11.08.12 Why we need the GOP to deal with reality
A major reason for Barack Obama’s victory this week was the continuously increasing share of minority voters. Notwithstanding intense voter-suppression efforts (or, perhaps, in reaction to them) Latinos and African Americans stood in line for hours to plant their ever more important stake in the ground of the US body politic. The white share of the electorate is dropping, to the extent that one analyst says – barring other factors – the GOP loses an additional 1.5% of the vote every election cycle.
As the GOP licks its wounds, we are hearing from some in the tiny “reality-based” wing of the party that they had better do something to expand their base in coming years. Even some of the folks firmly rooted in a world without science or truth are making some of these noises. They’re toying with how to adjust their brand to make people of color more excited. The thing they are missing is that, except in the Deep South and the great unwashed rural stretches of the country (where are aren’t very many people of color to start with) people don’t want to buy what they’re selling.
(None of us should care about increased sizes of GOP victories in places like Alabama, Idaho, and Oklahoma. These people are a different species from us. They will never be able to accept freedom on conscience on social issues or communitarian economic values. Frankly, I wish we could just kick them out of the union and issue them tourist visas when they want to come visit.)
The GOP cannot revive by tweaking its campaign tactics or adjusting its messaging. It can only come back if it is willing to actually change its policies. There will be a huge battle in ensuring months and years between those in the GOP who get this and the huge majority in the GOP who don’t.
There is another way the GOP could spring back to life: if the Dems nominate bad candidates, continue to be utterly incompetent, and become increasingly corrupt.
And this is why we actually need a coherent, center-right party that is rooted in truth and presents a realistic alternative and its own worthy ideas. Maryland is a perfect example of what happens when the Dems control a one-party state: worst gerrymandering in the country, a tiny machine (think State Sen. Mike Miller) running a totally closed and corrupt political spoils system, a governor in thrall to the gambling industry, highways (the ICC) built at huge environmental and fiscal cost (without providing any clear benefit), an ensconced top election official (Linda Lamone) who has singlehandedly prevented the institution of a paper-trail voting system in the state for a decade. You get the idea.
Sure, it would be fun to watch the GOP continue to marginalize itself and lose elections (and I predict it will do so for at least another four-year cycle), but I have to wonder if that is really what we want in the long run.
©2012 Keith Berner