Will the GOP survive the Obama years – and should it?

There is an interesting opinion column in today’s L.A. Times regarding what happend to the GOP in the recent election.  The thrust of the column is that the Republican Party’s goose is cooked:

First, Obama’s electoral coalition suggests deep fissures in the geographical base of the GOP. Since the 1960s, Republicans have been able to count on solid support from the South and the Rocky Mountain West, along with significant footholds in the Upper Midwest and New England. Obama’s victories in Virginia, North Carolina and Florida show that the solid South is now more liquid. In the West, the Obama victories in Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada, along with a robust showing in Montana, are bitter reversals for Republican fortunes. Add Obama’s ability to win handily in Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin, and the virtual disappearance of the GOP in New England (with the defeat of Connecticut Rep. Chris Shays, there is no longer a single Republican lawmaker from a region that was once a GOP bastion), and it is not clear there is any enduring regional base for the party anymore.

At the same time, Republicans have seen serious erosion in America’s suburbs. Suburban voters gave 61% of their votes to the GOP in 1984 and 57% in 1988, but that dropped to 52% by 2004. This time, they fell to 48%, while Obama captured a majority. For the GOP, its base has been reduced to small-town and rural voters, not exactly a growth strategy.

Even more disturbing for Republicans is the change reflected in demographics. Minority voters are growing steadily as a share of the population and of voters. In 2004, whites made up 79% of U.S. voters; they were down to 75% this year. Blacks, Latinos and Asians, meantime, went from 20% to 23%. Blacks voted 95% for Obama; Latinos gave him 66% support; and Asians, 61%. Whatever advances the Bush team made by wooing black churches and socially conservative Latinos during the last eight years seemed to evaporate. If the Republican Party cannot make significant, lasting inroads into these minority voting populations, it has a long-term disaster on its hands.

Most ominous for the GOP is what has been happening with younger voters. As a share of the electorate, 18- to 29-year-olds grew only slightly, from 17% to 18%. But they grew in terms of numbers of voters by more than 2.2 million (perhaps up to 4.5 million) and gave 66% of their votes to Obama. Partisan identity tends to crystallize in this age range. If Obama succeeds over the next four or eight years, these voters may carry their Democratic identity through their lifetimes. For Republicans, the danger is that their only reliable voting bloc may remain older white guys. Make that older Protestant white guys. Ouch.

The O.C. Register’s Steven Greenhut argues that “Republicans need to return to their small-government roots. This includes a rethinking of the party’s embrace of the National Security State and of the neoconservative international prerogatives that probably had something to do with Tuesday’s losses. As Antiwar.com’s Justin Raimondo put it: “Saddled with the neocons’ war and the central theme of the McCain campaign – ‘victory’ in Iraq and intervention around the world – Republicans all across the nation have been dragged down to defeat.” Will the party ever learn that spending hundreds of billions of dollars policing the globe also is a form of big government?”

I personally think that the GOP is done.  They have become nothing more than the flip side of the Democrats.  More often than not they stand for bigotry – and as we saw in the above-referenced L.A. Times column, they are losing minority and young voters.  That is a recipe for extinction.  Even here in Orange County we saw white voters become a minority this year.  That trend will only deepen over time.

What new party will emerge from the ashes of the Republican Party?  Probably at least two parties actually.  As we saw with the passage of Prop. 8 here in California, there are plenty of social conservatives in the Democratic Party.  A new political party that caters to a social conservative agenda will emerge – it is only a matter of time.  The remaining Republicans my try to hang on to the elephant party, but if they fail then they will have to go back to the drawing board.  Rich people will always need some sort of party to belong to, and not all of them are going to be happy in the Democratic Party.

As for me, I am joining the Libertarian Party.  I disagree with the fiscally irresponsible Democrats and I would never rejoin the Republicans.  I have enjoyed being a decline to state voter, but I agree with the Libertarian philosophy of being socially progressive while being fiscally conservative.  I have a feeling that as we see our red and blue friends continue to screw up this country, more and more people are going to join the Libertarian Party.

About Admin

"Admin" is just editors Vern Nelson, Greg Diamond, or Ryan Cantor sharing something that they mostly didn't write themselves, but think you should see. Before December 2010, "Admin" may have been former blog owner Art Pedroza.