Thursday, November 8, 2012
Open Thread Thursday: Future of the Republican Party
This election was an embarrassing defeat for Republicans. Not only did Romney lose to Obama, but many state representatives lost to democratic incumbents. Republican representatives (Todd Akin and Richard Murdock) lost their seats while Democratic incumbents (Alan Grayson and Elizabeth Warren) usurped the seats of Republicans.
So now the question remains as to which direction the Republican Party will go. At this point, there are only two options: either the Republicans will increase their ideological stance and become more conservative (which at this point is less “conservative” and more “crazy”), or they will tone down their ideological stance and become more moderate.
Unfortunately, it seems as though the Republicans will be going with the latter rather than the former. Most Republican pundits and politicians blamed Romney’s loss on him “not being conservative enough” (which, again, at this point, is less “conservative” and more “crazy”). So it seems as though their strategy is to ramp up their neoconservatism and aim at nominating an even more “ideological pure” candidate for 2016. This will only further alienate themselves from mainstream politics.
Then again, the Republican Party has always alienated itself from mainstream politics. For the past 30 years, rather than attempt to attract independent voters, Republicans have instead focused on appealing to their base, which mostly consists of baby boomers who favor extremely neoconservative foreign and domestic policy. At this point, the the Republican Party will only experience an ideological shift once the older generation dies out, purging the party of the Karl Roves and Dick Cheneys, and replacing them with the younger generation.
But then the question remains as to whether the younger conservative generation will vote for the Republican Party. During the election, most of the younger Republicans voted for Ron Paul, who the Republicans royally screwed over during the primaries, forcing his supporters to leave the party in mass and either write in his name on the ballot or vote for Gary Johnson.
Speaking of Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate received one million votes during the election, giving his party one percent of the national vote. While this is short of their goal of five percent, which would have allowed them to recieve federal matching funds and to be placed on the ballot throughout the entire country, it shows that the party is strongly growing in favor among the mainstream, especially with young conservative and libertarians. So the possibility remains that the Republican Party will go the way of the Whig Party and be replaced by another party, most likely the Libertarian Party.
The future remains unclear, but it seems as though the Republicans will meet one of two fates: either they will be replaced by the younger Ron Paul conservatives as the older baby boomers die off, or the entire party will be usurped by the Libertarians.
I’m not sure what the future holds, but I want to know what you think: What does the future hold for the fate of the Republican Party? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.