The Republican Party will come back; the conservative movement will not

I suggest what the recent election shows is not merely voter disgust with the past 8 years, but that America has passed a tipping point: The right wing now is looking at a landscape where it will be doomed to very slow political marginalization, not because of any swing-of-the-pendulum but because of deep and permanent demographic, generational and cultural changes – see here, here and here. The Silent Majority is now a numerical minority, and will remain one for the rest of your lifetime and mine.

Now, I am not talking about the Republican Party as an institution. My point is that the modern American ideological conservative movement, that goes back to Robert Taft, became self-aware with the Goldwater campaign of 1964, triumphed with Reagan, and was discredited by W, now is doomed to long-term decline. It is not going away, of course, it has too well-established a network of grassroots organizations, astroturf organizations, think-tanks, wholly-owned media outlets and wealthy donors; but it will find itself struggling up a steeper hill every election cycle, and we will live to see it reduced to near-irrelevance. The Republican Party might well come back, almost certainly will come back – but only when it no longer has any place for movement conservatives.

How strange. I remember some people saying almost the exact same thing about the Democrats back in 2000…

Oh well. Wishful Thinking by hard-left ideologues is nothing new.

Yes, but it depends on the time scale. It’s a generational thing.

We had a laissez-faire period like the recent one from roughly the 1912-1932 elections, it failed dramatically, then we had a progressive period until 1952, another lull, then more progressiveness 1964-1980, then laissez-faire again until the latest dramatic failure.

Now the center is once again progressive, I agree. That it will always be, I do not agree. Can we instead say that progress has probably 16-20 years before it has to endure another round of retrenchment? I’m sure we can say it will take until the GOP has a new generation of leaders.

Not that I ever heard. Brainglutton is talking about demographic shifts, not political successes or failures.

And besides; just because someone says something about a group that turns out to be wrong, does mean that someone else who says the same thing about another group at another time is also wrong.

What hard left ? There is no significant hard left in America or on the boards for that matter.

Why is laissez-faire capitalism “conservative”?

The other problem with the demographic shift argument is that it assumes that the conservative movement is incapable of adapting. Back in the 60s conservatives didn’t even bother to pay lip service to racial or gender equality. Once those issues became mainstream opposition to those issues were dropped as core conservative values.

I think he’s refering to the center right coalition. We’re a right leaning nation, don’tcha know? :wink:

Because selfishness and ruthlessness are part of conservatism’s core values. A true conservative cares nothing for the welfare of others, or for the consequences of his actions upon them or anything else. Conservatives also tend towards the traditional forms of religion, and traditional American Christianity is strongly capitalistic. Right down to a marker of the Antichrist being that he’s a socialist.

How those who hold that view can reconcile it with the Sermon on the Mount, as strident a socialist screed as has ever been proclaimed, is baffling, but they do exist.

Because the modern American conservative movement has largely defined itself in opposition to Communism, socialism and social democracy, allowing for few if any distinctions between them and regarding the New Deal as an instance thereof. Also, because in practical terms it has depended heavily on the financial backing of capitalists, that is, very wealthy industrialists and businesscritters.

You keep bringing this up, but in my opinion your cites don’t back you up. While certain ‘liberal’ issues are gaining more mainstream acceptance, others aren’t.

For example, public opinion on abortion hasn’t really changed in the last 30 years:

And views on health care are actually swaying more conservative than 8 years ago:
When I read your cites, I think that people are mistaking the increase in vocal partisanship for more support. IE, in my abortion cite, you see that people taking a hard line position are increasing, but the mainstream is the same as it always was.

I think you are also over estimating the laissez-faire attitude some voters have towards actual positions. I think Obama is a good representative of that. He’s pretty well liked. People think he’s liberal. You view his election as a boon to liberalism. But he holds the same old moderate conservative or moderate liberal positions on a number of issues like abortion and SSM.

He never would have been elected if he took the hard line liberal position on abortion, SSM, healthcare, etc. Contrast that to Bush, who actually did get elected. Twice. Then ask yourself which side of the coin is more palatable to mainstream America

After a near tie in the Presidential race and the Senate? How far into cloud-cuckoo land were they?

Fix’d it for ya.

In the long run, social conservatism is in more trouble than fiscal conservatism. People will naturally and spontaneously feel some level of annoyance at paying taxes for the (actual or perceived) benefit of others; people need to be taught to fear that teh queerz or teh femminists are going to destroy the world as we know it.

I, too, remember some people saying almost the exact same thing about the Liberals back in 2000…

… and in 1981 …

… and in 1996 …

You’re probably too young to have lived through a couple of election cycles, Brian. Everything in politics swings back and forth. The American Left will be irrelevant for a while, then come back. The American Right will be irrelevant for a while, and then come back. Etc.

About as far as Brainglutton is now.

That was both exceptionally childish and neatly proves my point.

This is at least the fourth time I’ve seen you post about this idea here. I can tell you desperately want to believe it’s true. :slight_smile:

One problem with trying to predict which way the electorate is moving is that most people’s opinions and values don’t stay static throughout life and are frequently heavily influenced by current events. How well do you think the Democrats would do in the next election if Obama’s economic policies are blamed for a resurgence of stagflation or if there were another major terrorist attack during the next four years?

Pointing out that minority voters are a growing demographic doesn’t necessarily mean that these voters will always side with Democrats or liberals. I think conservatives could experience a resurgence if they learn an effective way to reach out to minorities (considering that, as demonstrated by how black voters turning out for Obama in the last election were instrumental in defeating gay marriage in CA, minorities tend to hold more conservative social views than white people do). Furthermore, I think that as these groups achieve economic equality with white voters, they may be more sympathetic with the economic message of conservatives (similar to how poor college students who start out as liberals may evolve into middle aged conservatives once they see how much of their income is going to taxes).

Sinaijon, that healthcare poll is surprisingly socialistic to me. Of course, I live in a district where Roy Blunt just won with ~70% of the vote. But couldn’t the slight drop in the last two years be due to Massachusetts UHC encouraging a belief in state government, rather than federal government, as the guarantor of coverage?

It’s nothing. It’s the same pendulum, still swinging back and forth.

One thing that I’ve noticed in written arguments such as this is that the person with the weakest argument is usually the first to loudly proclaim victory.

The “right” will mutate. What’s “right” at any given time will change. I think** BG**'s partly right, that the present formulation is in trouble demographically, until something happens to change opinions, like** lavenderviolet** said. If not for stagflation, the hostage crisis, and Ronald Reagan’s personal charm, the USA would not have swung so far away from Carterism & toward Reaganism as it did. Political beliefs tend to be based largely in past personal experience.

Also, let’s not be simplistic.

social conservatism != economic conservatism

A Sermon on the Mount redistributionist could pull enough of a chunk of religious voters away from the present Religious Right to keep the alliance of social & economic conservatism in minority. At present, it is distaste for social licentiousness (or an echo of such distaste) that keeps a certain minority of the Religious Right in the coalition.

Some time during the Bush years Rove was talking about the Republicans being a “permanent majority”. I don’t think the Democrats have that luxury as the right has a very well funded propaganda machine.