Where Does the GOP Go Now?

Obama won, Romney lost and now we will get the inevitable battle over the future direction of the party. Politico calls it a “looming civil war” and that’s about right, I think. Rush Limbaugh and the other hardcore ideologues will argue that if they would just nominate Real Conservatives and not moderate squishes like Romney and McCain, they’d be unstoppable. But that ignores those pesky things called facts, especially demographic data:

Regardless of whether Romney wins or loses, Republicans must move to confront its demographic crisis. The GOP coalition is undergirded by a shrinking population of older white conservative men from the countryside, while the Democrats rely on an ascendant bloc of minorities, moderate women and culturally tolerant young voters in cities and suburbs. This is why, in every election, since 1992, Democrats have either won the White House or fallen a single state short of the presidency.

“If we lose this election there is only one explanation — demographics,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.)…

“Structurally, a Romney loss, following a McCain loss, would be a rebuke to moderates who have wanted ideological conservatives to fill the bus but not drive the bus,” said a GOP operative close to one sure-fire future presidential aspirant. “The nominee in 2016, if he is not a President Romney, will certainly be a card-carrying movement conservative with a track record to match.”

The pragmatists will howl at this and point to the underlying issues in the electorate.

“If I hear anybody say it was because Romney wasn’t conservative enough I’m going to go nuts,” said Graham. “We’re not losing 95 percent of African-Americans and two-thirds of Hispanics and voters under 30 because we’re not being hard-ass enough.”

Of the party’s reliance on a shrinking pool of white men, one former top George W. Bush official said: “We’re in a demographic boa constrictor and it gets tighter every single election.”

And there you have the two sides perfectly defined: pragmatists vs purists. But in a democracy, politics can never, in the end, be about purity. Ideological ranting and raving will, in the end, take a back seat to reality. The question is whether the Republican party can pull off the trick of moderating on issues like gay rights and immigration without losing a good portion of the religious right (and white) base. If they can’t, it’s going to be pretty difficult to cobble together a stable coalition that can win.

47 comments on this post.
  1. fifthdentist:

    Atilla the Hun 2016!

  2. Doug Little:

    Yeah they are basically fucked, The country is only gonna get browner, more tolerant and less religious. Time to kick the crazies to the curb or become a nasty footnote in the history books.

  3. Area Man:

    “If we lose this election there is only one explanation — demographics,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.)…

    There is no essentialist reason why Republicans can only capture old white rural males. If you choose to systematically alienate racial and religious minorities, urbanites, the young, women, etc. through a campaign of cultural resentment, this is what you get. It’s the tribalism, stupid.

    “Structurally, a Romney loss, following a McCain loss, would be a rebuke to moderates who have wanted ideological conservatives to fill the bus but not drive the bus,” said a GOP operative close to one sure-fire future presidential aspirant.

    Anyone paying attention to the polls during the GOP primary would recall that Romney by far did the best against Obama in a head-to-head match-up. Does anyone in their right mind think that nominee Gingrich would have lost by fewer than 10 points? Whatever you think of Romney, he was clearly the most electable. If you can’t find someone who is both more electable and more right-wing, there’s probably a very good reason for that.

  4. Larry:

    Time to kick the crazies to the curb or become a nasty footnote in the history books

    Who is left to do the kicking?

  5. composer99:

    The Zingularity had some percentage breakdowns on votes by ethnicity & gender, which showed a stark disparity in voting (ethnic whites overall did not favour Obama).

    If some of those votes were motivated in part by racial factors, then the GOP is in real trouble if they can’t moderate their platform for 2016; odds are (IMO) an ethnically white person will be the Democratic candidate, and the Democrats are unlikely to change their strategy of reaching out to youth & minority voters.

    So, granting this is speculation on my part, I don’t see the Republicans picking up much of younger or ethnic minority voters in 2016, and they may well lose some of their ethnically ‘white’ voters to boot – unless they moderate their platform, which I am not confident they will do now that a percived moderate has been beat down a second time.

  6. ArtK:

    And there you have the two sides perfectly defined: pragmatists vs purists. But in a democracy, politics can never, in the end, be about purity. Ideological ranting and raving will, in the end, take a back seat to reality. The question is whether the Republican party can pull off the trick of moderating on issues like gay rights and immigration without losing a good portion of the religious right (and white) base. If they can’t, it’s going to be pretty difficult to cobble together a stable coalition that can win.

    Given the hard-core (and even some of the moderate) conservative inability to deal with reality, it’s going to be a long and painful process before anything really changes. I think the first reaction will be to deny reality even more than ever. Your “difficult” is “impossible” until they recognize that reality isn’t what they want it to be.

  7. Doug Little:

    Who is left to do the kicking?

    Yeah, good point. How about Colin Powell? Although I did see him stumping for Obama.

  8. Doug Little:

    Jon Huntsman?

  9. unbound:

    I wonder if the GOP also realizes that despite stepped up efforts at voter suppression, Obama still won by a pretty comfortable margin. If they continue to deny reality, I wonder if the voter suppression efforts will be even stronger in 2016.

  10. raven:

    AFAICT, the Tea Party christofascists won the civil war a long time ago. Moderate Republican is almost an oxymoron like giant microbes or intelligent creationist.

    1. Who says their strategy of pandering to the New Dark Agers isn’t working. This election was extremely close, with Obama barely winning the popular vote and squeaking out wins in a lot of key states he won.

    They control most governorships and the US House.

    2. Demographics are against them but this is a slow process. The old white boomers are just entering social security and we live a long time these days, average is 77 years.

    US xianity is dying but around 1-2% a year. It will take 20 years to go from 76% to 50%.

    I suspect the GOp will just get more extreme and gradually become marginalized on a time scale of decades, not years.

  11. eric:

    The question is whether the Republican party can pull off the trick of moderating on issues like gay rights and immigration without losing a good portion of the religious right (and white) base

    As I said on another of Ed’s threads, I don’t think they can. They’ll take a big hit the year they change their platform. The religious conservatives will go third party or just not show up. I think they’ll rebound pretty quickly; it will only take one major thumping for the moral conservatives to realize they have to pick an evil to be relevant. So this will only be a 2-4 year thumping.

    Thinking about it more, however, I’ll bet that next presidential election the GOP tries a middling strategy of just not talking about social issues. They will not put anything in their platform about (for example) gay rights and refuse to engage on it as best they can. Their candidates will change the subject when it comes up, and so on. The people they’ll put forward will be anti-gay, but they will try and leave as much doubt as possible in the minds of their voters as to which way they’ll actually govern. Actual opposition will be relegated to dog-whistle ads similar to the miscenegenation ads used in the south aganist black candidates: subtextual, third-party, and publicly deniable while still effective.

  12. MikeMa:

    If you cant win with lies, hate and money, what is left for the GOP?

    There were some serious efforts at voter suppression that mostly failed but did point to a future strategy push unless we can locate, try and convict the perps.

  13. beezlebubby:

    See, this is the part of the 2012 elections I’m savoring the most. Many republicans have a tendency to reject or deny reality. Many reject the modern theory of evolution. Many reject global warming. Many of them keep claiming to hold majority positions on social issues that have evolved rapidly away from them(tolerance towards gays, most notably). So, watching them reality-deny polls, over and over again, was pure joy for me. For once, the reality-deniers would get the truth shoved right in their ignorant faces. And here we are today, gleefully rubbing their noses in it. Priceless.

    Maybe one day they’ll convince each other that black is white, and promptly get run over at the next crosswalk.

  14. Michael Heath:

    Of the party’s reliance on a shrinking pool of white men, one former top George W. Bush official said: “We’re in a demographic boa constrictor and it gets tighter every single election.”

    Here’s a fascinating parsing http://goo.gl/vLFZ3 of a Pew Survey that shows even this bias towards whites is arguably over-stated in most of the country and signs of hope it won’t last for long. That even sub-groups of whites could become fed-up with the GOP like gays, scientists, academia, and even swaths of the tech sector already have.

    I’ve long had no idea what could cause the Republican party to become viable at governing in the public interest at the federal, and in most cases, the state level; in spite of doing quite a bit of reading and thinking on this topic. Clearly they’re not competent now except in some local and a handful of state levels, where they’re getting worse at an increasing rate.

    This election now has me wondering if it’s going to women, white women. Conservatives have long failed to sufficiently pander to non-whites, secularists, and gays. However they’ve long been successful at keeping their women submissively loyal, probably due to the submissiveness they demonstrate in conservative churches. I’m now wondering if this success now has a shelf-life.

  15. anubisprime:

    The GOP has allied itself to the righteous Christian fundy wing of Intolerant-R-Uz for just to long without a painful and acrimonious divorce, indeed if that is on the cards!

    I get the sense that the GOP are rather caught in the headlights b’twixt ‘n’ b’tween a rock and a hard place.
    They can’t ditch the religious without cutting off the support from the older less adaptable critters that form the GOP bedrock.

    One thing is for sure the uber right wing are not electable for long if at all.
    And most seem to suffer an atrocious intellect corroded and dull without a valid clue on foreign policy or social issues.
    Let alone general technical and scientific knowledge.
    Most are xenophobic to an extreme and misogyny comes with the country.
    They are not an answer to the American fiscal malady, which incidentally most European countries are experiencing as well.
    There was a swing to the right leaning parties when the financial meltdown broke but the pendulum is now headed the other way like a scalded cat politically.

    Several disappointed Republican’s interviewed seem blinded by the ‘I wanted a businessman to run the economy’ mantra…citing Romney as a Businessman is rather exaggerating a point methinks.

    Seems that Bain should be warning enough that mittens is a more a profit vampire then a friendly all knowing jolly dividend bestowing fairy goddaddy with a magic company policy clutched in his sweaty hand.

    Prayer rallies seem a bust, Zero out of a myriad by the latest score, obviously their god is not particularly interested in their gripes and breathless wishes.
    Besides other opinion polls are suggesting a radical and catastrophic upheaval in religious attitudes is taking place as we contemplate Obama and four more years.
    And the trend to ditching organized scam cult worship is seemingly on an increase never witnessed before, seems like folks are breaking free from the religious stranglehold.
    In 4 years that trend will be four years older and possibly cranked up to a veritable deluge of disaffected shunning the church.

    The moderates in the GOP are not all red-necked home schooled moronically challenged dingbats, they must know it is a busted flush in this manner of theming a party ideology.

    And it seems their voter base they depend on, the rich angry old gun totin’ white-man with issues of the rebel south still ricocheting around their empty echoing craniums, are diminishing in number year on year through natural wastage.
    They have no plan B…

    They cannot go forward and have no idea how to go back!

    Interesting times.
    Seems the choice they have is ditching the religious cretins that cling on for the odd crumb of advantage or going in for a radical and deep rooted make over into a center right proper Republican party, ditch the spluttering wackjobs that bury them with inane and stupid statements at election time and grow up into a valid premise rather then a has been clichéd gud’ol’ boys club with a collective IQ scraping the carpet.

  16. Nick Gotts (formerly KG):

    Jon Huntsman?

    Two Mormons in a row? Unlikely. I think the strategy for 2016 will be a wingnut candidate (possibly Ryan), plus continued efforts to sabotage the economy and step up voter suppression. The remaining “moderates” may peel off and join the Democrats.

  17. Nick Gotts (formerly KG):

    Seems the choice they have is ditching the religious cretins that cling on for the odd crumb of advantage or going in for a radical and deep rooted make over into a center right proper Republican party – anubisprime

    But the latter niche is already occupied by the Democratic Party. There’s a myth that Americans as a whole are right-wing, but if you ask the right questions (e.g., positive or negative views of socialism, whether both parties are in the pockets of the rich – I don’t have these to hand, but the general tenor of the results have stuck in my mind), it’s simply not so: there’s a huge untapped well of support for policies far to the left of the Dems.

  18. otrame:

    Look, for the most part, the people with the money do not give a single solitary fuck about gay rights or abortion. Those were just tools used to corral the sheep. They want to control how the government controls business. So I’m wondering if what we see next is two things:

    1) more money will go to business conservative Democrats

    2) the Republican party will be told: “You have to marginalize social issues because you can’t win on those anymore. Yeah, you’ll lose some people, but if you stop trying to fuck over women and gays, you’ll get a bunch of conservative gays and women into the fold. Just get O’Reilly to spend all his time telling them how important deregulation is for creating jobs and how unions cause cancer and forget about the frigging atheists. (Erm… and make sure no one mentions the Savings and Loan Crisis and Toxic Asset Crisis because some of those idiots might figure out that that is what happens when you deregulate–the government is forced to bail out the ones who didn’t get out in time and the taxpayer pays for it). Also, you know, your average black guy knows what you mean when you dog whistle “urban” and “welfare”. So stop it. We need those guys. Oh, and talking about illegal aliens like they are, you know, like Sigourney Weaver-type Aliens is losing you a lot of votes to, so knock it off”.

  19. bbgunn:

    This is anecdotal, so I don’t know if this reasoning existed elsewhere, but my Mom and Dad (every-Sunday and holyday catlicks) voted Obama solely based on how far right the Republican party had veered on social issues.

    My Mom said she felt uneasy with what she saw as Republican persecution of minority groups. She is first generation born here, and she remembers the bigotry leveled at other Eastern European families when growing up in the ’30s and ’40s. She said she doesn’t want a government determining how and whom to love (we have family members who are gay/lesbian). She said she doesn’t want a government who has (her words) “its nose up [her] or [her] family’s reproductive systems or telling [her] children they have to produce babies against their will.”

    However, she also said that if this election had been strictly about the economy and not about social issues, she quite possibly would have taken a chance on Romney.

  20. left0ver1under:

    Where will they find new supporters? Maybe they should try the University of Mississippi, a/k/a Ole Miss. There are plenty of rednecks and “useful idiots” to be found there.

    http://www.salon.com/2012/11/07/ole_miss_students_start_racist_protest_after_election_result/

  21. Area Man:

    I wonder if the GOP also realizes that despite stepped up efforts at voter suppression, Obama still won by a pretty comfortable margin. If they continue to deny reality, I wonder if the voter suppression efforts will be even stronger in 2016.

    Voter suppression does not appear to have had any effect in this election. If it did, it’s hard to explain why the pre-election polls were so accurate. It would require that the population of voters who were suppressed just so happened to equal those who said they weren’t going to vote (and thus were rejected by likely voter screens) but later changed their minds. Not impossible, but the simpler explanation is that suppression just wasn’t significant.

    That’s not to say Republicans won’t keep trying, but it’s an increasingly desperate move that make them look even shittier than they already are.

  22. Bronze Dog:

    I feel like I’m staring at a contradiction about the nature of the Republican party. Sometimes it seems like they’re in a state of chaos, tearing each other apart with no coherent plans or principles, and then they turn into a well-oiled machine with every part dedicated to putting out the vote for their arbitrarily chosen candidate, using every bureaucratic advantage they can exploit.

    Thinking about it, that pretty much the essence of how political parties work, but it weirds me out to watch the process at the level of detail I observed this election.

  23. erichoug:

    I really don’t understand the logic of some conservatives like Limbaugh. So, you think that your candidate wasn’t conservative enough and that caused the undecided voters to vote for the liberal who was apparently more conservative than the conservative candidate. Hmmmmm. I mean you can make the argument that the conservative base can only get fired up about a “True Conservative”(tm) the only problem is that he more extreme the candidate, the more he fires up the middle and the other side as well. Mostly AGAINST him.

  24. Doug Little:

    Best thing I saw last night.

    A Romney add well after the polls had closed in MI and MI had been called for the Democrats. I would want a refund if I were them.

  25. Alverant:

    A “looming civil war” they say? I’m more concerned about an actual civil war with actual people getting killed. A rabid animal is most dangerous when cornered.

  26. barryd:

    unbound says:

    “I wonder if the GOP also realizes that despite stepped up efforts at voter suppression, Obama still won by a pretty comfortable margin. If they continue to deny reality, I wonder if the voter suppression efforts will be even stronger in 2016.”

    Voter suppression is basically free to the people doing it. They spend government (and billionaire) money, and never face prosecution. They’ll keep doing it until somebody goes to prison.

  27. scienceavenger:

    @25 Indeed. The big unspoken news in this election IMO is that for the first time in American history 80% of the states have gone for the same party in 4 straight POTUS elections. My fears of an actual civil war seem less and less paranoid. The only thing that may prevent it is that the statewide pattern is really just a proxy. The real division, as can be seen clearly from the by-county maps, is the cities vs the countryside. You can spot any city in any state – its the blob of blue surrounded by red. That lack of geographic continuity may save us, but then again, it didn’t in Bosnia.

    Go read the GOP blogs. They aren’t admitting legitimate defeat. They think they lost because Obama’s campaign team was better, the media was against them, the voters are crazy, etc. And if the conversations I overheard in my red-area gym are any indication, they are already loading up on weapons and ammo.

  28. laurentweppe:

    Ideological ranting and raving will, in the end, take a back seat to reality

    Unless the purist have enough firepower to pull a coup. Never forget that possibility.

    ***

    If they continue to deny reality, I wonder if the voter suppression efforts will be even stronger in 2016.

    I’ve argued before that the rRepublicans’ denial of reality is for the most part a pantomime meant to hide that they’re actually thinking “Democracy sucks we can’t win, let’s cheat more next time

    ***

    Moderate Republican is almost an oxymoron like giant microbes

    Cough

    This election was extremely close, with Obama barely winning the popular vote

    Nearly three million more votes is not “barely winning”

    and squeaking out wins in a lot of key states he won.

    The only close call was Florida, and Obama won it by nearly 50.000 votes

    Some people still have trouble aknowledging that the Silver/Maths ticket won this election.

    ***

    The question is whether the Republican party can pull off the trick of moderating on issues like gay rights and immigration without losing a good portion of the religious right (and white) base

    As I said on another of Ed’s threads, I don’t think they can

    and

    The GOP has allied itself to the righteous Christian fundy wing of Intolerant-R-Uz for just to long without a painful and acrimonious divorce, indeed if that is on the cards!

    In France, we’ve seen the far-right turning overnight from christian fundies to self-proclaimed defenders of the Secular Republic. No schism happened: the fundies are still voting for the fascists and they giggle and wink at each others every-time one of their standard bearer play the “Paragon of Secularism” schtick, while the douchebaggy subset of atheists just stopped pretending and openly joined ranks with the far right (so now we have more atheists than practicing religious people voting for the far-right).
    .
    Don’t delude yourself: sooner or later the same thing will happen in the US as well. And thanks to your two-party system, it will not be limited to the far-right fringes.

  29. caseloweraz:

    Area Man wrote: “Voter suppression does not appear to have had any effect in this election. If it did, it’s hard to explain why the pre-election polls were so accurate.”

    I venture to guess that it was something like the Y2K problem: Voter suppression looked like it was going to really mess things up, so poll watchers, reporters and some attorneys general went into action and made sure to fix most of the specific problems.

  30. dogmeat:

    I really don’t understand the logic of some conservatives like Limbaugh. So, you think that your candidate wasn’t conservative enough and that caused the undecided voters to vote for the liberal who was apparently more conservative than the conservative candidate.

    Actually, I would argue that the idea is that, because the candidate wasn’t conservative enough, the silent majority of “True Conservatives™” didn’t come out to vote. Instead, if they truly have a “Real Conservative™” candidate, then that silent moral majority will come out and destroy the godless heathens at the polls, Ronald Reagan will come back to life, and baseball and apple pie and stuff.

    The simple fact is that they can’t fathom that they aren’t the majority. Add to that their authoritarian/conservative nature and you have a recipe for complete denial of reality. To a certain degree you could argue that it is insanity.

    Promote conservative ideas proven not to work or not to represent the desires of the electorate, lose election, scream, kick, pout, [repeat]…

  31. eric:

    Several disappointed Republican’s interviewed seem blinded by the ‘I wanted a businessman to run the economy’

    Heh, you should tell them that’s exactly what happened. Tell them the businesspeople running the country – voters – decided to do exactly what Bain did – and offshored Romney’s job to Kenya.

    Be sure to keep tongue firmly in cheek while doing so.

  32. eric:

    Actually, I would argue that the idea is that, because the candidate wasn’t conservative enough, the silent majority of “True Conservatives™” didn’t come out to vote.

    Of course this idea is contradicted by the data just as badly as any other conservative excuse for losing. Their main constituency (old religious whites) shows up in like 75% numbers. They are already hugely overrepresented in voting compared to per capita. They couldn’t muster significantly more votes out of their main constituency even if they tried; there simply aren’t the non-voting bodies to do so. Sure, hypothetically, if they got literally 100% turnout they could gain huge ground. But anyone with an ounce of sense should realize that the pool which is already voting at the 75% mark is not going to outgrow the pools currently voting at the 30% (hispanics) and 45% (youth) marks.

  33. dugglebogey:

    I hope future GOP candidates take note that one of the major mistakes that Romney made was believing things reported by Fox News, such as the Jeep production moving to China story.

  34. meg:

    my random thoughts based on the commentary we’re getting down under:

    Nick @ 16 may be right – there’s a lot of commentary I’m hearing saying the the GOP is thinking ‘we only lost by 1-2%, so if we go more conservative’. If they do (and I have a suspicion they may, although that will depend on how the Dems handle the preselection in 2016) the wipe out they face will either force them back to the centre or split them completely. In that case, it will be 2020 before they’re a viable threat.

    bbgunn @ 19 – you raise an interesting point that’s got me thinking. I thought the GOP was the party opposed to big government, and the government telling you what to do? The fact that your mother was anti GOP based on them ‘being up people’s nose’ on personal issues say bucket loads. But then again, growing up I was taught that in politics, ‘conservative’ = fiscal conservatism.

  35. lordshipmayhem:

    Re: Voter Suppression: I think it had the opposite effect. Those whose votes the Tea Party tried to suppress, got very angry and decided nobody was going to prevent them from voting. Result: a stronger turnout in those states for Obama than there otherwise would have been.

  36. dingojack:

    lordshipmayhem – I agree.
    It’s completely anecdotal but a black woman (in NJ, I think) interviewed on CNN said something like: ‘Nobody and nothing was going to stop me voting. In the old days you couldn’t even vote’. (Nail-head meet hammer-head).
    :) Dingo

  37. Midnight Rambler:

    The thing that the purists don’t get – and which frankly I hope they never do – is how shockingly close Romney came to winning, despite being such a tremendously awful candidate running against a popular president against a huge demographic impediment. He couldn’t shake the Etch-A-Sketch enough to dissociate himself from his own positions and those of the whole party, but he did pretty well at keeping social issues in particular out of the discussion. Any of the others who were running in the primary would have been far worse, and would have been completely crushed. If Governor Romney circa 2006 had been running, he might have pulled it off.

  38. macallan:

    Atilla the Hun 2016!

    Not white enough, not some sort of baptist, too damn socialist.

  39. frog:

    lordshipmayhem and dingojack:

    That was my read as well. There are still plenty of people who were alive during the 60s, or have heard the stories from their parents and grandparents about the actual violence done to stop them from voting. Nothing braces most spines like a personal attack.

    Following the principle of “people’s past behavior is predictive of their future behavior,” I predict the GOP will once again turn the doubling cube and try to be even bigger assholes.

    I don’t think the GOP will be able to make a go of splitting from the foam-mouthed fundies. The religious right-wing will not sit quietly and play subtle with social issues. These people are strictly about ranting-and-raving, Us and Them. Either you are with them 100%, or you are the devil incarnate. “Subtle” to them is hitting you over the head with a broomstick handle instead of a Louisville slugger.

    Also, it has been my experience that politicians just can’t keep their mouths shut. The same ego that drives anyone to run for public office is usually (not always) paired to a massive sense of being smarter and more knowledgable than everyone else. They gotta show off how smart and clever they are, and if they’re in a room full of people who nod approvingly at mild racist/homophobic/misogynistic/ableist/classist slurs, then they’ll get more open, with their closed circle of confirmation bias saying they’re safe to talk this way.

    Add in One Internet and a smartphone panopticon, and their stupidity has an excellent chance of coming to light.

  40. Ichthyic:

    However, she also said that if this election had been strictly about the economy and not about social issues, she quite possibly would have taken a chance on Romney

    oddly enough, that probably would have been just as disastrous as it would have been on the social issues side of things.

    people are not giving Obama’s approaches to improving the economy enough credit.

    they ARE sound, especially during a recessive period.

    stop worrying about the deficit, and keep encouraging Obama to look to spend in areas that will increase growth.

  41. Ichthyic:

    Go read the GOP blogs. They aren’t admitting legitimate defeat. They think they lost because Obama’s campaign team was better, the media was against them, the voters are crazy, etc.

    I read Free Republic this morning.

    yup.

    that’s exactly what I saw there.

    exactly.

    oh, and even though Obama won well over 300 electoral votes, TWICE, he still “doesn’t have a mandate!!!”

  42. dingojack:

    frog – “Also, it has been my experience that politicians just can’t keep their mouths shut”.

    This is, IMHO, also true of religious fundies – and doubly so of those in both sets. And since these ‘double-headers’ seem to be more common within the political right that makes right-wingers much more vulnerable to embarrassing ‘leaks’.

    Just my two cents.

    Dingo

  43. StevoR:

    @fifthdentist : “Atilla the Hun 2016!”

    Nah. He’s too far to the Left for them! ;-)

  44. Kilian Hekhuis:

    The question is whether the Republican party can pull off the trick of moderating on issues like gay rights and immigration without losing a good portion of the religious right (and white) base. If they can’t, it’s going to be pretty difficult to cobble together a stable coalition that can win.

    I’m not entirely sure. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if moderatism would draw in many Obama voters in a next election. Those anti-gay, anti-women old white men won’t vote at all in that case, but in the balance, lose the vote of one OWM, but win the vote of an Obama voter gets you one vote ahead.

  45. eric:

    meg @34:

    I thought the GOP was the party opposed to big government, and the government telling you what to do?

    “Party of small government’ is one of their major claims and talking points, but its a gross misrepresntation. They regularly seek to expand law enforcement (both in terms of resources and what they are allowed to do) and military, which are inherently governmental functions. What they want is smaller federal social services and social support.

  46. bryanfeir:

    Heh. I liked the description of Limbaugh’s reaction in an opinion piece on conservative reactions to the election in the Toronto Star this morning. “Rush Limbaugh, sounding like a wolverine caught in a bear trap trying to figure out how best to chew his own leg off…”

  47. robertfaber:

    I’m surprised no one has yet considered this, but the GOP is fucked whether or not they keep the social conservatives.

    Before the Southern Strategy and wedge issues were invented to split the working class white vote, do you know who working class whites were voting for? Democrats, by huge margins. These were the base of FDR, Truman, JFK and LBJ (at least until the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act), and a congress that was almost always majority democratic. Union support, farm subsidies, and social security were the issues that brought working class whites to the polls, and huge numbers voted straight ticket dem for decades.

    The reason the GOP was able to pluck these voters away from the democrats and their own economic self interest were the wedge issues, particularly racial issues in the south, immigration elsewhere, and the evangelicals once the courts started striking down their hegemony. The use of these issues made it much, much easier to sell their economic policies to these same people–after all, the GOP became the “party of God” to many of them, so it became much easier to accept really bad economic policy on faith alone.

    The GOP could abandon their pro-life stances, embrace gays, and grant full amnesty to all illegals and it won’t matter. If the GOP stops with the calls of “baby killers” and “dey took yer jerbs”, the cognitive dissonance that allows a voter to cut his own social security benefit to preserve a billionaire’s tax subsidy on dividends is going to quickly disappear.

    They’re fucked, not just with minorities, but eventually, the 99% as well.

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