The Republican Party is on life support and needs serious help. Sure Democrats have reason to celebrate this week, but the left should be really concerned about what might happen if the GOP continues down their current path of self-annihilation.
This is something I have been talking about for years now and Nicholas Kristof hits on this very point in today’s New York Times:
Schadenfreude may excuse Democrats’ smiles for a few days, but these trends portend a potential disaster not just for the Republican Party but for the health of our political system. America needs a plausible center-right opposition party to hold Obama’s feet to the fire, not just a collection of Tea Party cranks.
So liberals as well as conservatives should be rooting for the Republican Party to feel sufficiently shaken that it shifts to the center. One hopeful sign is that political parties usually care more about winning than about purism. Thus the Democratic Party embraced the pragmatic center-left Bill Clinton in 1992 after three consecutive losses in presidential elections.
The “Tea Party cranks” Kristof talks about is the biggest enemy of the right. Take a look at this last session in the House. When we were trying to avoid debt default, good ideas were being generated by Democrats and Republicans collectively. It wasn’t until John Boehner got held hostage by the Tea Party members of his own caucus that things went down hill and our credit rating was lowered.
But the Tea Party isn’t the only culprits in this mess. Again, here’s Kristof:
Part of the problem, I think, is the profusion of right-wing radio and television programs. Democrats complain furiously that Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck or Sean Hannity smear the left, but I wonder if the bigger loser isn’t the Republican Party itself. Those shows whip up a frenzy in their audience, torpedoing Republican moderates and instilling paranoia on issues like immigration.
All this sound and fury enmeshes the Republican Party in an ideological cocoon and impedes it from reaching out to swing-state centrists, or even understanding them. The vortex spins ever faster and risks becoming an ideological black hole.
But sadly, what we are seeing this week is many of these people calling for more of the same. Instead of taking the election as a wake up call, the Tea Party and many on the far right are calling for more of the same. More trying to push their agenda and more of “no compromise”, despite the will of the people being heard loud and clear this Tuesday.
It’s not only a disaster for Republicans, but also one for the country as a whole.
Even though I consider myself a Democrat, I firmly believe that we need more than one ideology out there to help mold the best plans. There’s also times that I have crossed the aisle and voted Republican. I don’t consider myself a straight, party-line voter. I look at the issues and where the candidates stand and make my pick based upon that, not because of a R or D by the name. I think America actually has quiet a few voters that do the same.
But when you got one party that scares the living crap out of even some conservative voters, that means they are stuck with one choice, which is to say they have no choice.
Our nation is rapidly changing. We are seeing a more diverse demographic as well as a change in thinking. We aren’t the same country that we knew in the previous decades. We have a growing Latino population, as well as a growing number of women. That should be an indicator to the GOP to lay off the “anchor baby” comments as well as totally distorting what rape really is. But the GOP won’t listen. Instead they feel the entire nation should shift their thinking to align with them, instead of the GOP evolving. That right there is the cause of the GOP’s death.
Hopefully we can see some young, new thinking take over the GOP and them push the party closer to the middle. If that happens, then we can stand to see an actual Tea Party out there, as that won’t hurt the GOP as much. If that doesn’t happen though, I’m afraid to see what will really happen to our nation.