion issue might still be a viable strategy, since public opinion has shifted against abortion in recent years. But I suspect that trend is soon to reverse. When you look at stuff like the reaction to Todd Aikin saying rape victims don’t need abortions because they won’t get pregnant if it’s a “legitimate rape,” what you see is people waking up to the fact that the anti-abortion movement isn’t about their public rhetoric about “partial birth abortion.” It’s full of vile extremists who want to deny women their basic right to bodily autonomy.

Problem #3: Incoherence of the Republican economic platform:

They’re against socialized medicine, except for the old people who populate their base. And they’re for tax cuts, except for the middle class and working poor. You want a middle class tax cut these days, you have to go to the Democrats. ‘Nuff said.

It’ll be really interesting to see how the Republicans realign their coalition. Perhaps they’ll have to work out some economic policies that actually benefit at least half of the country? It would also be nice if this made more room for Republicans with more of a libertarian bent on government power and social issues.

  • asonge

    Re: abortion polling data, it seems that some of the polling on this is very odd. The polls concerning identity show an increase in pro-life stances. The polls concerning beliefs show a rather flat line on what should be legal concerning abortion.

    On the economic inconsistency side, check out Paul Krugman’s latest article where he highlights that Romney admits stimulus works, but only if it’s military spending, “weaponized Keynesianism”. Rand Paul, Romney’s surrogate in front of Stephanopoulos this morning, pretty much agreed that Romney was being inconsistent.

    • DavidWebster

      “weaponized Keynesianism” – fantastic (if chilling) phrase…

  • Green

    R’s talk about fiscal conservatism but in reality just want to shift the budget away from helping people and toward military. D’s are just as beholden to corporations but dodge that problem by focusing on the social issues so important to their base. Both work together on one thing only: to minimize the influence of any other party.

    Time to overhaul the system. Proportional representation sounds good, or just random assignment of duties (like with jury duty). Anything’s better than selling the government to the highest bidder. I will vote green, and I will merely snicker at anyone who tells me I am wasting my vote. I waste my vote when I use it to elect someone who doesn’t represent my interests or beliefs.

  • Verity Manumit

    “I don’t even think I need to cite the evidence that public opinion is shifting way in favor of gay marriage (but here it is anyways). And that trend will just get bigger as the years go by. Think of all the 10-17 year olds there are in America right now. Know what they’ll be in eight years? Elligible voters who support gay marriage by an overwhelming margain.”

    Well, we can only hope in 16 then, that they’ll be wise enough to realize their mistake.

    • abb3w

      Except not only does acceptance increase ~1% per year of birth cohort, but also increases within generational cohorts by an additional ~1% each year. So, it’s not just young people not old enough to know better. It’s their elders realizing the prejudices learned in their youth were unfounded. There were similar shifts with both generation and time for attitudes on interracial marriage, back when that was a livelier question.

      Which seems to leave as ill-founded your hope that others will join you in considering legal sanction for gay marriage to be a “mistake”.

      • Verity Manumit

        Mrrg s cmmtmnt btwn tw ppl wh r n lv wth n nthr. Sb-hmn fgts rn’t cpbl f sch cmplx mtns s lv. t’s nt n thr ntr.

        Disemvowelled for use of a slur, albeit a misspelled one – Hallq

        • Winterwind

          We can only assume a “faget” is a type of jellyfish.

          • Verity Manumit

            Well, both are slimy.

        • Verity Manumit

          Why do you think I misspelled it?

          The word “gay” itself should be a slur, since gays are so disgraceful, inept, vain, and superficial. But saying I’m a “man who loves men” is just too complicated. Though I guess I should adopt it anyhow, since gays are such an embarrassment to be associated with.

          • Brad

            I cannot even begin to describe what a vile person that post makes you out to be… I really hope you are just trolling, because if that was genuinely indicative of your opinions then my faith in humanity may die slightly.

          • ACN

            Vile troll. Recommend perma-banhammer.

  • TGAP Dad

    >The entire Republican political strategy revolves around getting poor and
    >middle class white religious folks to vote against their economic interests…

    Not entirely true. A large part of the strategy is to keep these people from voting at all. They employ many tools to accomplish this. To wit:
    * Voter ID laws, as democratic-leaning voters are more likely to lack them. The Texas law has such a strict standard for ID, that no university ID qualifies. But a concealed carry permit (which lacks a picture) does.
    *Reorganizing polling places and registration places. I my state, the secretary of state offices register most voters, which can be done when conducting any other business there as well. However, numerous offices have been closed in recent years, due (by design) to budget shortfalls. There are no longer any offices within walking distance of any college campus or poor neighborhood. Polling places have been moved in many cases, and are disproportionately located in churches. Research shows that this affects voters’ at the polls.
    * Purging of voter rolls. This is responsible for gettin us 8 years of W. Bush. Florida sought to purge their rolls of convicted felons, but weren’t all that concerned with that list being too accurate. African-American voters were far more likely to be purged than white voters. Further, no voters wer notified that they’d been purged, and even if they had, it was too close to the election to get re-registered.
    * Poll challengers. Republicans will disproportionately place these in democratic-leaning districts. This has the effect of intimidating voters with serious-looking white people wearing suits challenging as many voters as possible, which also slows the process down and makes the line longer. In my state, challengers must be registered in the state, but not in the precint where they are challenging, and have prior knowledge of electors they wish to challenge before they enter the polling place. Poll workers, however, rarely enforce the letter of the law.
    * Dirty tricks. Voter caging, misinformation robocalls, whisper campaigns, flooding democratic phone lines with robocalls (sort of a telecom denial of service attack) and the “October surprise” a’la Willie Horton are just a few they’ve used in the past. The ones they actually got caught doing. Although Will Horton was actually legal.
    * Citizens United. All of the stuff above and more can be done with unlimited funding of outside interests thanks to this horrendous SCOTUS ruling. There is currently no means of verifying that these PACs and interest groups are not coordinating with the campaign.

    Keep in mind that no matter how dirty the election was, the results stand. The rights are (spposedly) guaranteed to the voters, not the candidates. So even though Florida wrongly purged a few tens of thousands of eligible voters, the results of the election even though Florida admits to this misdeed. The voters themselves can seek recourse, but cannot cast ballots after the fact.

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