Friday, November 9, 2012
Wherefore Goeth Republicans From Here?
Now that it’s official that the conservative movement is forever in the minority, the party of said movement, the G.O.P., must now restructure itself so that it can win future elections. It simply has no other choice. That means that one of the planks in its platform has got to go. But which one?
Taxes? Forget it. Oh, they’ll have no choice regarding letting the Bush tax cuts for the 2% expire. If they do nothing, they expire anyway, so they simply don’t have the leverage. But you can bet they’ll go right back to being pit-bulls on this one. It’s their most defining characteristic.
Free trade? Not a chance. There's nothing wrong with free trade, it's the backbone of our economy. But extremism of deregulation is simply too ingrained in the Republican psyche. Besides, the rich donate generously to the Republican cause primarily because they hope to become robber-barons once again. If this one shifts, there go the campaign donations, and Hollywood simply won’t be willing to fill the void.
How about shunning the Christian Right? Certainly, embracing religious loony-tunes has cost the G.O.P. time and time again, but Christianity is still the primary religion of the U.S. Secularists, by contrast, are 20% of the nation. That means that the non-religious, while too big to have its rights pissed on anymore, are not yet big enough to be openly courted – even by Democrats. (Yet the Jewish vote, comprising only 1.5% of the population, does get courted. Go figure!)
Family values? Well, let’s be blunt, here. By “family values,” what’s really meant is opposition to abortion and gay marriage. Certainly, Republicans got cremated on this one, and always will so long as women keep the right to vote. But they've certainly seen the numbers shift on the gay rights issue, and so might choose to quietly let that one drop, much like they dropped the issue of divorce (as well as let the secret collusion with southern Democrats on enforcing segregation quietly die). But abortion? Well, as I've been pointing out on this blog for some time now, fetal brain development defines the true onset of a being. But while I’m busily beating on that drum, I recognize that I’m only one tom-tom in a very large and raucous drum orchestra. It will be some time before anyone begins marching to my beat. Still, if they do, Republicans might find their ticket to winning back the female vote. Highly unlikely, however.
What about the drug war? Ah, here’s one that might just work! A collaboration with the Libertarian party on this one would win back the youth vote, big time! We may even see a Libertarian/Republican alliance! But old dogs hate new tricks, and the G.O.P. has some very old dogs. This one could happen, and if it did some – including me – might be willing to vote Republican again. But I would be highly surprised if it were to happen.
That leaves only one issue left: Immigration. The Hispanic vote is kicking Republican ass, and the projected population numbers indicate that it will only get worse for them. Eventually, most Americans will be Hispanic, and if conservatives don’t make inroads there, they will be shut out of the decision making process forever. So, this is where I predict they will make their big change. They will abandon their xenophobia, buy a wide-brimmed sombrero, raise their piñata, and throw a fiesta! Republicans will now advocate tearing down the wall between Mexico and the U.S. They will begin advocating easier paths to citizenship. Don’t be surprised if many of the stations owned by Clearchannel suddenly flip to a Spanish-language format. Watch how existing Spanish-language channels get bought out by wealthy corporate interests. It’s happening already, as Mundo Fox is no accident! Conservative Latinos who are willing to go on the radio will suddenly find that they have a lucrative career. Look out! Here come the Hispanic versions of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity! And then they will try to blast the Spanish-speaking A.M. airwaves with right-wing rhetoric the way they’ve done with the English-speaking sports networks. Who knows? It might even work! Eventually.
But they burned that bridge long ago, and rebuilding it will take a massive engineering effort, as the river that must be traversed has grown quite wide. It will take decades before they undo all their damage, and they risk alienating the very white voters who comprise their base in the process. The Tea Party will likely turn to the Libertarian party in disgust! If they do, the Libertarians might actually get some people elected. That is, if the Tea-Partiers are willing to embrace homos and Mary Jane. Then again, maybe not. The Constitution Party might suddenly get a lot bigger, yet remain ineffectual.
But who knows? Maybe I’m wrong, and Republicans will begin rockin’ their gonge!