The GOP leadership pledged to the nation after their defeat in the 2012 Presidential Election that the party would reach out to the very groups of people they had slighted and alienated in that campaign. The hope being that the party would attract more women, Latinos, Gays, and blacks, and that the image of the Republican Party as a group of angry older white people would be thrust aside.
None of that has even begun. In point of fact, what got Republican conservatives in trouble in 2012 is as active as ever in 2013. And the indications are that it will continue through the off-year Congressional Elections in 2014 and disastrously into the Presidential Election of 2016.
The bottom line is the bald fact that racial and gender and sex-orientation prejudice, along with the inability of Republicans to give real power to these groups they’ve insulted, alienated and largely excluded may doom the party altogether in the next decade—making it irrelevant– then dead.
We once had a Federalist Party. Where is it today? We once had a Whig Party? Where is it today? Political parties can and do die. Republican Senator Lindsay Graham noted this week his party will be in a “death spiral” until they change. Those are his words—“death spiral.”
And there is the unpleasant reality that due to the fact that the Republican Party is overwhelmingly older, whiter, and angrier at a nation that continues to change both demographically and on political policy issues Republicans are left to take the distinctly minority and declining policy positions. Even a majority of their own voters do not agree with many of the Party leadership’s stands on many issues. And when they do, the rest of us a clear electoral majority—Democrats and most independents, disagree with them.
Rush Limbaugh this week asked on his radio show the following:
Does that mean we are going to have to apologize to Latinos and pass immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship in order to get their votes?
Our Answer: Yes
Does that mean we are going to have to also apologize to women for the so called “war on women” and change our views to get their votes?
Our Answer: Yes
Does that mean we are going to have to permit Gay Marriage and equal rights for Gays to get their votes?
Our Answer: Yes
Does that mean we are going to have pay attention to the demographic shift in this country and not look like a bunch of angry old white men?
Our Answer: Yes
The point of this is simply that an overwhelming majority of Americans have long since moved on to more liberal (tolerant) views on these things and are not attracted to a party that holds on to old prejudices and retrograde policies. And that the demographic makeup of the nation among legal citizens of the United States even if we were to deport the 11-12 million undocumented persons today would look nothing like the demographic make-up of the Republican Party and right-wing conservative Tea Party members who are about 90% white Anglo-Saxon.
The Republican Party must adapt or die. Right now it is firmly on course to extinction. This is not good for the nation either. For it restricts the ability of the Republican Party to marshal their already compromised human resources to offer policy alternatives to Democrats that are both innovative and problem solvers to ordinary people, what former RNC Chair Michael Steele calls their natural “sweet spot” to get votes. Mr. Steele himself is black and holds reality based views using facts.
Simply because you have Allen West, Thomas Sowell, Condoleezza Rice and Clarence Thomas on your side and a handful of women you are not a truly inclusive party to a demographic majority of the Americans people.
And it does not mean you simply stop insulting people and everything is fine. It does not mean you simply extend the invitation to these groups to join an overwhelmingly white party of grumpy old white guys and their Stepford Wife clones. You have to actually put larger numbers of all of these demographic groups in charge of large elements of the party in numbers that look like America in 2013 and not America in 1950. This Republicans are unwilling to do.
Right now the overwhelming majority of conservative Republicans cannot jettison long-held prejudices. They cannot curb their anger and hate, and that blinds them to thinking about real policies to solve problems Americans most broadly want solved. Political parties with this kind of profile deserve to die until a new second, majority possible, political party forms to answer these questions.
Case Study: Here we are with a bi-partisan effort in the Senate to get a comprehensive immigration reform bill that will both include a path to citizenship and border security. Yet House Republicans and some Senators were holding Wednesday an all-day hate session disguised as a press conference directed at immigrants who were called “takers” “criminals” “unwilling to work” and who only sought amnesty on the way to citizenship without earning it.
The reality is that under the proposed Gang of Eight Senate Immigration Bill it will take 13 years and not the constitutionally set 5 years for the undocumented to become citizens. Those folks all will have to undergo successful criminal background checks. They will have to admit they violated our immigration laws upon their arrival here, and pay $2,000 in fines for what has always been a civil violation of law and not criminal. They will be required to learn about American History and Government, they must go to the back of the line behind legal immigrants, and they must learn English to speak it fluently.
This is hardly amnesty. And the law as originally conceived by the four Republican Senators and Democrats has put four and a half billion dollars more a year into border security, and 3,300 more agents AFTER Obama has hired and trained and deployed more border patrol agents in the nation’s entire history, finished much of the wall and deported a record number of violators of the nation’s immigration law.
Incidentally, Limbaugh’s questions though they were exactly the ones the party needs to answer in the affirmative were largely rhetorical, and his anger boiled over the surface and he rigidly defended just where Republicans have been since Obama came into office in 2009. The hardening arteries of the Party are plain to see. The patient, The Republican Party, is dying.