Thursday, May 21, 2009

Pew Survey: GOP Going Whig

HuffPo, on the latest Pew data:

“There is an enormous amount of material about the deterioration of the Republican Party in this survey,” Andy Kohut, who runs the Pew Research Center, told the Huffington Post. The GOP is currently 88 percent non-Hispanic white; it has grown steadily older, from an average of 45.5 years in 2000 to 48.3 years in 2009; it is increasingly dependent on self-identified white evangelicals (35 percent of today’s GOP, on Southerners (39 percent of today’s GOP), and on voters who describe themselves as conservative (66 percent of today’s Republican electorate). Those who espouse conservative views on the family, homosexuality and civil liberties — a population which was in the majority in 1987 — have fallen to the 50 percent level or below, the Pew survey found.
The GOP has two possible strategies at this point in time. Double down, and hope the Democrats lose favor in the next 10 to 20 years, making what the GOP "stands for" (using a very lose definition of "stand" of course) popular again, or adapting their message and brand to encompass these changing demographics and social attitudes. Let's call option number two the smartest approach, and option number one -- espoused by Tea Bagger's and Mark Shurtleff's around the country -- the "Whig" solution.

The demographics will not shift backwards. Social attitudes trending "tolerant" rarely regress. Poll after poll shows an increasing, if still hesitant, openness from voters toward a government that "does more" rather than an ideological subscription to anti-tax rhetoric.

The country is maturing (or degrading, if you're a Ron Paul-ite) beyond unrealistic libertarian principles of governance, and I believe voters are realizing playing a more active role in how the governance works, rather than just obstinantly, and ideologically opposing all things federal, or anything with the word "tax" attached. Especially when you do so in the face of serious economic, health care, equality, education even national security challenges. There may still be room for candidates to play this in their favor in Utah, Idaho, Montana, or Wyoming, but the rest of the country is moving on, and it's unlikely that is an accident, or that such a social adjustment will revert in on itself to follow an opposite trend. In history, only plagues and famine have caused that. Yet the "Change in a Tea Bag" GOP is hanging their proverbial hats on that very regression. For leadership they offer Eric Cantor, Jim DeMint, Michael Steele, and trapping themselves into a torture investigation by trying to take out Nancy Pelosi.

If this is still the case in 2010, 2012, paying attention to the GOP at all will be a waste of time. Our attention would be better directed at which party will be taking the place of the Republicans in our system of government.

Read more on the Pew survey here. (h/t Oliver Willis)

1 comment:

  1. There is a direction moderate voters can take. The Modern Whig Party...

    Please feel free to read up on this growing movement. It's a very viable alternative to the extremes of the left and right.