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Pity The Poor GOP Strategist

Posted by MacZad
Nov 07 2012

Things didn't go well for the GOP nationally on Nov. 6th, and the Republican strategists must be pulling their hair out trying to figure out what to do.

Several important trends are against them: Coming rapidly are the increasing diversity of the country and the rising importance of young liberal voters as "angry (old) white guys" die off. Coming more slowly are the declining importance of religion in the lives of many Americans and the increasing urbanization of the country.

Like Barry Goldwater predicted, I believe that the party's biggest problem is that 40+% of its members are evangelical Christians. They have a strangle-hold on the party. However, without them in the base there is no party so those in power work a neat con to keep them. They are ideologically ridged, and nothing short of the 2nd coming of Christ will deter them from their mission of remaking the country into a Christian Nation. Their delegates to the Republican national convention used their strength to put a such a strong anti-abortion plank into the party platform that more-sensible party leaders tried to distance GOP candidates from it. However the disclaiming didn't work for not only is the plank radical the candidates are also. Evangelicals vote in very large numbers in GOP primary elections and select candidates who are far to the right of mainstream America. In contests with Democrats in the main elections the extreme mindset of these candidates often comes out, and the Democrat wins. This cost the GOP several Senate seats in 2012. However, from a liberal standpoint it's unfortunate that these radical mindsets are not exposed more often.

The party must do things to attract a more diverse base of voters, but the extreme right-wing positions dictated by the evangelical zealots makes that very difficult. Attracting younger voters is also a must, but that's also difficult. For example the GOP fights gay marriage at every turn while the young readily accept it. There are big ideological differences here, but any strategy that liberalizes GOP positions to attract these new voters alienates the evangelicals. Much lost hair for the GOP strategists.

Research is showing religion decreasing in importance for many Americans except for evangelical Christians. The increasing recognition of the reality of evolution calls the idea of gods into question and religious doubt leads many to a more liberal view. The rural areas (the traditional GOP strongholds) are losing population as better opportunities for employment in metropolitan areas draws people in. Cities, with their cosmopolitan atmosphere and cultural diversity, are the cradles of civilization, and, just as travel does, city living opens minds to other viewpoints - most often liberal ones. Unfortunately for the GOP there's almost nothing that they can do to counter these two trends.

All this makes it seem bleak for the GOP, but that's only partly true for the party is very patient in working toward its goals. Realizing many of its policies are unpopular the GOP works incrementally at achieving them and has made many little gains over the past 30 years or so. Despite some substantial liberal advancements the midpoint of American political thinking has shifted to the right in many areas. So much of what once was considered moderate is now viewed as liberal and what was once considered extreme right wing is now acceptable. Unfortunately, it's not just Republicans who embrace these new norms but, many Democrats do as well because the magnitude of the attitude shift is hidden by its slowness. More on this in a later posting.

Categories: Defending Religious Freedom, Embracing Diversity and Tolerance, Seeking Truth - Debunking Dogma