Republicans; The Once And Future Party

With the retirement of a member of the Supreme Court, the defection of a member of the Senate, and the likely success for the Democrats of a long disputed Senate race in Minnesota, the GOP has taken a beating in the last couple weeks. This comes, of course, on the heels of a tarring during the ’08 election, and a pasting in ’06. Some say that the party is a fossil, unable to compete, and that new demographic trends will erase it from the halls of power into the foreseeable future. Others say that the “lesson” of Specter’s defection is to make the party more “moderate” so as not to lose people like him. “Make the tent bigger”, as they say. I would like to point out, that there are several significant reasons to think that the Republican Party is not only coming back strong, but will be hard to beat in future election cycles.

First of all, look at what happened to the democrats after the GOP took over the House in 1994. They retrenched, after a period of confusion, the party coalesced around a core of liberal ideology that had been seen by most as too far left to win in America. After a lot of political bloodshed, the left wing of the Democratic party was ascendant, and we saw Howard Dean in charge of the party and Obama as the Presidential candidate. This history should answer the critics who are calling for the GOP to move left in order to keep any remaining Arlen Specter types. With the Democrats, we saw them retrench after going back to their core base ideology, which in many cases was considered laughably out of touch with the rest of America at the time. Once their candidates for various offices had a common language and grounding in that liberal progressivism, they could speak consistently, giving the party as a whole a voice that cut through the clutter, as the Democrats effortlessly chose a single message on a given issue, and repeated it endlessly.

So we shouldn’t worry about the increased popularity of figures like Rush Limbaugh (especially since his boost in ratings was largely a result of the White House trying to use him to wedge apart Congressional Republicans and
movement Conservatives) turning off “moderates” or centrists. The Democrats suffered little for their hard turn to the left before the last two election cycles, and President Obama, whatever he says in his moderate sounding press conferences, still consistently enacts a very progressive policy agenda, while taking as yet little heat from centrists in the media or population at large.

What we see today is the Republican Party looking for leadership, but also inevitably coalescing around a core of Conservative ideas that form the ideological foundation of the party. This trend is healthy, and as the party accepts a baseline Conservatism, it will then consistently be able to speak with one voice on various issues, gaining the sort of “message discipline” that powered the Democrats in 2008.

If you think that Conservatism is a new thing in the Republican party, and that before 1964, there was an entire liberal wing, you may be right, but that does not mean that the Republican party was not founded on Conservative ideas. Abraham Lincoln railed against the constitutional scholars in his day who loosely interpreted the Declaration of Independence and Constitution in order to justify slavery. His writings and speeches were rife with arguments against these liberal, (you could say “progressive”) re-interpreters of our founding documents who were making the case that the founding fathers had said “..all men are created equal…” and meant “…all white men are created equal…” Lincoln said repeatedly that thus interpreting our founding documents was a dangerous slippery slope, and that we had to take them at their real and original meaning. There are also a great many similarities between the original Republican’s war against the Dred Scott decision, and many current Conservatives’ wars against the Roe-V-Wade decision. In both cases, the Supreme Court eliminated the rights of an entire class of people via legalistic, judicial feat; enforcing this on the entire nation through extremely loose interpretation of our Constitution. So we can see many similarities in Conservatism, even to the beginning of the party, and it may be the case that the fact of liberal Republicans being common in the party in the mid-20th century was an aberration.

The other argument against the GOP comes not from recent history, but
from statistic-armed demographers who claim that the young, “Millennial Generation” which grew up with the internet, are very liberal and the fastest growing demographic group in the USA is the Hispanic population, which largely votes Democratic. According to this argument, the Republicans are doomed in the long term due to the inevitable demographic and social trends we see today. As to this argument, well, it was, we think, Benjamin Disraeli who said; “There are three types of lies, lies, damn lies, and statistics.”

First for the Millennials. This group of young people do indeed vote Democratic, or have done so in the only two elections in which they have been old enough to vote; the 2006 and 2008 elections. Yet there are several reasons to think that they are not in any way a stronghold for the Democratic Party. First, they voted largely on Libertarian arguments and lines. The GOP was seen as socially interventionist, fiscally irresponsible, and militarily interventionist. In all these areas, the Millennials voted as one would expect a Libertarian to vote; against the GOP. Of course, their perception of the Republican Party is identical to their perception of the Bush Administration at the moment. The Bush White House was indeed fiscally irresponsible to a small degree (when compared to it’s successor), it waffled on free trade at times, and failed to explain it’s social intervention in terms that people could grasp as being necessary for the social underpinnings of the Republic. As for military interventionism, it got a bad rap on that one, but communicated the various actions it undertook so badly that even supporters were disarmed. All in all, not a shining example of Conservatism.

Polls are beginning to show a clear trend with the Millennial generation. Whereas Generation X largely votes Republican based on their memory of Carter and Reagan, the Millennials do not seem to identify by party in any degree, but vote instead on ideology. They are far from non-ideological as well; having grown up in the last free frontier without active government intervention left in our nation; the internet, they poll down the line as Libertarian in a vast majority of cases. The do not want government telling them what to do in their private lives, nor do they want it telling them what to do in their economic decisions either. They simply want the maximal amount of individual freedom, seeing any interference by any “expert” in their lives as potentially limiting to them.

Obviously, given the overwhelmingly Libertarian outlook of this new, large generation, the Republicans ought to take heart. In general, the Republican Party ends up as the best place for a Libertarian to be over the long haul. This is because Democrats may be libertarian-ish on social issues, but the Republicans are quite Libertarian on everything else, and over time, the few freedoms allowed by Liberal Progressivism are absolutely overruled by their insistence on the use of guilt to force compliance even in personal issues everywhere else. An example of this is the environmental movement, where the Progressives increasingly use government to interfere in our private lives, and will do so even more under Obama.

If we are competing for Libertarians, the GOP is well off; since the small areas where Republicans have been “interventionist” in social issues are minor nuisances rather than vastly important areas that can cause people in poor countries to starve (Ethanol subsidies) or cause our entire economy to shut down (increasing cost of fuel for environmental reasons). As the Obama White House offers the Millennials an excellent example of Progressivism in action, they will flock to the GOP in droves.

As for the Latino population as an argument, this one just doesn’t hold water. First of all, the enormous problem of defining what constitutes a “Latino American” allows for a great deal of statistical manipulation on the part of pollers, since they can adjust samples to include more people in socio-economic areas more likely to vote Democratic. This uncertainty about he “boundaries” of that population also points to the massive, fundamental weakness in the theory that the Latino population is an isolated minority group that will be ideologically “pure” in some way and consistently give it’s votes to the Democrats like the Jewish or African American populations. The very inability of statisticians to easily figure out who is Latino, where “Latinos live”, etc, exists because this immigrant population is far more similar to earlier, large population influxes in the USA like Italian, Polish, Irish, or German immigrants, than to something like the Jewish community for example. Latino immigrants do exist in poor areas, and some do enter into the inner-city welfare and crime-heavy zones that are reliably Democratic at the polls. But they then move out in large numbers as they work, save, invest, open businesses, and move to the suburbs in large numbers. Over time, this community is becoming much like the other large immigrant waves of the past; they are going middle class, and becoming indistinguishable to researchers from other middle class families of other backgrounds.

If this is true, and we see evidence of it everywhere, the the GOP has reason to be quite hopeful indeed. We see a similar pattern with Asian immigrants as well. In early years, when a family is economically vulnerable, they tend to vote with the party that seems to offer something for nothing; the handout-wielding Democrats. Yet, as they open businesses, work and save, send children to university, and move into a stable, middle class lifestyle, the trade offs and costs of the entitlement culture become apparent, and many switch to the Republican party. The GOP has never had serious trouble winning in the suburbs, and the Republican approach to government and society should have great appeal to the growing middle classes in America.

So we see that the two demographic bogeymen raised to point out how the Republican party must move leftward or dump Conservatism in order to win are nothing but phantoms. Millennials are generally Libertarian oriented, and new immigrant communities are rapidly becoming middle class, and adopting the outloook of other suburbanites.

As the government reaches tentacles into every area of our lives under a solidly Democratic Congress and White House, and as the White House replenishes the population of activist members of the Supreme Court, there will be nowhere for the Democratic Party to hide, nor anyone but themselves to blame for the results of radical policies such as tripling our national debt and creating inflation. Young voters will tilt toward the party that offers the most freedoms, having discovered the extraordinary importance of economic freedoms thanks to Obama fuel prices, inflation, taxation, regulation, and protectionism. Meanwhile, the immigrant communities that Democrats look to as their salvation will identify less with grievance-peddlers and handout offerers and more with people who appeal to their common sense as middle class Americans.

We should look, therefore, toward 2010 and 2012, and beyond, with a considerable degree of hope for the GOP. The party will retrench, will unify around Conservative ideas, and the country as a whole will prove to be far, far less left leaning than those in power in Washington believe.

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~ by Jubal Biggs on May 3, 2009.

3 Responses to “Republicans; The Once And Future Party”

  1. […] Original post by Jubal Biggs […]

  2. Why are the Repuglicans running so many Muslim candidates this year? Repuglicans are all Catholics, Muslims and Baptists, bookburning, jew-hating fascist bigots all. The Jews, Greeks and Hindus are better served by the Democrats. Even amongst blacks, the Presbyterians are supereducated, but the Catholics fare worst!

    • Man you are really ignorant. If you hate Muslims so much, why are you for the Democrat party again? The only practicing Muslim in the US Congress, a man who swore his oath of office on a Koran, is a Democrat.
      If you are worried about Jew haters, why are you supporting the party that features major figures screaming about how every Jewish Republican is a “neocon”, and how they are plotting to take over the world (a typical old anti-semitic saw)?
      Let’s try Hindus. Most Hindus in the United States are from families that immigrated in the last couple generations; most of these are small business owners. Guess which party wants to get the Federal government off the back of small businesses? Yeah, the Republicans.
      You really should try reading something before you talk; it makes you sound a little less uneducated.

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