The End of the GOP?
Republicans are still appealing to white males, even as Latino political might grows.
It has been said that one should not revel in the travails of others, but it’s hard to not to smirk at the current plight of the Republican Party. After all this was the same GOP that dragged us into two wars, sanctioned tortured and played a large part in the current financial mess. In addition, the GOP made an unholy alliance with Christian zealots to push “family values” down the nation’s throat, all the while harboring a large number of closeted gays within its ranks.
But the Republican brand is now in tatters. Americans finally got tired of being scared by the terrorist bogeyman, and saw through the lies of the Bush administration. They got tired of the Iraq war, they got tired of America being the unwanted guest at a party and they began to realize that the Bush’s administration’s blunders had mired the nation in dept. It was no wonder that Barack Obama swept into office with almost 60 percent of the vote.
So where does the Republican party find itself now? Ever since its resounding defeat in the last presidential election, the GOP has indulged in much naval gazing. Obama’s success, which was built on a coalition African Americans, Latinos, independents, and even disgruntled Republicans, showed that America was embracing more progressive policies. The GOP’s old strategy of beating up on brown people and gays does not work in country with a black family in the White House, a rising Latino population threatening to dwarf the white population and legalized gay marriage.
The GOP must either adapt or die. But, how can a party which has spent the last 25 years catering to social conservatives and pandering to the fears of white men survive in a culture where white people are soon going to become the minority? In his book “State of Emergency” neo-fascist commentator Pat Buchanan says maintaining a white majority is a necessary for America’s survival. It’s ironic, that as America becomes more multi-cultural and leans further to the left, the Republican party seems to moving further to the right. Unfortunately for Republicans, the Dick Cheney-Rush Limbaugh faction seems to be winning. For several months Limbaugh, who has never run for elected office or participated in an election campaign, declared himself the titular head of the GOP. His overinflated ego led him to believe that he was the Moses who could lead the GOP out of the wilderness.
Republicans should be worried that Limbaugh has billed himself as the face of their party. Apart from his messy marital record (three divorces) and his past drug problems, Limbaugh earns his living making offensive statements about women, blacks, liberals, Latinos, and any other group he deems undesirable. Some of his “jokes” include referring to Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villarigosa as the “shoe shine boy.” This is a very fool hardy decision, especially as Latinos are going to have an increasing say in the direction of American political and economic life in the near future. Latinos were the swing voters in the last election, and it was no surprise that Obama played up his knowledge of Spanish and his openness to immigration reform.
The ferocity of recent GOP attacks on Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor are particularly disturbing. The sight of a Latina being described as a racist by the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly and Newt Gingrich, people who have built their reputation on making racially insensitive comments, would be comical if it wasn’t so pathetic. National Review writer Mark Krikorian even suggested that Sotomayor change the pronunciation of her name to make it sound more English!
Following the success of the charismatic Ronald Reagan, the Democrats spent almost a decade in the political wilderness. Unless the GOP starts to appeal to more than just angry white men, it will face many years wandering in the political desert. I predict that the current GOP civil war will lead to a split. Pragmatic Republicans, like Chairman Michael Steele, are either going to have to wrest control from the hardliners or find themselves obsolete. In turn, as the GOP adopts more moderate views, the far-right wingers, led by the likes of Buchanan and former klansman David Duke, will splinter into factions which openly promote the Pro-European, white male view.
If the GOP continues along this path it will be forced to change its mascot from an elephant to an ostrich, with its head in the sand.