The Big Tent Collapses

Senator Specter (D-PA) changes his affiliation to the Democratic Party. The Republican Party brought forth a big coalition to attain a majority in 1980 when he first was elected 29 years ago which included centrist to liberal legislators such as Arlen Specter to conservatives such as Jesse Helms.

The Republican Party became more polarized over time and the caucus moved more to the right where even Vermont’s own senator Jim Jeffords left the party in 2002 and became an Independent to caucus with the Democratic Party. The only two North Eastern centrists that lurk in the party are the Maine Republican women of Collins and and Snowe.

Yes, we need to follow the fundamentals of fiscal responsibility. But we need to ditch the reliance on bashing the queers and Mexicans for votes. I think I see the writing on the wall, if the Republicans want to be a party of the nation, they need to understand reality. If we want to represent the North East and the West Coast we need to moderate our views on social issues. It’s the base stupid!

We follow the same old playbook and fumble each time, politics is about addition not subtraction if we want a winning collation we got to adapt with the times. We are facing a possible generational realignment in the political culture, the traditional Republican base is dying off, and the vote share is going down. The youth voted for Obama 66 to 32 in 2008, compared to 61 to 30 in 1984 while white voters are going down from 88 percent in 1988 to 74 percent in 2008. And I do understand why Steve Schmidt discussed his support for LGBT equality in his speech to the Log Cabin Republicans, its the demographics. Young people do understand that intolerance is not cool and they will likely shy away from a political party that treats their family members and friends like they are second class and irrelevant.

Immigration is the other wedge issue that will cause a wider vote share to the Democratic Party. The Republican Party had its modern day Southern Strategy in 1994 with Proposition 187 which polarized Latino voters and caused many of them to stay away from the Republican Party. Even though many Latino voters may be socially conservative, they avoid the Republican Party because they are mean and used them as a wedge issue. Even though we are against illegal immigration, we should advocate for legal immigration because without people immigrating America would not be as successful as it is today. Wedge issues have a shelf life and they are increasingly coming close to expiration.

Yes, we do need to maintain a two party government. However when the Republican Party establishment refuses to adapt with the times we are seeing the shrinking margins in congress become wider since they last lost the majority in the 1950s. We need an opposition party to stand up against the Democratic Party.

Take a look at California, with a caveman dominated Republican caucus where voters would rather elect Democratic party legislators because Republicans are just basically mean even though Democrats can not balance budgets and lead us to massive budget deficits. We need to be an effective opposition so we can be the checks and balances to prevent an one-party state or national government.

With the Republican Party having no leaders, no cohesive message and by relying on knee jerk reactions we are still stuck in the political wilderness. We need a majority first before we can make things happen, when the base’s dogmatic reliance on staying the course makes the job easier for the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party has a majority because they have conservative leaning legislators in states and regions that lean conservative economically or socially. The Republican Party needs its own liberal to centrist influence in communities and states who would not elect someone who is socially conservative. The Big Tent must return.

By becoming socially inclusive, fiscally responsible by advocating small yet responsive government the Republican Party can return to form. If we could fix California by assembling a new collation we could bring the Republican Party back to life.

About Matt Munson