Monday, July 7, 2014

Can the GOP Use History to Make Gains in the Future?

Shut Out of White House, G.O.P. Looks to Democrats of 1992 from the New York Times
"... one of the biggest questions in American politics is how close Republicans are to replicating Democrats’ process of rejuvenation and winning the White House again. The most conspicuous evidence suggests they have moved further away since Mitt Romney’s loss in 2012. In its policies and unflattering poll ratings, the Republican Party has grown largely indistinguishable from its feisty Tea Party faction. And that does not take into account demographic trends that favor Democrats."
Answer to the above question: No.  Clinton and company moved to the center in real and substantive ways.  They took a walk on longstanding Democratic issues such as (lets count them): (1) gun control; (2) poverty; (3) the rights of criminals; (4) the death penalty; (5); organized labor (for the most part); (6) drug legalization; (7) Affirmative Action; (8) ERA (does anyone under 35 even remember what this acronym stands for!? Hint: it has to do with women); (9) abortion and birth control; (10) and, for the Clintons, yes, climate change!  And there were MORE!  Now, maybe I'm missing something, but, if anything, GOP lawmakers and voters are doubling down on their current issue set.  With the possible exception of gay rights and gay marriage (and I am being very generous here), I see no comparable movement towards the center.  Can you imagine the legislative nirvana we would be living in if we could put together a list of the things that, if THEY DID MOVE to the center, it might alter their trajectory (and make a huge in-the-world difference?!  Never mind taxes or abortion where the chasm is too far.  Let's take some "low-hanging fruit": (1) roads and infrastructure; (2) path to citizenship for immigrant kids who moved here; (3) more money for schools; (4) rigorous prosecution of banksters and corrupt Wall Street companies; (5) rigorous Wall Street reforms to forestall another recession; (6) reasonable gun control laws; (7) renewing unemployment benefits; (8) expanding medicaid in those states where it has not been expanded (Note: where Republican governors have done this, the backlash has been next to zero); (9) SOMETHING meaningful on climate change; and (10) publicly foreswearing government shutdowns or the like.  Now, the thing to see about this list is that, with the possible exception of Medicaid expansion, NO ONE in the GOP leadership or pundit class is talking about them.  Their notion of "reinvention" is to alter the way they talk about gays, immigrants, blacks or women.  There are no real changes in policy being proposed.  I suspect they will need to have the real-world experience of nominating a Barry Goldwater ... and getting Barry Goldwater's results to even begin taking this inquiry seriously.  --  Nuggetsman

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