Now What, GOP?

Let’s lay some things on the table to start. I’m not a registered Republican. I’m not professionally involved in any political campaigns. I don’t expect to be offered a job come November, no matter who is elected. I have no skin in the game, except as an American.

I know a great many Republicans; I’ve worked for some, others are close friends, former classmates, neighbors, colleagues, and so on. Most of these are from what is called now the corporate wing, as opposed to the social conservative wing, of the party.

I value the Republican Party, its contributions, its historic leaders. Further, I believe, and I’m not afraid to say it out loud, that our country is better off with healthy political parties of diverse philosophical stripes.

Now, let me say, I am concerned for the Republican Party.

What’s become clear to me is a growing, unhealthy and emotional division in the party between (1) the good-government, main street and corporate, power elite, fiscal conservative party establishment, and (2) the evangelical, social-conservative, grass roots party rank-and-file. And this division is not only unhealthy for the Republican Party, but also unhealthy for the country.

Super Tuesday results show that it is increasingly unlikely there will be a first-ballot selection of a presidential nominee at the convention. This opens the door for all sorts of bad outcomes: back-room deals, drafting another candidate (e.g., Sarah Palin anyone?), swinging the party platform even farther to the right – especially on social issues.

There’s irony here: yesterday’s exit polls, cited in The Hill, showed that voters are most concerned with economic issues. In other words, by staying with what has been the successfully established Republican identity, the party could conduct a campaign with a reasonable probability of connecting with the issues that matter most to Americans. This could be an absolutely winnable election for Republicans.

Instead, Republicans are allowing their primaries to be swallowed up by inherently divisive candidates and the social issues they crow about, like the New Testament foundations of American government, contraception, same-sex marriage, etc.

Who benefits from any of that? Neither Republicans nor our republic.

3 thoughts on “Now What, GOP?”

  1. Great post – I wonder – do you see a scenario where the Repubs break into two parties: one that the familiar GOP, and one that is Social Conservatives?

  2. It is a shame for a party that once included Nelson Rockefeller, Robert LaFollette, Teddy Roosevelt, John Lindsay, Al Smith, Everett Dirksen and George Romney to have become what it is today. While I’ve never been a fan of the party–it was the guilty party in every political scandal in the country since reconstruction, its members regularly stealing elections and public monies–it at least had members who fostered legislation to help common people.

    The party today doesn’t want to help people. It just wants people to be exactly like them…or else.

    I was once told that a pure democracy is the greatest danger to man: a 50.00001% majority could vote to kill the 49.99999% minority and it would be completely democratic and legal. It seems that today’s republican party is run by people who want that type of democracy. Their narrow, bigoted way or else.

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