Discussing issues that The United States face both foreign and domestic. A Non-partisan viewpoint where we believe in right and wrong not right and left, hopefully forming a more UNITED States of America.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Is The Republican Party Becoming The Whigs?

2012: Floor of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.
Photo taken by myself.
Since the emergence of the Tea Party in early 2009, the movement has largely been battling for political ideology within the Republican Party. Since then, it has been interesting to examine how the movement has transformed across the nation, especially within the Republican Party.
While the Establishment will never admit this, if not for the Tea Party movement and the historical wave election in 2010 (in both federal and local elections) the GOP would be in a much weaker position today.
The 2010 elections broke records for Republicans for state legislatures, local elections, and near record levels of holding 29 of the 50 state governors (expanded to 30 by 2012).
What this allowed is political "life" for the Republican party for at least ten years, until the year 2020. After the 2010 Census, all house seats must be redistricted. This process is largely held by the states and gerrymandering ran wild. Take Pennsylvania for example.
As of May, 2014, Democrats hold nearly 50% of all registered voters and outnumber Republicans by over a million voters in Pennsylvania. Yet, Pennsylvania holds safe majorities in the two tiers of the state legislator and in terms of Congressional Districts, the GOP holds a massive 13-5 advantage with only 3 or 4 seats that are competitive in a worst case scenario election year for Republicans along the lines of 2006 (Note: the GOP was actually able to gain a seat in 2012 thanks to redistricting when Democrats coat-tailed Obama statewide). This means Republicans will hold at least half of the congressional seats (9) until 2022 in a state where they are the clear minority.
This occurred across the nation after the 2010 elections. In 2012, Republicans lost by nearly 1.5 million votes in congressional district elections nationwide, yet easily and safely held the House of Representatives under the weak Speakership of John Boehner. Republicans will hold the House of Representatives until probably the year 2022.
Thus, if the GOP is not careful, the political infighting since 2010 could be catastrophic for them if it's not fixed by the 2020 elections. Recent primaries and elections show just how bad it has become. In 2013, the Republican National Committee refused to help the conservative nominee, Ken Cuccinelli, in the Virginia Gubernatorial election. If the RNC had helped, they could have won that election and given him at least a 2 point bump.
More recently this year in Mississippi, the Establishment had to recruit Democrats and launch racist campaign advertisements (that were false) against conservative candidate Chris McDaniel in order for Senator Thad Cochran to win the runoff. Essentially, the more liberal wing of the Republican party would rather have Democrats win elections than have members affiliated with the Tea Party win as a Republican. To be fair though, since 2010, it appears Tea Party candidates are only winning in more conservative states such as Texas where they crushed the Establishment in nearly all positions for the party in the 2014 primary, but the Tea Party appears to be failing in swing state elections.
The final example is what happened to Virginia in 2014 to the House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. Candidate Dave Brat ran such a cash-strapped campaign, Eric Cantor's campaign spent more money on STEAK DINNERS than the entire Brat campaign. Before this year, the "majority leader" position never lost in the primary. Brat may arguably even be the more liberal candidate over Cantor on certain issues, but party members have become so sick of the Establishment that they have the "throw the bums out" mentality. The closest poll had this primary with a 9 point advanatge for Cantor. Even Brat admitted the day before of the primary on the Glenn Beck Program that he needed a mini-miracle and that it appeared the race was finally within single digits (as only that one poll suggested). The Establishment panicked as it was rumored Cantor was going to become the next Speaker in 2015 yet failed to listen to the message. Now the fairly liberal California Representative, Kevin McCarthy, is the new Majority Leader.
The party will collapse if this infighting continues because numbers going into the future look bleak for the party. As the Hispanic population rapidly grows, if they continue to vote over 60% for the Democrat Party, it will become nearly impossible for Republicans to win another national election. George W. Bush was the best candidate in the GOP's history with Hispanics voting around 40% for him. In 2012, even if Mitt Romney somehow did way better than that number (when he actually did way worse) and captured over 50% of the Hispanic vote, he still would have lost the election.
A unified Republican party between the establishment and the more conservative wing is still going to have a hard time competing in Presidential, swing states, and border states in the years to come. A divided Republican Party can only mean one of two scenarios: The Democrats solely dominating government for the next thirty years or a legitimate third party emerging and collapsing the GOP; thus restoring the two-party system.
Both events occurred in our political history. Between 1815-1825 (although one could argue this continued until Andrew Jackson won in 1828) is known as the "Era of Good Feelings" (which is a terrible title) as it emphasizes the collapse of the Federalists, leaving only one party in charge while the eventual post-Federalist "Whigs" were just the minority.
In 1848, a small third-party was formed initially called the Free Soil Party. It was a single issue policy party that wanted the abolition of slavery. It mainly consisted of former Whig Party members but some Democrats joined as well. This new party was "so radical" and "so divisive" that one its members, Charles Sumner, was beaten within inches of his own life by the cane of another Senator on the Senate floor. Within just one decade, this "small" and "radical" party completely abolished the Whigs and the Free Soil Party renamed itself too...The Republican Party.
If the GOP is not careful, at the very least the Tea Party could form itself as a formal party and perhaps cause the collapse and relevancy of the GOP just like the party famously did to the Whigs, or it will collapse like the Federalists and become a permanent minority Whig-like party.
Republicans must do a better job at projecting their image and spread their message of empowering the individual and granting them more rights that can help everyone, not just helping the rich. They must campaign more heavily in the urban areas. They must convince and show urban voters that the historically Democratic run cities of Chicago, Philadelphia, Detroit, Los Angeles, etc. is only falling behind compared to the rest of nation in terms of education levels, violence, and standard of living. In just a few short years, Mayor Giuliani was able to completely flip New York City.
Believe me when I say that I have never met someone my age, working their first legitimate paid job, be "happy" over how much of their paycheck goes to taxes. Yet, very few even know that money they lose from their paycheck will not be there for them when they eventually retire from the workforce. If Republicans cannot spread this message and remain unified, Democrats will dominate at least the national (and most likely the statewide) political landscape for the next 30 years.