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What Now For The Conservative Movement?

What Now For The Conservative Movement?

Mitt Romney’s taken a lot of criticism for his never-ending array of positions on just about every issue, from the auto industry bailout to Obamacare. While all of that criticism is deserved, the reality is Mitt’s machinations are less about his failings as a candidate and more about the GOP’s fractured base. And depending on how the election turns out, that fracture could prove to be irreparable.

This fracturing within the Republican party is hardly news. For decades, Christian conservatives battled more socially-tolerant pro-business moderates for the heart and soul of the Republican party. But as that battle evolved from the Goldwater revolution of the 1960s to the Ron Paul Express, the Republican base has grown increasingly conservative and intolerant, making the argument that Republican losses are tied to candidates like John McCain who simply do not represent the purity of modern-day conservatism.

Of course, this argument ignores one critical fact: demographics. Republicans are losing every demographic but the white male vote, and as this country’s population shifts away from white-men as the majority, so to does Republicans hope for lasting relevance in the national political conversation. And as candidates like Romney increasingly pander to the wedged-white male voter, those demographics only get reinforced. It’s a political death spiral and many in the Republican establishment know it.

For conservatives looking for the future of the party, they may just find it across the aisle. Democrats like Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar enjoy wide support from Republicans in her state even as the state’s conservative base moves farther to the Tea Party right. In a sane world, she could even be considered a moderate Republican, with a pro-business, hawkish platform that refuses to rock-the-boat on social issues. She’ll handily win re-election thanks in no small part to the support of Republicans who will not back her challenger, the Ron Paul-aspiring fauxbertarian Kurt Bills.

So where Ronald Reagan inspired a generation of “Reagan Democrats” the same now could be said, but not about President Obama but about the Tea Party. Obama hasn’t inspired a move to the left by Republicans as much as they’ve found themselves in exile in their own party. To that end, these are the Tea Party Democrats and may be the future of the conservative movement. We’ll have a much better idea after the election.

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104 comments

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8:44AM PST on Nov 10, 2012

Well, the first thing they can do is become conservative again intend of ULTRA conservative. That might help them a lot. Ohhhhhh and throw Grover OUT.

5:23AM PST on Nov 9, 2012

@Jennifer

A nice list. The amazing thing for me is that 48% of Americns voted for the man. He also said "I know how to create jobs" but gave not a single specific proposal.

8:25PM PST on Nov 8, 2012

Get rid of the crazies that are ruining their chances.

8:05PM PST on Nov 8, 2012

I think that when you insult 47% of America as freeloaders and say you don't care about them. Then follow up with in your face legislation to control the bodies of half the population. Tell another increasingly prominent sector of the population they aren't good enough to have the rights as everyone else. Next go around to minority organizations and tell them to their face you think they are only in it for handouts. Go to another minority organization and make them afraid that there will be a Joe Arpaio in every city asking for citizenship papers whether they are citizens or not. Then have your buddies in congress vote down increase in pay for combat troops. After all of that you're probably not going to see the White House.

11:29AM PST on Nov 8, 2012

The status of the Republican Party was evident when they were trying to find a good representative to run for the Presidency. I must say that I was impressed with Mitt Romney's concession speech; I really couldn't imagine what that would be and I was pleasantly surprised. I'd love it if he would go a step further by encouraging the Republicans in Congress to work with their cohorts rather than fight each point with which they may not agree.

10:34AM PST on Nov 8, 2012

The conservative movement, such as it is, needs to PULL THEIR HEADS OUT OF THEIR ASSES and realize that the country HAS CHANGED, and that their message, their policies, their ideologies, ARE NOT SHARED by the majority of the country. NOT CONSERVATIVE ENOUGH? WHEN WILL THEY LEARN, they are GOING BACKWARD, not FORWARD.

GO OBAMA/BIDEN!!!!!!!

6:57AM PST on Nov 8, 2012

John H., unfortunately, the rethugs are already saying they lost because they weren't far enough to the right. Hard to believe.

6:51AM PST on Nov 8, 2012

@John H

A scrambled sentence in my post:

Even those losses would NOT impact the thinking of a convinced TPer.

6:49AM PST on Nov 8, 2012

@John H

Unfortunately the R's got a mixed message on Tuesday. The TP gridlockers in the House were largely reelected. They can argue that Romney was not the right candidate, that the losses in the senate can be ascribed to a few "mis-speaks". I think they need to lose both a presidential election and see a Dem majority in the House before they wake up. Even those losses would impact the thinking of a convinced TPer. They might influence the main party BUT the more extreme Senate candidates were not favored by the establishment anyway. They won primaries based on the enthusiastic TP base.

6:00AM PST on Nov 8, 2012

I suspect the Rethuglicans will need to lose one more presidential election before they will learn that they have to change. McCain gets written off as not conservative enough. Romney will get tagged as a flip-flopper. They need a pure right-wing radical like Ryan to lose to learn the lesson that the country is not willing to vote for a radical right agenda.

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