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Don’t Wake Them, Let Them Sleep

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Nearly two weeks after the 2012 elections, all 30 members of the Republican Governors Association, meeting to examine what’s gone wrong with the party, admit that the Republican party is in bad shape. I have predicted the demise of the Republican party for many years because I knew that demographics, policy, tone and a weak grasp on reality would catch up to it. America is changing, and the Republican party has been stagnant since Ronald Reagan’s revamping of Richard Nixon’s Southern Strategy. I’ve been waiting for nearly a half century, knowing this moment would come. The party is on its deathbed, but it isn’t over yet; it’s a slow dying death that may take another 25 years. The party’s current condition is being diagnosed by practitioners from the different schools of Republican philosophy. They all want to save the party by their own methods and this wrangling between them to have the only successful approach will itself further endanger the patient.

Before the party was declared terminally ill at 11:12 on the evening of November 6, 2012, it suffered from a long illness that began in 1964 and steadily worsened for the next 48 years. During those years, the party had many victorious elections and at times seemed invincible; it survived a presidential resignation, a drugs for weapons scandal, numerous charges of corruption, several high profile sex scandals and its century-long tilt towards the rich, but it was the eight years between 2000 and 2008 that dealt the largest blow to the party’s relationship with much of the rest of the country.

The two Republican administrations of the first eight years of the twenty first century will forever be looked back on as the administrations which enabled the emergence of a diverse, aggressive progressivism. It was those years that led to the 2012 devastation of the Republican Party. The earlier victories only served to make the illness less detectable and thus allowed it to fester.

Now it has come to this: the party’s main source of strength, its base, is outnumbered by a coalition of groups the party has never courted. Many in the opposing coalition are objectionable to the Republican party’s main supporters. Too, the party has lost control of its ability to make reasonable compromises with the Democratic party to a small group of provocateurs within its structure, forcing it to assume a widely unappealing obstructionist role.

Some Republican officials who have been awakened to the new demographic reality are genuinely puzzled that they didn’t react to it sooner. These Republicans are talking fast about comprehensive immigration legislation that they think will draw Hispanic voters into the fold.

Whenever I have written in these pages, rather exuberantly, of the looming changes in America’s demographics and their effect on future elections, I have been branded a racist by some readers, who focused on my glee and ignored the truth in my message. Now, everyone is aware of the need to deal with the change in demographics. Now, some Republican office holders and operatives want to devise ways of negating the power of the new demographic, rather than developing policies that would help them to win their share of it. They want to nullify the minority vote through more sophisticated and stealthy means of voter suppression and greater effort to get out more of the white vote. They don’t see the need to expand the party beyond white men if they can suppress the vote of the rising minority. I say more power to them. Don’t wake them, let them sleep.

Many conservative Republicans recognize the need to moderate their party’s policies on female issues like abortion, equal pay, rape and birth control. While no Republican has yet announced a mandatory biology class with special emphasis on female bodily functions for future Republican candidates, this group seems to realize that women ought to control the discussion about their individual vagina and the legislative destiny of their vaginas as a group. Still, there are other conservative politicians and commentators (some of whom are female), whose biggest disappointment in the outcome of the election is that a Republican won’t be in the White House who, when the next Supreme Court vacancy comes would nominate a justice who would cast a vote to reverse Roe v Wade. Even after the election, the vanquished top of the ticket suggested that single women sold their votes for free condoms. He made this statement as he waded away from American political life forever, but the sentiment survives in many people of that stripe in Republican circles and in hard-right media. I say, don’t wake them, let them sleep.

There is a wide range of issues that Republicans need to re-examine. The Republican party’s policy on same sex marriage and everything about LGBT aspirations cost them a 76 to 24 percent share of the vote from that group, as well as support from progressives far beyond the LGBT community.

Polls show that 60 percent of Americans know that Republicans favor the super-rich over the middle class and the poor in all of their monetary policies. They hold 99 percent of America hostage to protect the wealth of the super-rich. With much of America watching and aware of it, Republicans’ support of the oligarchy against all others is aggressively expressed.

Not only do Republicans deny the science of climate change, but they reject science in general. The Republican party is openly split on all of these issues now and whether the party survives depends on who wins control of the party’s new direction. Before the election, the bottom feeders held sway. If they win control as is likely to happen, in 2016 they will field another losing candidate and someone will call for a priest to read the party its last rites. The small faction that drove the party’s direction over the last election cycle has the same old formula to revise the terminally ill Republican party. I say, don’t wake them, let them sleep.

Some top figures in the Republican Party and the conservative movement see that the rhetoric of their side in the opinion molding battle has been way over the top. For far too many years now, the conservative pseudo-political media informed the Republican masses and influenced the Republican political structure with bombastic language and exclusive ideas. Over the years they were all insulated in a cocoon of conservative Republican opinions out of step with the rest of the country. These Republican figures want to tone down the crazy talk that comes from Fox News, talk radio; the surviving Tea Party politicians and so-called conservative authors. It is this group that has built the wacky alternative universe that behaves with the uncertainty of quantum physics that red state voters live in. There are reports that a few people were so dissatisfied with the election results that they have taken their own lives. Discontented people in 20 states have petitioned to secede from the United States. There are groundless calls for the impeachment of the president. The big question here is this; can low information red state voters be weaned off reaffirming misinformation that gives comforts them with the illusion of 1952 America, and be brought to the reality and acceptance of what America is now?

Related to this are the discontentment pimps. The men in luxurious suits, polished shoes and striped ties (pimping clothes if you’re selling America to the oligarchy), hold extremely lucrative positions in political super-PACS and possess inordinate political influence. These men broker the discontentment of the American family, workers, the middle class and professional class; the American soul to the super wealthy for a healthy fee of hundreds of millions of dollars. They promise the oligarchy that they can deliver the controlling political apparatus to set policy and standards to suit their financial interest. The pimps and their donors took a beating two weeks ago but with so much to gain they will be back.

We progressive have found the winning coalition, an alliance that outnumbers the forces of conservative obstructionists, an alliance that is growing in numbers every day. We have many leaders who can solidify and command this same winning coalition in 2016. The Republicans don’t have a potential future candidate who can peel away from our coalition and their base is shrinking. I hereby predict that Hillary Clinton will be elected president in 2016, Andrew Cuomo in 2020, Cory Booker in 2028 and we will bury the Republican Party in the off-year election of 2030.

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About Horace Mungin

  • Igor

    The GOP has pursued a vigorous campaign of “divide and conquer” by demanding that people cannot have divided loyalties. Thus, the Grover Norquist pledge.

    But they went too far, and now citizens find they simply aren’t interested in being bullied like that. Soon, even rightist politicians will start leaving the fold. It will, perhaps, occur to them that had there been a Norquist-like cabal on the left that they would have been screaming long and loud about leftists swearing loyalty to unelected fanatics outside the political mainstream. In fact, they try to do that now WRT Noam Chomsky and Saul Alinsky.

  • Dr Dreadful


  • Clavos

    By pandering to the extremes, the GOP neglected and alienated the floating voters who would have made all the difference to them.


  • Igor

    I know what Romney thinks: “Me first!”

  • zingzing

    “you know, what you really think?”

    i don’t think anyone wants to hear what romney really thinks… yeesh.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Chris… wot???

  • Igor

    In the next 4 years, as the ACA starts to exert itself and Americans come to realize what a great benefit UHC is, the ground will be cut out from under the GOP.

  • I may be a romantic fool but what is wrong with not telling the electorate what you think they want to hear but what they need to hear, you know, what you really think?

  • Dr Dreadful

    Romney lost basically because he and his fellow Republicans were wooing the wrong crowd.

    In recent years, the rhetoric from GOP politicians has become more and more shrilly right-wing and Tea Partyesque. They convinced themselves that in order to secure these voting blocs, they had to tell them what they wanted to hear.


    These are solidly conservative people and this was a presidential election. With the stakes so high, they weren’t going to not vote for Romney just because he didn’t seem to feel as strongly as they did about, say, Obamacare. They were a lock and a waste of breath. Romney might as well have given a series of campaign speeches in his wife’s dressing room.

    By pandering to the extremes, the GOP neglected and alienated the floating voters who would have made all the difference to them.

  • Crown shmown. Just give me back my diploma from Dreadful Medical School, whose credentials got taken away in a cynical and nefarious conspiracy.

  • Clavos

    Let me just put on record here that Clav’s sarcasm in his above comments did not escape me.

    You continue to wear the crown, Señor…

    [¡Bien listo, este cuate!]

  • Baronius

    I’ve said it before, and I say it every two years: keep your powder dry. The arguments you think are over are going to come up again and again and again.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    True. Christie will never be forgiven by the Republican faithful for having had the gall to actually say something complimentary of Obama.

  • Dr Dreadful

    At the same time the old school elders (Rove and Co.) will be systematically pushed aside by the Jindles and Christies.

    Those two examples don’t actually support your case very well, Friv D. Christie will probably no longer be a Republican by 2016 (whether through choice remains to be seen) and Jindal is even more socially conservative than Ryan.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Let me just put on record here that Clav’s sarcasm in his above comments did not escape me.

  • Deano

    To paraphrase the eminient politico Darth Vader “Don’t be too proud of this technological terror you’ve constructed…”

    49% of the vote went to the Republicans and in any given election there are a significant number of soft Dems and soft Republicans in the middle who may switch back and forth. Yes, the overall long-term demographics support the Democrats but remember, they were helped along by possibly the worst slate of nutbar also-ran GOP primary candidates in history.

    The Republicans are going through a phase in which they direction of the party has been hijacked by the fringe elements. If they can find a way to push aside the wackier part of the fringe and build a coalition with the middle, my expectation is that they can start to focus their policies and political position less on insanity grounds and social issues and more on fiscal restraint and foreign policies, which is generally popular and plays to their strengths. There are probably a not-insiginificant number of blacks, latinos and women who, if the GOP would stop focusing on policies that marginalize them, would be happy enough to support fiscal restraint and conservative values.

    The GOP is far from done and buried and people currently digging the grave and chortling would be well-advised to remember that fact.

  • Clavos, even as a hard-core liberal I think that writing of the GOP is premature. Remember that the more victories that the Democrats rack up – gay marriage, pro-choice, etc. – there will be fewer corresponding reasons for voters to align themselves with the Democratic party.

    At the same time the old school elders (Rove and Co.) will be systematically pushed aside by the Jindles and Christies. Increasingly, conservative calls for pro-life candidates will be ignored (kinda in the same way that Obama ignores gun control). Those on the far right will have little choice except to hold their nose and vote for the option of evils. Everyone already realizes that a third party is instant death for the GOP – which is largely libertarianism has not gained much traction.

    I think the GOP can put up a serious challenge in as little as 8 years.

  • Nice article and the schadenfreude in me secretly shared the same thoughts. Ultimately, though, I am also forced to agree with Clavos, Doc and Contrarian. Such an imbalance of power is dangerous, even with the best intentions.

    Zing – It may be true that we thought that we nailed the coffin shut, but I think that there are meaningful differences in the 2012 Republican reaction from 2008.

    In 2008, the GOP consensus was that McCain failed, or Palin brought down the ticket or “mass delusion” of the Democrats, etc. However, following that election, there was never any serious questioning of their platform and policies. If anything, the hardliners were emboldened as witnessed by the 2010 tea party invasion. For thirty years I have been wondering how much further to the right the GOP could drift. I believe that 2012 has finally defined the limit.

    In post 2012, there is for the first time a real conversation in the GOP about their social policies such as anti-immigration, abortion, the actual complexion of Americans and their so-called “defense of religion.” And for the first time, we have seen Republicans (gingerly)question the sacred cow of supply-side economics.

    In short, this is the first time in many years that we’ve seen the GOP come out of an election showing signs of migration to the center. And this is good because we do need a meaningful debate on fiscal responsibility based on reality and without the trappings of social righteousness.

    They may not win my vote but I’m okay with a strong – sane – GOP.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clav –

    I look at your, um, would we call it a pre mortem, perhaps, of the GOP and I’m getting the same kind of feeling as if I was suddenly informed I’d have lifetime supplies of my favorite pizza and beer – it sounds really, really good, but I know in my gut that it’s a bad thing that will hasten my own demise in the future.

    But I’m not so quick to write off the GOP. It will be painful, but as I said, if they can forsake the Reagan doctrine of “thou shalt not criticize thy fellow Republican” and if they can minimize the power of the Religious Right, I believe they can come back. But I really don’t think this will happen before a presidential election where some neo-Reagan with significant oratory skills and empathy for the poor steps forward.

    The next presidential election is your best opportunity since history shows that the electorate is usually loath to stick with the same party for more than two terms. But I don’t see anyone with the requisite skill on your side yet…and we’ve got Hillary (if she runs). She’d be literally unstoppable. But if she doesn’t run, you’ve got a chance.

  • Clavos

    We went through this same pounding the nails in the republican coffin back in 2008 and look what clawed its way out: a meaner, more grotesque version full of racism and misogyny and hatred of the less fortunate that won plenty of power in 2010.

    True, but there’s a difference now: the Democrats have a lock (a very solid lock) on the only voter blocks that count anymore.

    In order to break that, the Republicans would have to take the Democrats’ place in caring about the less fortunate, and that will not happen.

    The fundies might make an attempt to form their own party, and they might even successfully run a few candidates in the odd local or state races, but there are too few of them to outnumber the Democratic coalition in a national race.

    No, we’re looking at the next 25-50 years of US politics.

  • Zingzing

    Oh, bah. We went through this same pounding the nails in the republican coffin back in 2008 and look what clawed its way out: a meaner, more grotesque version full of racism and misogyny and hatred of the less fortunate that won plenty of power in 2010. The reaction from the right will hopefully be less evil this time around, but it’s impossible to kill the thing, even if it’s busy chopping its own head off at this point. We just have to wait and see what creature emerges from this latest attempt at burying the thing. I’m sure it will be horrible.

  • Clavos

    Doc, glenn:

    The Republicans are done; if for no other reason than that the Dems truly do have a lock on a majority of the population; a lock which the Republicans will never break because there is no way they are going to take care of the poor and the non white population.

    The game’s over unless a completely new party is formed.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Horace –

    I’m every bit as progressive as you are, and agree with you on so many points. But I agree with Doc Dreadful in that we Dems – and America in general – need more than one strong party, for a one-party government is a recipe for disaster. If we’re lucky, the GOP will split into two different parties, one full of moderate conservatives, the other full of idiots (which party would hopefully devolve and marginalize itself).

    President Obama’s accomplishments already easily rank him in the top ten of American presidents despite his having to deal with the most obstructive Congress since the Civil War for all but 72 days of in-session Congress since he took the oath of office. If he can continue his pace of accomplishments, he’ll break the top five and be one of our greatest presidents ever. Not that we’ll ever get the conservatives to admit it, of course.

    Just as an exercise – and totally off-topic – but IMO the greatest presidents since 1850 are:

    1. Abraham Lincoln, for obvious reasons.
    2. FDR – for getting us out of the Depression and winning WWII.
    3. Reagan – for everything he did wrong, he won the Cold War which threatened not just America, but all human civilization.
    4. Obama – took over at the height of the Great Recession and got America back on track despite epic obstructionism by the Republicans. And let’s not forget health reform – which had been the object of many presidents from Teddy Roosevelt to Richard Nixon.
    5, 6, 7 – I can’t decide which was better – LBJ, Teddy Roosevelt, or Eisenhower. LBJ escalated Vietnam…but he gave us Welfare, Medicaid, and Medicare. Teddy Roosevelt took on the robber barons and gave us our National Park System, among other things, and Eisenhower – with 91% tax rates on the wealthiest – almost paid off the national debt, and got us out of the Korean War and gave us the Interstate System.

    But if we were to take the view of modern conservatives, no government has ever done anything right. Sigh….

  • It’s unhealthy for a country to have a single dominant party, which is what’s likely to happen if the Republicans don’t tumble to the reasons why they keep losing national elections.

    What’s actually happening is that the Democrats are becoming dominant in the predominantly urban northeast, north and west while the Republicans are becoming dominant in the predominantly rural midwest and south. In effect, the US is turning into two equally unhealthy countries within one national border.

    Since urbanization is likely to continue, the GOP is in deep, deep ka-ka unless it can figure out a way to make itself relevant to the needs of city-dwellers.

  • Clavos

    I agree, Horace. The Democratic party, over the last two elections, has definitely forged what is and will be, for at least the next fifty years, the winning coalition of voter groups.

    But you can’t just sit back and wait for the Republicans to bury themselves in their irrelevance; you can’t just “let them sleep.”

    Democrats have to keep the pressure on; you have to keep on top of them; keep pointing out theirr mistakes and ridiculing them for those mistakes — grind away at them with a constant barrage of berating them for their shortcomings and inadequacies until you have them so brainwashed they believe it all and give up.

    Then, and only then will you have beaten them once and for all.