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.