As we ponder what just happened last night, I can’t help but marvel at the president’s ability to pull a repeat performance in his cherished demographics. It triumphed over the economy to the point where the president even had a job approval rate above 50% among the voters. The clear and painful conclusion is that too many Americans, either due to the Bush II Administration or other ethnic political games, simply aren’t listening to the Republican Party anymore.
It is enough to make me ask (and that’s a step back from a few hours ago, when I was ready to declare it so) if the Republican Party has outlived its usefulness as the vehicle for the American right.
The more voters could see the person and their opinions rather than the party label (the House of Representatives, for example), the better the GOP did. I don’t consider that an accident. Michigan was rejecting public employee unions’ attempt to enshrine collective bargaining in the state constitution – as they were rejecting Republicans for president and U.S. Senate. Ditto Wisconsin (although the former action was in the form of the failed Scott Walker recall earlier this year). In Virginia, voters overwhelmingly approved an amendment to the Constitution to limit eminent domain…while supporting the presidential and senate candidates from the party that opposed it.
In short, voters are supporting limited government more than they are voting for the party that is supposed to be the party of limited government.When that happens, you have to consider that perhaps the party (in this case, the GOP) is not doing the job, and needs to go.
This isn’t as radical as it sounds. Just about every nation in the Anglosphere has seen the party of the right change its structure and/or its name. Australia has seen several combinations of Liberals, Conservatives, and Nationals to speak for the right (even today, the Liberal and National Parties are in a slow-motion merger). Canada has seen the Conservatives join with the Progressives to become the Progressive Conservatives in the 1940s. In the 1990s, the “PC” Party split up into three factions, and two of them eventually came together to form the Conservative Party of Canada. The CPC won its second election (in 2006) and governs to this day – in no small part due to the clean slate and agressive effort in reaching ethnic minorities in Canada. In Britain, the Tories became the Conservatives, then the Conservatives and Liberal Unionists, Conservatives and Liberal Nationals, and finally the Conservatives and Ulster Unionists. In fact, the Conservatives never won and election on their own between 1874 and 1979.
Here in the United States, the Federalists dissolved, and the National Republicans took their place, to be followed by the Whigs and later the Republicans. There is nothing that says the Republican Party has to remain the party of the right, and after this election, there is much reason to believe it shouldn’t be.
I humbly submit for debate the following proposition: the Republican Party has become so toxic as a brand to ethnic minorities and the young – including many among them who support limited government – that it must be replaced by a new party of the right.
I invite you to state your reaction in the comments.
Cross-posted to the right-wing liberal