Hope for the Republican Party of the future?

NYT piece on the recent CPAC conference: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/11/us/politics/social-issues-splitting-young-republicans-from-their-elders.html?smid=re-share&_r=0

As a social libertarian/economic conservative, this is the direction that I had hoped the party would take, although you can see the resistance from the “Old Guard”. I beleive that this is the way that the party must move in orde to remain relevent, and if the youth can wrest control from the Religious Right, the Republicans will become a formidable force again.

Funny thing is that at 44 years old, I would not consider myself a part of any youth movement, but the polls in this piece delineate youth as 45 and under. When 45 year olds are radical youths in any movement, you know the party is getting a little too old…

Wait, now. Up to now, in any discussion of GOP internal politics, I’d expect the phrase “Old Guard” to designate the party establishment, the ones the Tea Partiers call “RINOs.” There is the Old Guard, and there is the Tea Party insurgency – and now young Pubs as a third faction? Well, maybe the young ones can ally with the Old Guard, as against the TP; the Old Guard is at any rate more social-libertarian than the TP, though that’s not saying much.

I think by old guard he means “old people”, who are basically the ones keeping the social conservative wing of the GOP afloat.

There is hope for Republicans in the House and the Senate, however, they won’t be in the White House for a very, very long time.

  • Honesty

That would be unprecedented. History says that even if Democrats win the White House in 2016, it’s their last consecutive win.

Demographics change, but the two-party system remains, because parties adjust.

BTW, the all time record for continously owning the White House is 24 years, from Jefferson to John Quincy Adams, when the Democratic-Republican Party was dominant. Democrats might not like that one though, because after 24 years the party broke up into 4 parts and was never seen again. So maybe instead they should go with the FDR-Truman years, when they held the White House for 20 years consecutively. But even that’s going to be hard to repeat, because 90% of making that happen was the charisma of America’s only President-for-life.

So yeah, history shows that Democrats will have a very hard time holding the White House for more than 12 years. And the longer they hold office, the more perilous things get. Permanent majority parties have a tendency to factionalize when they have no credible enemies.

As seems to be happening among the Democrats in California right now.

Normally, I’d agree. But the factor that causes this adjustment is the party that’s losing the elections realizes it has to change.

The Republican Party doesn’t seem to be getting this. Despite their repeated losses (more people voted for the Democratic candidate in five of the last six Presidential elections) they keep insisting that they’re right and have no need to change what they’re doing. All they need to do is more of what isn’t working.

I can see how you might see that, but the reality is different. That’s kinda why the Republicans are in a civil war right now, because of the arguments about how or whether to change.

I guess from a liberal or even independent perspective, it looks like right-wingers and far right-wingers just arguing about how far right to go. but it’s actually a lot more complex than that and very similar to the fight in the Democratic Party in the late 80s and early 90s between progressives and the DLC.

Democrats have plenty to like with the first scenario since they haven’t gained full dominance yet but once they do they can expect a full generation to enjoy it before the complete demise of their opposition brings about a new party system where disagreements fall within the assumptions of the old party (while the GOP worldview disappears).

Personally I think that’s unlikely. The other scenario is more illuminating I think. The Democratic dominance after the New Deal was due to the popularity of the New Deal. So was FDR’s appeal. The GOP was thoroughly identified with the conservative belief/wish that government can’t help you. During the Great Depression Americans demanded more and only the Democratic Party responded. The GOP was forced to moderate to remain competitive but they had burned themselves with an entire generation of people. Now finally that generation is gone. The old people now grew up in the war years and the 50s. But the GOP has begun the cycle again by alienating young people and immigrants.

During the Great Recession the GOP were incredibly lucky with the timing. If the financial crisis had occurred early in President Bush’s 2nd term or if McCain had somehow won and it happened just after the 2008 election then the full burden would have been on the Republicans to do something about it. They wouldn’t be able to avoid the bailout but would have faced full blame from their base (it involved huge and vague amounts of money and can’t have worked) while the jobless recovery would have crushed their support with the general population. To have the midterm reckoning in bad economic times fall on the same year states are electing the legislatures will be redistricting for the next ten years was a huge shot in the arm for the Republican Party.

Dissent is a good thing. We’ve seen the disastrous results of “inside the bubble” thinking. But GOP ideology is too divorced from reality to be of much use. Crazy and dishonest dissent doesn’t lead to the insights you need to get ahead of events. Any hope for the Republican future is clouded by the fact that their base is not only delusional about the world we live in but also has collected the most xenophobic portion of society. Solutions for the GOP must been seen to work both in the world as their supporters see it (where government is never the solution) and as swing voters see it. And the party must somehow convince fewer minorities to vote against them.

Except that’s not what happened. Andrew Jackson certainly had one faction of the old party on his side, but he represented a populist view that was far outside the mainstream of the old party. It would be like the current Democratic Party breaking up and being replaced by a socially conservative/economically populist party.

Then how come that White House dominance ended with FDR’s death? Truman extended it for a single term and he had to come back from WAY behind to make that happen. This was followed by Republicans winning 4 of the next 7 elections despite Democrats thoroughly dominating Congress. And, their ideology dominated as well until the Reagan Revolution. if the Republicans could win the White House under those circumstances they can certainly win it in the near future. Although arguably their superiority in Congress makes that less likely since Americans historically also prefer divided government.

But really, if I had to choose, I’d rather the GOP have the legislative branch. And history says that I probably do have to choose.

FDR faced similar circumstances and his party dominated in the 1934 midterms. That’s because he was focused on the economy, whereas the Democrats in 2009 passed a stimulus and then moved on to health care. FDR waited until job growth had returned to start on Social Security. Until job growth returned, FDR did pretty much nothing but the economy and relief.

If you’re a social liberal/libertarian why vote GOP? Bush proved the GOP has no interest in fiscal responsibility. The last GOP president I can respect is Calvin Coolidge.

And there are a lot of conservatives who would agree with you on that. You’re right that the GOP’s record on the deficit has been horrible since the Reagan years, at least at the Presidential level. But at the state level they have controlled spending well, and when Democrats are in the White House Republicans also do a better job of controlling spending.

The worst possible thing that could ever happen to the GOP would be to win it all in 2016. But they sorta have to to repeal ACA, so it is what it is.

I am a Republican. The fact that you think I’m a liberal shows how far to the right you’ve gone. You have to come all the way back to winning back people like me and then start working on winning over some Democrats.

Um, even now, Republicans win slightly more Democrats than vice versa:

Plus we win independents. If you’re disgruntled with their behavior and performance, I get that. If you’re disgruntled with the ideology, then the party was never right for you in the first place. Name one position of the GOP that you disagree with that wasn’t part of the platform in 1980.

Yeah I wasn’t clear. I was saying the Democrats hadn’t had their complete victory Jefferson moment yet so had the 24 years to look forward to. /shrug

Eisenhower accepted the New Deal. Before FDR the Republican Party had won eleven of the nineteen presidential elections since the day party was formed. Does it need explaining that they went on to win more once they kowtowed to the new political reality?

I agree the GOP can still win the Oval Office with the right candidate (though I don’t see who that could be at this point). But for how much longer will that be true if the Republican electoral position continues to weaken?

In '34 Roosevelt had been on the job for a year and a half and was trying stuff. If Obama had come into office after beating President McCain in the rematch with the malaise of the jobless recovery (and antibailout anger) firmly attached to the Republicans at that point… and the president was trying to pass Obamacare and (what we now know to be a far too small) stimulus with the GOP obstructing… well Dems would be licking their chops about 2014 just as they were in 1934.

One of the things I’ve argued in other threads is that making your ideology dominant is more important than winning elections. Since we have a two party system and the parties always adjust to political reality to keep things somewhat even, you don’t see this dominance so much in terms of political power. You see it in what is possible for the parties to do.

The problem with the Obama Presidency and even the demographic changes Democrats are counting on is that it hasn’t shifted the country to the left. We’re still living in the political reality Ronald Reagan wrought. So even now, it doesn’t matter much if Republicans win elections, as long as Democrats are still forced to concede the victory of the Reagan Revolution. Although Republicans will still win elections, simply because they don’t actually have to change their ideology to do it. What they need to change is their rhetoric, which needlessly alienates a lot of Americans.

The same thing was asked of the Democrats after three straight crushing losses and they responded by recognizing reality and moving to the right. The problem the GOP has isn’t the same, since they don’t actually have to move to the left(yet).

The public tends to be very forgiving towards a party that inherits problems from the party that just got kicked out. So long as the new guys are trying to fix the problems. What they did instead was rush to get as much of their normal agenda passed as possible, from health care to climate change. After the stimulus, the focus on the economy was just dropped, and so voters rightfully felt the Democrats weren’t working on the problem they were elected to fix.

The six-year itch is real and hard to avoid. Losing power after only two years has happened to the Democrats more than once and it’s because they try to get the wish list passed without regard for what the public is actually concerned about at the time.

By this measure, Obama has been a success in many ways, including health care – there’s no way the popular aspects of the ACA, like the ban on insurance companies saying no to those with pre-existing conditions, are ever going away.

The extreme right needs to stop calling moderate Republican opponents “traitors”. I’m looking at you, Illinois senator & gubernatorial candidate Kirk Dillard.

The two-party system will persist in perpetuity, unless we make some radical changes to our election system. That doesn’t mean that it’ll always be the same two parties, though. The current Republican party is doomed, and soon will be replaced. What it’s replaced with might or might not carry the name “Republican”, but it won’t be the same party.