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No Easy Path Forward for Republicans

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Coalition is the Key

Republicans have already begun the process of looking for a way out of the box they’ve put themselves in. Fox News host Sean Hannity did an abrupt about-face Thursday, declaring that he now supports a path to citizenship for undocumented aliens. Meghan McCain, the daughter of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., has called on the party to move away from divisive social issues. There is a growing realization among party leaders that they will have to change course.

The problem for Republicans is that, like all parties, they have built a coalition, and the furthest-right elements of the party have been driving the platform the last few years. Nativists may not be enough to win the election, but they still represent a loud and vocal component of the party, one that can’t simply be ignored. Christian Conservatives may be unable to deliver the general election, but they can make life tough on any Republican who is impure on abortion or gay rights.

This pushback has already begun. No sooner had Hannity made his pronouncement than Rep. Steve King, R-Ia., blasted Republicans who want “citizenship for illegals.” The Tea Party has spent the past four years pushing an extreme version of ideological purity on the party. They will not stop simply because they lost this year.

If Republicans reverse course on same-sex marriage or abortion rights or affirmative action, it would be good for the country and the party’s long-term future — but in the short term, these changes would produce howls of indignation, outright revolt or a fracturing of the party.

Republicans are not the first party to face such a challenge. In 1948, Democrats had a large base of support among segregationists. That year, the party finally began to move to work against segregation and to embrace civil rights.

It took courage to stand up to them, courage to tell them that however many votes they delivered, their positions were simply anathema to liberty. Segregationists howled, revolted and eventually left the party altogether. The Democrats did the right thing for the country, and three generations later, those decisions have built a new, stronger and ascendant coalition, one built on notions of tolerance, equality and pluralism. Republicans now have a choice to make: eject the bigots from their party, or accept that they are going to become less and less relevant as the years go on.

Eventually, Republicans will seek to find a new coalition, or a new party will spring up to replace them; America is not going to become a one-party state. That does not mean the process will be easy or quick, however. For the Grand Old Party to move forward, they will have to break faith with part of their coalition. That may be good for them long-term, but it could also cause them to lose for a generation — maybe two.

 

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258 comments

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5:28PM PST on Nov 26, 2012

Thank you for article.

5:28PM PST on Nov 26, 2012

Thank you for article.

11:42AM PST on Nov 16, 2012

Republicans do well with those who have a hard time with change, those who have trouble recieving new information, drawing new conclusions and changing their minds. Sometimes it seems they're regressing into the Dark Ages.

You notice the demographics at Romney's rallies don't reflect the demographics of the American people. Obama's rallies reflected the real America with people from all demographics.

Republicans seem to be living in a bubble, Reagan did-away with the "Fairness Doctrine" which mandated that broadcasters present contraversal issues of public importance in a honest, balanced, and fair manner. How can that be good for Americans to recieve only one point of view - like the republican-leaning Fox News. I think this is a great dis-service to Americans and allows broadcasters to control what information viewers/listeners recieve. Instead of presenting the facts, opions from all different points of view and allowing people to make up their own minds, they are controlling information and making up the minds of others for them. I find that frightening - it's not even news anymore, it's propaganda.

Anyway, I'm glad Obama won. I wish the republicans would either go the way of the WHIG party, or catch up with this changing world.

6:18AM PST on Nov 16, 2012

(continued)

It does, however, fit very well. As the last fragments of the Romney/Ryan campaign flutter to the ground, one last confirmation: Paul Ryan is above your petty party rules, and when Paul Ryan is involved with something, the math is whatever Paul Ryan wants it to be.


(It's always the same result, over and over again - when you put it in R, it just goes backward...)

6:06AM PST on Nov 16, 2012

(continued)

Even though vice presidential Mini-Mitt Paul Ryan was reelected to congress, this was to have been the last year of his highly prized House Budget Committee chairmanship. That's because the Republicans have an ostensible rule that term limits committee chairmen and/or ranking members to six years in those plum positions, partly because Republicans really like term limits and partly to give other members a chance to rake in some of the sweet, sweet campaign money that comes from being in those positions of maximal power. Whatever is the case, I can't think of a better way to welcome official "GOP intellectual" Paul Ryan back into the congressional fold than for the GOP to ignore simple rules of math for his benefit:

Speaker John Boehner is declaring that nobody but Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., fresh off his unsuccessful vice presidential bid, will be granted a waiver from internal GOP term-limit rules requiring several members to give up their chairmanships next year.

“He told me he wants to limit it to Ryan,” said Committee on Homeland Security Chairman Peter King, R-N.Y., of such a waiver, on Thursday

Well, there's some good news: Republican Math Guy will be the only recipient of the magical "rules are for everyone else" waiver, and Peter King specifically won't be getting one. (I have to believe that King isn't especially well-liked even in the GOP, because, well, c'mon. Have you heard him?)

It does, however, fit

6:04AM PST on Nov 16, 2012

Thanks, Lynn C.!

And thanks to Leonard T. for posting this URL: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/11/13/1161225/-Jimmy-Carter-s-grandson-strikes-again

Very interesting indeed!

Michael M., if I could give you all the Green Stars you deserved, you'd probably smother, so just as well I can't...


It sounds as though the Republicans are incapable of moving forward, and I suspect that they may be thinking of running Lyin' Ryan again, next Presidential election, so be warned...

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/11/15/1162093/-Despite-GOP-term-limits-Republicans-allow-Paul-Ryan-to-continue-as-head-of-Budget-Committee

hu Nov 15, 2012 at 06:15 PM PST
Despite GOP term limits, Republicans allow Paul Ryan to continue as head of Budget Committee

by Hunter for Daily Kos

Even though vice presidential Mini-Mitt Paul Ryan was reelected to congress, this was to have been the last year of his highly prized House Budget Committee chairmanship. That's because the Republicans have an ostensible rule that term limits committee chairmen and/or ranking members to six years in those plum positions, partly because Republicans really like term limits and partly to give other members a chance to rake in some of the sweet, sweet campaign money that comes from being in those positions of maximal power. Whatever is the case, I can't think of a better way to welcome official "GOP intellectual" Paul Ryan back into the congressional fold than for the GOP to ignore simple rules of

4:07AM PST on Nov 15, 2012

The republican party will be just fine, just like the democrat party would have if Romney had won.

9:29PM PST on Nov 14, 2012

Really enjoyed Michael M. and Dorothy N.'s discussion, among other comments. Thank you all.

9:23PM PST on Nov 13, 2012

@Jim L

More background and straight from the horse's ass himself, Lee Atwater. To put him in context, he was part of a troika of GOP dirty tricks specialists, contemporary of Donald Segretti and Roger Ailes. Karl Rove is a Segretti protege. Atwater was partially redeemed when on his death bed he apologized for all the dirty stuff he pulled on behalf of the GOP, and he had a great deal to answer for as you can hear in this clip.

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/11/13/1161225/-Jimmy-Carter-s-grandson-strikes-again

4:48PM PST on Nov 13, 2012

Thanks. Jacob R......there's not much of what your wrote that's correct. It turns out President Obama DID win the election (it's this thing called Math, which those on the right seem to have great difficulty understanding), he got 51% of the vote (that's called a mandate, which is what happens when you win MOST of something (again, Math..over 50% necessarily means most), and he did something only 3 others (Roosevelt, Eisenhower, Reagan) have done....win over 50% of the popular vote in 2 successive elections. Not only did he win, not only does he have a mandate, but the win was truly historic.

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Lindsay Spangler Lindsay Spangler is a Web Editor and Producer for Care2 Causes. A recent UCLA graduate, she lives in... more
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