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The GOP's Suicide

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Message John Tait
This has been a difficult beginning to the New Year for the GOP. On January 3rd, the 111th Congress began with increased Democrat majorities in both the House and Senate.  Later in the month, the Republicans lost control of the White House as Barack Obama was sworn in as President. Obviously, the Republican Party is in a very bad way. But the GOP itself caused its losses, as for years Republicans have ignored their own constituents, preferring instead to pursue Democratic voters. In trying to convert Democrats into Republicans, the GOP has become unrecognizable as Republican, having betrayed and abandoned the people and principles that made it successful in the past.

The GOP’s diminishing influence - clearly demonstrated by its greatly-reduced power in Washington - is the result of Republicans ignoring their traditional White European American base of support, while pursuing the traditional Democratic support base of non-White minorities. According to the PEW Research Center, White Americans will be a minority in the U.S. population by 2042.  Instead of advocating and enacting policies that would prevent the decline of America’s white population, the Republicans have decided to embrace the fateful change that has been underway since 1965, and has elevated Michael Steele to the Republican Party chairmanship.

Michael Steele could not have been elevated to the chairmanship without a racially diverse electorate. (In my book Plain Truth, I explain why such diversity makes political representation impossible.) While registered Republicans in all 50 states are predominantly white, U.S. territories which also vote on such matters are predominantly non-white. On the 6th ballot, Steele won by a final tally of 91-77.  However, he won all 15 votes - one vote more than his margin of victory - from U.S. territories. Guam , American Samoa , Puerto Rico , The Virgin Islands, and The Northern Marianas all held firmly for Steele. Thus, it was non-whites, that is, non-traditional Republicans that turned the Republican Party over to Michael Steele. And these non-traditional Republicans, led by Chairman Steele, will certainly make demands and effect cultural changes to the Republican Party, changes that will conflict with the culture of traditional Republicans.

Chairman Steele is a non-traditional Republican not only racially and culturally, but he is also a non-traditional Republican ideologically. In addition to favoring affirmative action and opposing the death penalty, Steele is soft on the 2nd Amendment. While running for Governor of Maryland in 2006 Steele said, “Society should draw lines. What do you need an assault weapon for, if you’re going hunting? That’s overkill. But I don’t think that means you go to a total ban for those who want to use guns for skeet shooting or hunting or things like that.  But what’s the point of passing gun laws if we’re not going to enforce them? If you want to talk about gun control, that’s where you need to start. We’ve got 300 gun laws on the books right now. At the end of the day, it’s about how we enforce the law.” Chairman Steele’s ascension is a prominent milestone on the road to irrelevance upon which the GOP is marching. There will be more such milestones, as Republicans continue to ignore the culture and ideology of their traditional loyal foundation of support, and instead seek to curry favor with groups that demand policies that were rejected by past successful Republican officials and administrations.

In addition to electing leaders who disagree with the traditional party platform, the Republican response to their 2008 debacle was an embarrassing attempt to beat the Democrats at their own game by tapping Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal to deliver the Republican response to Obama’s State of the Union Address. It was an ineffective, even comical attempt by the GOP to show that it, too, is racially diverse. It seems the Republicans are trying to recreate themselves in the image of the Democratic Party’s notion of “diversity” by matching the Democrats minority-for-minority. But as recent history has proved, Republican efforts to reach out to minorities have not only been fruitless, but have also irritated an already disappointed base. During the 2000 election against Al Gore, then Governor George Bush made strong overtures to the NAACP.  He said, “Discrimination is still a reality, even when it takes different forms. Instead of Jim Crow, there's racial redlining and profiling. Instead of separate but equal, there is separate and forgotten.  Strong civil rights enforcement will be a cornerstone of my administration.” Bush's rhetoric was for naught. In 2000, Gore won 90% of all Black votes while John Kerry received 88% four years later.  Asians have become a more reliable voting bloc for the Democrats this decade.  Gore received 55% while Kerry managed to earn 56%.” Despite Republicans betraying their base supporters to pursue minority voters, the perception will remain that Democrats champion the helpless little guy, and Republicans side with exploitative big business and greedy rich white men.  No matter what Republicans promise during the campaigns or what they enact when they manage to get elected, they will never receive substantial support from minority voters.

The key demographic that both parties hope can give them a monopoly on power is the Hispanic population.  However, the Democrats already possess a near insurmountable advantage.  In addition to Democrats winning a plurality of Hispanic votes since they became a significant portion of the voting pool in 1980, a poll conducted by the Latino Coalition before the 2008 election cycle stated that 61% of all Hispanic voters identify themselves as Democrats while only 21% are registered Republicans.  Even before the opportunity for a minority to vote for a non-white candidate presented itself, they came out in huge numbers for the Democrats.

Generational demographics is another element that is contributing to the demise of the Republican Party. In 2008, with a minority at the top of the ticket, the Democrats received an even larger portion of the vote from their younger, expanding base.  According to CNN, “The only age group where McCain prevailed was 65 and over, and that by just a 10-percentage-point margin, 54 percent to 44 percent, the exit polls showed.  And minorities went heavily into the Obama camp. Blacks, 96 percent Obama to 3 percent McCain; Latinos, 67 percent Obama to 30 percent McCain; and Asians, 63 percent Obama to 34 percent McCain”. The traditional Republican base is declining not just proportionately from an increase in the minority population, but also quantitatively from age. The decreasing Republican membership is reflecting the population trend that shows the numerical decline in the white birth rate. Since the GOP has been the traditional political-cultural home for white people, it follows that with fewer white people entering the human race, then there will be fewer white people in the Republican Party. With less new blood within the ranks, the GOP will contain an aging population, which will present additional image problems that will affect recruitment. While appearing on The Political Cesspool radio program in September 2006, Pat Buchanan stated that the Republican Party will “become a retirement home” if current trends continue.

In attempting to woo voters who will never convert to the GOP, Republicans have alienated their traditional supporters, who now are refusing to back a party they rightly think has betrayed them. Yes, the beginning of 2009 has been difficult for the Republican Party, with the Democrat takeover of both houses of Congress and the ascension of Barack Obama as President. But the future will be even more difficult for a GOP in which it’s once “Silent Majority” will become a shunned minority. And for this, Republicans have no one to blame but themselves.

John Tait is a former chairman of the Northeastern Illinois University College Republicans.  He recently published his first book, Plain Truth.
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