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Why the Republican Permanent Majority Can Never Be, So Hail the Democratic Permanent Majority

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And there is how some guy with no credentials like Grover Norquist has bent most of what is supposed to be a national party to his will by scaring them into signing his no new taxes pledge, in violation of the oath of office which must not be subsumed to other oaths that constrict the independence office holders need to defend the Constitution and serve the public as needed. Not the best idea when most Americans want the 1% to cough up more dough to help run the country. Which begs the question of who is in charge of the Grand Old Party?

Back in the day Will Rogers would get a big laugh with the line "I am not a member of an organized political party. I'm a Democrat." But these days, having long ago shed the virulent southern white racist wing and tamped down the near future dreams of progressive, the Dems have got their act pretty much together. You could see it at their convention which was run like a tight yet happy ship. Nowadays the old joke applies best to the GOP, which is hardly a national party, and has spun out of the control of what is left of its establishment. You could see the disarray at their convention where many of the speakers -- seeing a loser -- hardly mentioned Romney to their own benefit. It was kind of like watching events on the captainless Costa Concordia as it rolled like a sick elephant onto its side, never to recover. And the grass roots Democrats have a far superior get out the vote machine, one that the more elitist Republicans can never match.  

And there is the simple fact that the Republicans don't want to run the government they love to loath as the main source of the nation's problems. That's a huge quandary. For a party to be successful it has to convince a majority of voters that they are doing a good job of running the ship of state. Because the Republicans want to get rid of much of the government rather than run it well, they hope the resulting demonstration of government incompetence will convince the citizenry that government does not work and needs further trimming. But that's a double edged sword because lots of Americans see what's going on and get ticked off at how the Republicans are running the government that no modern country can do without into the ground. So the mishandling of Andrew and Katrina by the Bush's and their incompetent FEMAs were disasters for the Repubs, while the positive handling of hurricanes by Clinton's and Obama's competent FEMA's were good for the Dems. The same applies to the uncompromising, my way or the highway hyperpartisanship that seems to sabotage the Democrats, but in the process blows back on the Republicans. In the long run it's a losing strategy.

In 2012 the Democrats relied on the demographics that are fast shifting in their favor -- markedly more so than even in 2008 -- and general GOP foolishness to win despite a mediocre economy. With the economy as it is and all the PAC money that flowed their way, the 2012 election should have been a walk on the park for the Republicans (conversely, had the economy been further along towards recovery, then the Republican candidate would have been going through the motions against an unassailable Obama). And it would have been for Romney, had he been able to run from the get go as the moderate conservative from MA. Any other of the Tea Party pleasing primary contenders somehow been nominated the Repubs very probably would have done worse. Ayn Rand fan Ryan would have gone down in flames and is likely to do so if the party gets crazy enough to ever nominate him or any one similar. The primary problem was not the candidate -- who proved more capable than many thought in at least the first debates -- it's the party.

The Tea Party has been badly defeated. They won the 2010 election via a combination of reactionary no compromise tactics, a weak response from progressives dispirited by their high expectations not being met by Obama, and by pretending to be all about economics when they are also a lot about hyper social conservatism that inevitably came to the fore. The Tea Party's pushing extreme candidates into general elections increased the Democratic lead in the Senate. Even if Romney had won, the TP would still have lost because Mitt would have won by going all middle of the road at the end, there not being nearly enough TPers to elect a president. Occupiers are not dancing in the streets, but they made what may be a vital contribution -- the terms 99% and 1% are permanent parts of the language -- to a victory that is closer to their longer term goals than the alternative would be.

Also a loser was the obstructionist, no compromise, constant campaigning, do everything to defeat the Democrats GOP/TP strategy. This bugged the electoral majority enough that they went for the Dems who, because they sincerely want to run the government, are more prone to compromise to keep the public sector humming along.

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Voter suppression? A marginal tactic that can work only as long as there are still enough GOP white voters to make it worth the backlash that gets lots of angry Democrats to the polls in revenge. Parties that are not desperate do not resort to trying to hinder the right to vote.

And one wonders if the right wing wealthy will be willing to pour so much of what they have acquired into future GOP presidential and senatorial candidates if all they are going to get is electoral bupkis. Rove, in his desperate effort to revive something of his Permanent Republican Majority, ran an lavishly funded Super Pac complex that was victorious in zero cases. The billion or so spent by outside funders did not bring them the White House, and lost them ground in the Senate and maybe the House. The fat cats might find they are better off putting their money into lower level campaigns. And the lavish funding of the right can blow back. By pumping money into the supposedly grass roots Tea Party starting in 2009, the GOP elites thought they were doing themselves a favor. But the ginned up movement fooled those who helped invent it into thinking the country really was going conservolibertarian, hiding the reality that the demographic shift was gutting the Republican Party. The exceptional conservative propensity towards reality denial is so entrenched that it tripped them up in election. Lots of them including Rove actually thought that the mainline pre-election surveys were understating the probability of a Romney victory, leaving them stunned the evening of 11/6. Exemplified by the meltdown on FoxNews as Rove, watching the last dregs of his GOP majority run down the drain, went into hyper denial about Ohio. Meanwhile progressives were accurately prepped for victory by Nate Silver's most excellent scientific analysis.

The great Republican affliction is that it is not possible to run a majority national party centered on angry white baby boomer males, but it certainly is possible to run a minority regional party centered on angry white baby boomer males, and there is not much that the more centrist wing of such a party can do to gain the upper hand over those angry white baby boomer males plus females who dominate the organizational and electoral caucuses, primaries, etc. So a fair number of Republicans who realize the trap their party has gotten into know what needs to be done -- moderation of the party religiously, ideologically and politically, more immigrant-Hispanic friendly policies, less racism -- but they have little practical idea how to do it, and it is doubtful it can be done. It's the theme of centrist Republican Margaret Hoover's American Individualism that even argues that the right must embrace gay rights if conservatism is to have a chance at future relevance. But where are the anti-abortionists, creationists, climate deniers, and libertarians going to go? If they set up one or more new parties that only further shrinks the GOP while further disorganizing the right. Only if the angry white males and females -- the main component of the religious right that emerged from political reclusion in the 1970s and could isolate themselves -- get discouraged by their growing inability to get the nation back, and drop out of electoral activity will that part of the GOP problem be alleviated, but that too shrinks the party. The religious right that makes up so much of the Republican Party cannot be the dominant confession in a nation where gaydom is accepted as normal. And if the GOP does accommodate homosexual rights, abortion rights, middle of the road immigration reform, modest tax increases, more collaboration between public and private sector, and so forth, then it becomes a me-too party, a pale shadow of the Democratic organization. If immigration reform is enacted it is Obama and the Democrats who will get the main credit from Hispanics, not the Republicans few of whom will vote for it. And the GOP has very long been and always will be the party of the self focused part of the wealthy elite, so its appeal to the masses will always be constrained. Karl Rove was correspondingly and notably naïve. Demographics and ideology preclude the GOP from becoming a permanent majority. It's remarkable what they have been able to do for so long. Big money does have power.

We can expect that as the nation becomes more minority and atheist oriented that it will become increasingly progressive and proscience. This is a reason that many perceptive Republicans are dismayed at the loss of this election. It was a receding opportunity lost. Making Obama's reelection all the worse for the right is that Obamneycare will now become firmly entrenched, bringing the US closer to the 1st world progressive norm of universal health care. With four states including my Maryland (I'm so proud) having broken the string of anti-gay marriage election victories what was a useful GOP wedge issue is turning into a Democratic wedge issue for getting youth voters to show up the polls (click here:-Why-Thats-Big-Trouble- for-the-Religious-Right). The right is even losing on guns because households that possess heaters is actually dwindling fast due to the demographics of an increasingly older, female run, nonrural/nonhunter population (click here). So for the left the future is not going to one of desperately battling with an ascendant right, progressives should have a substantial edge.

It is rare for the member of a party to succeed a previous president from the same party via a normal election. Last happened to the Democrats in 1857, the Republicans in 1929. What makes matter's interesting is the very real possibility that the demographics and GOP incompetence will for the first time in history favor a string of Democratic successions (which I noted above should have started in 1992). A Democratic victory is a real possibility in 2016 if the economy is on the upswing as it is may well be (but see americanmoralspublicreality.org/index.php/the-great-looming-job-crisis-that-libertarians-have-no-clue-how-solve-and-challenges-progressives-as-well), and that incumbent cold have the edge in 2020. This promises to be a further disaster for an increasingly dismayed right because it is likely that the Supreme Court will shift towards being a more progressive institution. If so then a laundry list of progressive preferences will be legally protected and even reinforced regarding reproductive rights, gay rights, election financing, gun control, business regulations and so forth. We will be more like the rest of the modern advanced democracies (which as I have explained elsewhere is a good thing click here).

So if any of you conservatives and libertarians are not panicking yet -- it's time to start.

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Gregory Paul is an independent researcher interested in informing the public about little known yet important aspects of the complex interactions between religion, secularism, culture, economics, politics and societal conditions. His scholarly work (more...)

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so what? Am I supposed to cry or something?... by Archie on Saturday, Nov 10, 2012 at 10:59:41 PM