Republican Party Facing Irrelevance?
Will the GOP learn an evolutionary lesson that will keep it from going politically extinct?
That’s the question Queerty editor Andrew Belonsky raises in a incisive post looking at the so-called Value Voters Summit recently held in Washington, D.C. At the conference, which was sponsored by the anti-gay Family Research Council, Republican presidential candidates showed up to prove to the GOP’s extremist base what manly men they are by hating on gays, women, immigrants, liberals and anyone else who isn’t an angry white man.
The Value Voters Summit showed just how out of the mainstream the Republican Party has become after decades of pandering to the increasingly extreme views of white conservative evangelicals who place a greater value on tax cuts for the wealthy, bashing gays, vilifying anyone with skin darker than former KKK member David Duke and cheerleading the Iraq war than on solving issues around poverty, joblessness, HIV/AIDS and global climate change. Meanwhile, President Bush has vetoed a bill that would have increased the number of poor kids who have access to medical care while asking for $46 billions more for his failed war.
The conference attendees also spent an inordinate amount of time deifying former president Ronald Reagan in clear violation of the first commandant which states: I am the Lord your God. You shall have no other gods before me.
More important is the refusal of the GOP to evolve as our nation becomes increasingly diverse and as the global economy increases the need for diplomacy and international cooperation over America’s big stick. The GOP continues it blind obsession with the straight male voters at its own peril. As University of Maryland professor Tom Schaller (via Digby) points out in a post called So Long, White Boy:
The real story, however, is that the white male share of the electorate continues to decline. In 1976, Jimmy Carter beat Gerald Ford while garnering what by today’s standards would be an eye-popping 47 percent of the white male vote. But in 1976, according to Abramowitz’s math, white non-Hispanic males were 39 percent of the American electorate. (Abramowitz’s figures, based on numbers from American National Election Studies, are slightly lower than those produced by exit polling, which may oversample white males.) The white male share of the electorate, which had fallen seven percentage points between 1952 and 1976, then stayed roughly constant for 20 years, but after 1996 began dropping again. It fell to 36 percent in 2000 and 33.1 percent in 2004, and it is still falling.
Andrew sums up the GOP’s evolutionary challenge quite nicely with this closing statement:
While the Democrats are talking to the gays, the blacks and everyone in-between, the Republicans are stuck in a stagnant, primordial stew of archaic, outdated social stances. If they want to win this election or any others, the Republican leadership needs to accept that fact that America’s undergoing cultural changes. You can’t fight social evolution. You have to work with it and the people who are changing. If the Republican party continues its “values” tradition, it’s simply not going to survive. Even a do-do could figure that one out.