Republican Party Needs More Votes if it is to Win
Bruce Bartlett explains why he’s not a Republican anymore using a time-honored refrain: He didn’t leave his party; his party left him. While he now considers himself an “independent,” he’s more than non-partisan; he’s “anti-Republican.” Why?
I still consider myself to be a Reaganite. But I don’t see any others anywhere in the GOP these days, which is why I consider myself to be an independent. Mindless partisanship has replaced principled conservatism. What passes for principle in the party these days is “what can we do to screw the Democrats today.”
I think the Republican Party is in the same boat the Democrats were in in the early eighties — dominated by extremists unable to see how badly their party was alienating moderates and independents. The party’s adults formed the Democratic Leadership Council to push the party back to the center and it was very successful. But there is no group like that for Republicans. That has left lunatics like Glenn Beck as the party’s de facto leaders. As long as that remains the case, I want nothing to do with the GOP.
It’s true that moderates have largely been driven from the leadership ranks of the Republican Party. But they’ve also been driven from the leadership ranks of the Democratic Party. The combination of gerrymandered districts and the permanent campaign have incentivized polarization.
Still, John McCain, the GOP nominee in last November’s election, was from the moderate wing of the party, beating out a slew of more ideologically pure contenders. George W. Bush, the standard-bearer in 2000 and 2004, ran as a “compassionate conservative.” Mushy moderate Mitt Romney is the most probable nominee for 2012.
The idea that Glenn Beck is somehow the leader of the party is absurd. Given that the United States lacks a shadow government, the out-of-power party has no obvious leader. Who was the leader of the Democrats after John Kerry lost in 2004? Certainly, it wasn’t Barack Obama, who was a mere state senator and U.S. Senator-elect.
Also rather silly:
I see no way a Republican can retake the White House for the foreseeable future. Both CBO and OMB are predicting better than 4% real growth in 2011 and 2012. If those numbers are even remotely correct Obama will have it in the bag.
So, the “foreseeable future” is the same as “in the next election”? Yes, barring serious scandal, Obama is likely to be re-elected if the economy is good. Incumbent presidents always win re-election when the economy is good! Indeed, their party tends to hold power even if the incumbent can’t run again. At worst, they lose in close and controversial contests as in 1960 and 2000. But that doesn’t tell us anything about the state of the opposition party. Voters simply prefer to keep the current team on when things are going well and to change horses when they aren’t.
Also, Republicans have to find a way to win some minority votes because it is not viable as a whites-only party in presidential elections. That’s why I wrote my Wrong on Race book, which no one read.
Well, why would anyone bother to read a book whose take-away is a sentence? And an obvious one at that?
But it’s really a truism, isn’t it? As non-whites increase their share of the electorate, naturally a successful candidate will need to appeal to non-whites. But, guess what? Successful candidates do. Bush won 46 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2004. McCain did far less well among Hispanics. Then again, he did far less well among whites.