Wednesday, November 07, 2012

GOP Is Dying

Last night was a bad one for Republicans. It will get a lot worse in future elections. Demography Matters has a good synopsis of the growing concern within the Grand Old Party. I reside in a bellwether county (Loudoun) in a battleground state (Virginia) and can vouch for the anxiety. The eastern (closer to Washington, DC) and more suburban part of the county was pro-Obama. The western and more rural part of the county was Romney country. The population overall is booming, as well as more wealthy, educated, and diverse. A traditional GOP stronghold is trending blue:

District by district, Algonkian, Ashburn, Broad Run, Dulles, Leesburg and Sterling came in with more votes for Barack Obama, while western Loudoun districts Blue Ridge and Catoctin favored Mitt Romney. For the Senate race, the results were similar although Tim Kaine’s opponent George Allen won the Ashburn district by 10 votes.

The success of Kaine and Obama in Loudoun may surprise some political onlookers, who noted that in 2011, voters almost unanimously selected Republican representatives, ousting several Democrat and Independent incumbents.

The switch between a predominantly Republican outcome to a strongly Democratic one only adds to Loudoun’s placement as a swing county in Virginia.

Turnout was low in the 2011 election. Turnout was very high for yesterday's contest. It's a matter of getting out the vote. The demographic trends are against Republicans winning. Greg Giroux with an even more telling political geography:

Miami-Dade (2.5m pop, 65% Hispanic) past 4 WH races: Gore '00 52.6%, Kerry '04 52.9%, Obama '08 57.9%, Obama '12 62.0%

Like Virginia, Florida is slipping away. Some clever gerrymandering should buy the party some time to figure out what to do. The GOP is, literally in some counties, dying.


Matthew Hall said...

49 to 51 is hardly dying. Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Bobby Gindal, Susanah Martinez...... The GOP will adjust and be fine.

DBR96A said...

The Republican Party is dying electorally, and I say this as a registered Republican.

There are 12 states with populations of 8,000,000: California, Texas, New York, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Georgia, North Carolina, New Jersey and Virginia. Only three of them (Texas, Georgia, North Carolina) went Republican in this election. And as long as social conservatives continue to be the Republican "base," then even those three states are no sure thing in the future, especially given how diverse they are, and the fact that one of them (North Carolina) has already gone Democrat in a recent presidential election.

The Republican Party needs to focus less on social policy, especially since social policies are more effectively dealt with at the state, local and personal levels, and focus more on fiscal and economic policies instead. Until then, they're in danger of going the way of the Whig Party.

Anonymous said...

If you believe that the GOP needs a simple "adjustment" then you aren't really paying attention to electorate and demographic trends. It will take more than a minor adjustment to go from ignoring or out right being negative towards minorities... it will take more than a minor adjustment to be more than the party of old white people...

They also have a large group of people in their party who call themselves Christian who don't support anything "Christ-like."
In fact, they are very negative to anything of that nature.

They have contempt for women's issues and science.

The reason why it's so close is:

1 The South, it's still the Confederacy in many ways. I know it, I live in it.

2 There's still a lot of white people to receive their message and fall for the Southern Strategy (40+ years now) and similar tactics.

3 Whites still believe in conservative economic policy despite it causing huge economic disparity over the last 30 years and causing the Great Recession
Throwing Rubio on the ticket putting lip stick on a pig.


BrianTH said...

I'd put Matthew Hall's point as a conditional: if the GOP doesn't adjust it will die as a national party, and if it does adjust (enough) it will be fine. Whether it will adjust (enough) remains to be seen.

Incidentally, I am fairly confident that merely selecting candidates who superficially match certain targeted demographic groups won't work (call it the "Sarah Palin will close the gender gap!" theory). Instead, real adjustment will require real efforts to understand the concerns of those groups, followed by coming up with and sincerely promoting policies that address those concerns in a reasonable way.

The question can therefore be restated as whether or not the Republican Party still has a latent ability to approach politics in that way, as opposed to their current strategy of keeping their policy platform unchanged (or even making it less responsive to the concerns of the relevant groups) while trying to find new, usually superficial, ways to attempt to market that platform. And I honestly don't know the answer to that question.

EJ said...

Matthew Hall, I echo BrianTH's comments.
Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Bobby Jindal, Susanah Martinez are exactly what is wrong with the GOP in the first place. Rubio, a wealthy, right-wing Cuban American is supposed to be representative of all Latinos? The Republican Party behaves as if matching a brown-skinned person to a demographic category is all that it takes to win these votes. Run Jeb's son, George P. Bush for office in Texas and that state's Latino population will simply swoon for him at the polls. That is such a ridiculously simplistic approach to politics, and it is totally insulting to the electorate, but that is the GOP's operating strategy. Republicans assume ethnic minorities are stupid and are therefore incapable of recognizing superficial ploys to deceive and manipulate them for their support.

Maybe they need to put people first over their desire for power and control. Imagine that. But maybe it would also require them to change to something beyond recognition. In other words, to save the party, they may have to completely destroy it. From the looks of things, they are well on the path to destroying themselves anyway.

Matthew Hall said...

No one is representative of all latinos. Latino isn't really even a very useful concept. Marco won't appeal to Latinos, he'll show that Latino isn't a very valid way to explain the actions of what is a collection of groups with different histories and interests.

BrianTH said...

I agree "Latino" is way too broad of a group to make automatic solidarity plausible. On the other hand, people of different ethnic background within that broad group may have a sort of solidarity forced on them to the extent another group treats them hostilely as a group.

So in addition to actually trying to understand and address the many sorts of people who fall within that broad category, the Republican Party needs to do a much better job policing the bigots in its midst.