I’m searching for my mainline

I don’t find the future of the Democratic party especially interesting: I expect that ten years from now, it will still be the same moderate, corporatist-but-not-as-corporatist-as-Republicans party that it is today. The one change I see is that it will become less and less white, and maybe that will have some good effects.

I think the Republican party will become more and more strident about abolishing welfare, Social Security/Medicare, progressive taxation, public education, etc. but I do wonder a bit where they will go on social issues and foreign policy. Here’s what someone at one of our commenters’ favorite blogs predicts:

Most polling of young conservatives show that they are just as conservative as the generation before on most social issues (the one exception seems to be gay marriage). On economics they are listening to the Paul Ryans and Eric Cantors of the Right. On foreign policy and civil liberties that are mostly taking their cues from Ron Paul, not moderate Democrats.

If I were to describe what I think young Republicans will look like in 10 years I would suggest they will be moderate on social policy, mainline conservative on fiscal policy and libertarian on civil liberties and foreign policy. They will be pro-life but also believe people have a right to smoke weed in their own home. They’ll pretty much ignore gay marriage. They will believe in a strong world economy but be isolationist about wars and having our troops in foreign lands.

I think it’s true that the “culture war” stuff will go away; people are already getting bored with it and it’s break-even issue that will soon be a losing issue for Republicans. But I think Republicans will find some new Hitler somewhere to sing Lee Greenwood songs about reasonably soon. And I don’t know what “mainline conservative on fiscal policy” means. So my guess for future Republicans is: more moderate on social issues (other than reproductive rights), even nuttier on economic issues, same as now on foreign policy (against intervention when Democrats do it, for intervention when Democrats don’t do it, etc.).

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111 replies
  1. 1

    Huh. That was my reaction, too, as to fiscal policy. From my comment over there a little bit ago:

    [From the original post:] “On economics they are listening to the Paul Ryans and Eric Cantors of the Right.”

    [Me:] That presumably means that conservatives support Medicare Part D, repeatedly raising the debt ceiling, invading & occupying foreign countries without regard to cost, Keynesian stimulus in economic slowdowns, and changes in tax policy that balloon the deficit. (Well, until the election of a non-GOP president rendered all previous actions, rhetoric, and ideology no longer operative).

    I disagree, though, Doug, about the “culture war” stuff. That’s more or less the animating impulse of GOP allegiance, what with the demise of any interest in fiscal responsibility and size-and-power-of-gov’t issues in the past decade or three. Hence Mitt Romney’s campaign of nothing but lying about America & the president.

    I think that the Democratic Party will look pretty much the same in 10 and 30 years, and that the Republican Party will be drastically different in 30 years because of changing demographics (basing all policies & rhetoric on the Southern Strategy isn’t a long-term winner. But the GOP in ten years will still likely be controlled by people better at fealty to talking points than American interests. Where’s there energy within the party for rationality on anything?

  2. 2
    gaz says:

    And I don’t know what “mainline conservative on fiscal policy” means.

    not sure what he meant by “on”, but as for the rest:

    I think it’s best to think of it as an analogue to mainlining heroin:

    Mainline SSE
    Mainline Jeebus
    Mainline bigotry
    Mainline rush limbaugh

  3. 3
    Gin & Tonic says:

    They will be pro-life but also believe people have a right to smoke weed in their own home… They will believe in a strong world economy but be isolationist about wars and having our troops in foreign lands.

    In other words, they will be white men. Just like now.

  4. 4
    chopper says:

    on one hand, i think that if the GOP heads that way they go into the dustbin of history. and i think that the more moderate side would need to find somewhere to go. then i think about the fact that the ‘moderate’ side of the GOP is mostly an illusion. i mean, there are people who are pretty moderate who vote republican, but they’ll go wherever.

  5. 5
    gex says:

    @reflectionephemeral: Agreed. The right sold those fiscal policies by piggy backing them onto hating others. They’ll keep going with that. And they won’t run out of humans willing to hate others or blame others for their own problems, so they will do just fine.

  6. 6
    geg6 says:

    Goddammit, Doug. You could have warned me that I was going to give the League a hit.

    Shit.

  7. 7
    geg6 says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    Heh. Too true.

  8. 8
    Mitt the Ripper says:

    I love slashing payrolls

  9. 9
    gaz says:

    @geg6: At what point do they become a regional party, ya think?

    I don’t think it’s as simple as when they become a minority, voter-wise. The White Male is already a minority when it comes to just numbers – OTOH, there’s White Male Privilege at play as well.

    Right now, I think Yutsano about nailed it the other night when he said that in 2016 they’ll achieve a purity singularity – and the party will implode in the process. But then again, who knows?

  10. 10
    duck-billed placelot says:

    Uh, that whole ‘culture war’ thing might be a losing proposition for the Rs when it comes to gay rights, but they’re actually gaining ground in women’s rights. From the Guttmacher Institute:

    By almost any measure, issues related to reproductive health and rights at the state level received unprecedented attention in 2011…Fully 68% of these new provisions—92 in 24 states—-restrict access to abortion services, a striking increase from last year, when 26% of new provisions restricted abortion.

    There’s a graph, too: http://www.guttmacher.org/medi.....fyear.html Not exactly an issue they’re losing on. (H/t Shakesville)

  11. 11
    Violet says:

    How many young Republicans are there? I’m sure there are some, but are there as many as there used to be? I don’t see how it’s possible, given what the Republican party stands for. Being a Republican isn’t cool.

    The Republican party will probably still exit, but how big it will be is another thing entirely. It could still exist as an annoying roadblock and gadfly rather than a meaningful party willing to make hard choices and govern.

  12. 12
    Cat Lady says:

    I don’t understand why Dems don’t pick up the legalized pot banner and really run with it, especially in swing states. There would seem to be way more upside than downside, and it could be like the anti-gay marriage initiatives was in Ohio to get out the haters in ’04, except to get out the stoners and the libertarians. The Dems have to get there before the Repubs figure it out.

  13. 13
    ChrisNYC says:

    More and more I think the GOP has totally thrown in the towel on a national identity or on establishing anything to replace the “Reagan coalition.” I think they’ll let the national level continue to atrophy for lack of talent, increasingly lose elections outside R+20 districts, but keep the rhetoric up on social issues, religion, black helicopters, etc.

    AND then the party will work on state level stuff. I think that’s what the 10th Amendment carping is about. If I can’t have power in DC, if I can’t win nationally, then I want to pull lots of power and, with it money, from DC into TX, MS, AL, etc.

    One thing that got me on this idea was the fact that all of them are blah blahing about abolishing departments don’t talk about that as cost cutting. They want that money, they just want it at the state level. Because they’re losing faith that they can hold onto any power to hand it out at the fed level. I think Texas may be a good example of where they want to go — weak, loud governor and basically a shadowy GOP machine running the state.

  14. 14
    Triassic Sands says:

    I’m not sure if the GOP will become more moderate on social issues. They are incredibly invested in their repressive social agenda and it fits nicely with their regressive economic agenda.

    The Republican trend over the past several decades has been to become ever more strident — for years limiting abortion was enough, but more recently contraception has begun to surface publicly as an issue. In the extremely unlikely event that Santorum were to get the nomination and then win the election, contraception would suddenly become vastly more visible. Of course, no one, except maybe Tim Tebow and Ricky himself, thinks that’s going to happen. The fact that demographics seem to be against the Republican social agenda may not matter — to Republicans. After all, they aren’t very bright, are they? Vicious and scheming, yes. Bright, no.

  15. 15
    wrb says:

    They will be mainlining wealth, injected upward.
    They will be for destroying the safety net.
    They will be for maximizing payment to hydrocarbon providers.

    Other policies will be adjusted/collaged as needed to build & maintain a coalition that supports these goals.

    Those providing direction are very bright. They installed their own economics didn’t they?

    Those being directed, less so.

  16. 16
    Baud says:

    I expect that ten years from now, it will still be the same moderate, corporatist-but-not-as-corporatist-as-Republicans party that it is today.

    The best prophecies are those that are written so they can’t fail.

    I, for one, remember how the blogs predicted the death of the Republican Party after the 2008 elections, which made the world safe for intra-party warfare, except it wasn’t, and then 2010 happened.

  17. 17
    Judas Escargot says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    I was going to make an edit to point out that all of that was true of the GOP in the 1920s (just replace ‘smoke weed’ with ‘drink alcohol’), but you got there first.

  18. 18
    geg6 says:

    @gaz:

    I sorta agree with Yutsie. I look at what happened to the Dems in the late 60s and 70s. The Dems hit that purity point and shattered at about that time. If you look at what actually led them to that point, it’s not all that unsimilar to what is happening to the GOPers right now. It’s not a perfect parallel, but is similar.

  19. 19
    Mark S. says:

    Republicans are not going to decriminalize weed. I wish these fanbois would stop pretending that they will. Republicans never pass anything that wouldn’t help one of their crony capitalist buddies. They certainly never pass something for some mundane reason like it would be a good policy or something.

  20. 20
    Tony J says:

    But where can this ‘New Republican Party’ you describe above get the ‘Guaranteed Base Vote’ it would need to navigate this change and stay competitive?

    Right now they’ve got the “White Like Washington, God-Bothering, Armed Fist of Freedom, Capitalism is Kewl!” subsets to draw on. If they moderate on some of those issues and double down on others they’re going to need a civil-war between the factions to smooth out the rough edges and that will/should cost them elections for a generation.

    How many non-wingnut ‘conservatives’ are going to stick around for that to happen?

    IANAAmerican – Edumacate me.

  21. 21
    Chris says:

    If I were to describe what I think young Republicans will look like in 10 years I would suggest they will be moderate on social policy, mainline conservative on fiscal policy and libertarian on civil liberties and foreign policy. They will be pro-life but also believe people have a right to smoke weed in their own home. They’ll pretty much ignore gay marriage. They will believe in a strong world economy but be isolationist about wars and having our troops in foreign lands.

    I don’t expect those things to change the Republican Party very much.

    Economic issues: no difference at all from today.

    Social issues: I think less and less of them will care, but the party will continue to indulge the religious right because on the one hand, these guys bring votes, and on the other hand, young Republicans really don’t care that much about gay marriage one way or another. (In other words, things will be pretty much like they have been for the last thirty years: the religious right never had quite as much power as they seemed over the GOP, but they were indulged because they were a reliable source of voter enthusiasm).

    Foreign policy: sorry, I think the Ron Paul isolationism stuff’s a fad, temporarily popular because of post-Iraq/Afghanistan war fatigue. I don’t expect that to last any longer than Vietnam fatigue did. Few things in political messaging are as powerful as simple nationalism and few things in Washington are as entrenched as the military-industrial complex. It’ll take a lot more than this to make Ron Paul isolationism stick, IMO.

  22. 22
    Baud says:

    @Cat Lady:

    I don’t understand why Dems don’t pick up the legalized pot banner and really run with it, especially in swing states.

    I think it’s historically been a losing issue, but we may be at a tipping point in certain areas.

  23. 23
    geg6 says:

    @Triassic Sands:

    Remember that Doug is linking to a libertarian site. I think this is a lot of wishful thinking on their part. Which, if you think about it, is basically the definition of “libertarian.”

  24. 24
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    On economics they are listening to the Paul Ryans and Eric Cantors of the Right.

    This means they’re too lazy or stupid to get beyond Econ 101.

    I suggest that we take these shitheads hostage, and force them to read The Wealth of Nations as the ransom for their release.

    They will be tested at the end to see what, if anything, they may have learned from The Master.

  25. 25
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Baud:

    I, for one, remember how the blogs predicted the death of the Republican Party after the 2008 elections

    I first noticed this in ’92, when Bill Clinton and the New Democrats were Doom Incarnate for Republicans, then in ’94, Newt and the Angry White Males meant Dems would never win another cycle, and it seems almost every two years since then one or the other party is doomed. I don’t remember if it goes back before. I do wonder if/when the Texeira and The Other Guy theory of rising minority voters will shift Texas, AZ, or GA out of the permanent R column.

  26. 26
    srv says:

    I just don’t see the 27% liberalizing, so in order to stay relevant there is going to have to be some socialcon-libertarian mind-meld where religious folks let the randians smoke dope and the randians forget Ayn’s feminism and atheism.

    There are a lot of angry white men out there, and a good portion of them young urbanites who lurv Jon Stewart and Ron Paul. They’ll be more than happy looking away at women’s rights. They’re not going to give up their privilege without a long protracted fight.

    Democrats will never appeal to either of these groups.

  27. 27
    Monkey Business says:

    Of all their myriad policies, the GOP suffers most electorally from being unable to connect with socially conservative minorities due to their stances on welfare and immigration.

    If they could stop calling everyone darker than Richard Nixon lazy, shiftless, and untrustworthy, and come up with a better plan than “Build a giant electric fence”, they could conceivably pick up those groups without a whole lot of effort.

    However, in doing so, you’re wiping out your electoral advantage, because the 60+% of whites they need to win elections stay home.

    Ultimately, defeating the GOP will come down to driving a wedge between the business conservatives and the social conservatives. The Jebus folks don’t give two shits about tax rates on hedge fund managers. They only care if they like Jebus.

  28. 28
    Angry DougJ says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    Texas and AZ yes, GA no.

  29. 29
    wrb says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    I suggest that we take these shitheads hostage, and force them to read The Wealth of Nations as the ransom for their release.

    They don’t care about being right.

    What matters is their economic construct justifies pillage.

    And they’ve bought enough chairs, think tanks and departments to ensure that it is treated as a basis for valid disagreement.

  30. 30
    MTiffany says:

    I think it’s true that the “culture war” stuff will go away;

    Economic issues always trump “culture war” bullshit. Just as soon the economy recovers red state bigots will resume screeching about who’s taking it in the ass since they’ll no longer be taking it in the wallet.

  31. 31

    young conservatives don’t care about gay marriage or as the conservatives would frame it, the whole gay agenda.

    that doesn’t mean their opposition is going away any time soon. the young cons will either get religion, or some other thing, and get in line with old cons, or get out.

    its just like evangelicals getting in line with denying global warming because the money part of the party loves their oil and doesn’t want their precious fossils being blamed for causing harm.

    they all saw how things worked out for the tobacco industry.

    gay marriage, and the whole agenda as they see it, is tied to their early opposition and obfuscation in the early days of hiv. that they may have contributed to a global pandemic for no good reason at all, is too much of a cross to bear.

    conservative opposition to gay marriage, and any gay rights issue is wired into the core beliefs as much as believing carbon dioxide can only be a good thing, there is no global warming, or at worst that human activity can’t be blamed.

  32. 32
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Monkey Business:

    The primary unifying focus of the GOP is not abortion, and it’s not money.

    It’s race.

    The reason the fundigelicals went with the GOP is that Carter went after the tax exempt status of the “Christian Academies” in the South whose sole purpose was to get pristine white youth away from “those people.” You know, the near ones. Carter, you see, is an actual Christian, as opposed to a Mammonist who hates people with high melanin counts.

    That was the policy that sent a bunch of white racist shit with religious overtones totally into the arms of the GOP, completing the trend that Nixon latched onto with the Southern Strategy.

  33. 33
    Chris says:

    @Monkey Business:

    Ultimately, defeating the GOP will come down to driving a wedge between the business conservatives and the social conservatives.

    And which of these wings do we then pick up…? Or do you think we can go back to the old 20th century standard of playing them off against each other?

  34. 34
    Baud says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    I suggest that we take these shitheads hostage, and force them to read The Wealth of Nations as the ransom for their release.

    You mean stuff like this:

    A man must always live by his work, and his wages must at least be sufficient to maintain him. They must even upon most occasions be somewhat more, otherwise it would be impossible for him to bring up a family, and the race of such workmen could not last beyond the first generation.

  35. 35
    the dude says:

    Conservative policy in the future? No crystal ball is required, as it has already been defined here on BJ: Whatever liberals are against. Updated daily.

  36. 36
    wasabi gasp says:

    They become Ordinary Gentlemen.

  37. 37
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @wrb:

    What matters is their economic construct justifies pillage.

    180 degrees out of synch with Smith, right there.

    Smith understood, over two centuries ago, that if you put money into the hands of the workers, you’ll only do something shocking like increase the size of the pie for everyone, which means everyone wins.

    These motherfuckers can’t stand that idea. They can’t enjoy their gourmet meal unless they know others are starving.

  38. 38
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    as far as “culture wars” go, I don’t get the sense that there’s a lot of concern in the broad electorate about the war on abortion rights. McCain was on Letterman the other night, and among the lies and distortions the bitter old fool spluttered was the mocking of George Stephanopolous for asking the Stooges about banning contraception, McPalin was indignant at such an absurd question, no one wants to ban contraception, he yelled Letterman, kids on his lawn and passing clouds.
    Apparently he doesn’t know about the MS “personhood” law, and the pledge to take it national that his new pal Willard signed.

  39. 39
    Brachiator says:

    So my guess for future Republicans is: more moderate on social issues (other than reproductive rights), even nuttier on economic issues, same as now on foreign policy (against intervention when Democrats do it, for intervention when Democrats don’t do it, etc.).

    Who knows what tomorrow may bring?

    I think it’s true that the “culture war” stuff will go away; people are already getting bored with it

    Which people, are these, exactly? Culture wars certainly seems to be animating this 2012 campaign. Have the votes already been counted?

    Must be a slow news day.

  40. 40
    Hill Dweller says:

    Romney, speaking to the South Carolina Faith and Freedom Coalition(probably a lily white audience): “You know, they called him a community organizer — I don’t think this was the community he planned on organizing”.

  41. 41
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Baud:

    Yeah, soshulist stuff like that.

    It’s remarkably easy to troll libertarian chat rooms and blogs with unattributed quotes from Smith and watch the fur fly.

  42. 42
    RSA says:

    If I were to describe what I think young Republicans will look like in 10 years…

    I’d look at Young Republicans (the political organization). Sure, they’re a tiny minority of all Republicans, but people who work within such conservative organizations seem to have outsized influence when they get into the real world, and the Tea Party movement has shown just how top-down the thinking within the party is.

    So how do Young Republicans think about things? As far as I can tell, there’s really not that much difference from how old Republicans think about things. So I’d say… more of the same, pretty much.

  43. 43
    dedc79 says:

    With respect to how the Republican party looks in the future, the big question is whether the GOP can move beyond its immigrant bashing to recognize that it is going to need the support of a decent percentage of latino voters. Some of those voters are more socially conservative than the democratic party but won’t vote Republican because of the party’s hostility to latino immigrants.

  44. 44
    schrodinger's cat says:

    League of Ordinary Gentlemen, are little Bobos in training, I am not buying anything they might be selling. Their analysis is going to be favorable to the GOP, no matter what. The GOP today, is to the right of Milton Friedman, I don’t know how much more right they can go and still make any kind of sense.

    ETA: Their grasp of Econ seems to be as shaky as that of Bobo, what does, mainline conservative on fiscal policy even mean? What about monetary policy what is that going to be. I think the LOOG is mainlining bs, that is all.

  45. 45
    EconWatcher says:

    As I lamented in an earlier thread, the nation is now evenly divided on whether Iraq was a good idea. So I think we can look forward to many more reckless, pointless military adventures in our future. We aren’t getting any smarter.

    I hope we aren’t embroiled in one when my boy hits military age (which is a considerable way off). But I feel like there’s nothing we can do about it. If the Iraq debacle failed to make an impression, what would?

  46. 46
    Mark S. says:

    Dwyer responds to ED Kain in the comments:

    Wait until all of those returning troops start running for office. We have a whole generation of mostly right-leaning soldiers who probably have a very negative opinion of foreign entanglements.

    Maybe, but I’m pretty confidant the ones running for office as Republicans will sound pretty much like Allan West.

  47. 47
    wrb says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    The primary unifying focus of the GOP is not abortion, and it’s not money.
    It’s race.

    Then why would they sacrifice anything to not tax fund managers or inheritance equitably?

    There is nothing they will not do for the top .1%, no matter how it conflicts with the interests of their lesser constituents.

    Race is a tool to rally the votes that give control of the money.

  48. 48
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @EconWatcher:

    As I lamented in an earlier thread, the nation is now evenly divided on whether Iraq was a good idea.

    Even as one with a fairly gloomy view of the intelligence of the American electorate as a whole, that’s fucking depressing

  49. 49
    wrb says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    These motherfuckers can’t stand that idea. They can’t enjoy their gourmet meal unless they know others are starving.

    Truth

  50. 50
    Mark S. says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    The GOP today, is to the right of Milton Friedman

    That is true. They now believe that monetary policy comes from the Devil.

  51. 51
    gex says:

    @the dude: Being a registered Republican is all you need to buy meds for Oppositional Defiance Disorder. Which is weird for authoritarians who like to be told what to think.

  52. 52
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @EconWatcher: Well, when Empires run out of money they come back to terra firma. If the GOP gets its way, we may be headed there sooner rather than later.

  53. 53
    Violet says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    League of Ordinary Gentlemen, are little Bobos in training,

    Exactly. If you don’t take Bobo seriously, why do you take these guys seriously?

  54. 54
    Mark S. says:

    @wrb:

    I agree. Race, gay-bashing, abortion, immigration, etc., are all just to get enough rubes in the tent to pass their regressive economic policies.

  55. 55
    gex says:

    @Mark S.: It isn’t all just a front though. They use these methods for economic gain, sure. But they know they deserve those gains because they are better than minorities, gays, women, etc.

  56. 56
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @Violet: He is trolling us? Or this is a bait for M_C.

  57. 57
    srv says:

    @Mark S.:

    Wait until all of those returning troops start running for office. We have a whole generation of mostly right-leaning soldiers who probably have a very negative opinion of foreign entanglements.

    Ideological troops never run or go very far. Taking orders never transfers to herding cats.

  58. 58
    Jeff Fecke says:

    @geg6:

    I always think this is the parallel to draw. Liberals were out of power from 1980 through 1992. (The fact that Democrats held the House is irrelevant; Conservative Dems gave conservatives a majority in that body.) They ping-ponged through a series of retreads (Mondale) and false starts (Dukakis) before settling on Clinton, who was above all else a moderate. Clinton broke with party orthodoxy on budget deficits, welfare reform, and Wall Street, and while we can question all of those, we can’t question that without the New Dems, liberals may well not found their way back to power until 1996 or later.

    I don’t think the GOP will truly splinter; I think they’re overdue for a move to the middle, though. The question is how the party will moderate; it will create schisms, inevitably. But it has to happen; their current core supporters are gonna die soon.

  59. 59
    geg6 says:

    @Mark S.:

    Funny, though, that all the vets I deal with (and I deal with more than a few) are all Dems and have told me so emphatically. One was Ron Paul curious but he seems to have realized that killing the federal government would, of necessity, kill the VA and Department of Education, two government entities which he much likes. And since his wife is on SSI, he had to think long and hard about whether it was she that Ron Paul was talking about when he talked about letting people die rather than providing government support.

    Vets may be uneducated (and many of them are), but they aren’t stupid.

  60. 60
    colby says:

    Every four years, we’re promised that after this election, the Republican Party is going to start modernizing and moderating.

    Every fifth year, they get fucking worse.

    Christ, George W. Bush ran as a “compassionate conservative” and against “nation building”. I, for one, am not falling for this shit anymore.

  61. 61
    Violet says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:
    Could be either. Although why he’d do the latter, I have no idea.

  62. 62

    Ten years is a long time. A lot can happen.

    We will still have people who are clinging to the past and others who are eager to meet the future. And the majority will be in between.

    On the other hand, I think it’s foolish to try to predict future political positions. You just don’t know.

  63. 63
    Violet says:

    @colby:
    At some point they’ll have to change. There’s only so long you can purge “impure conservatives” from your party before you’ve got nothing left. And given that most of them are old and white, demographics are going to decimate their core eventually. But what they’ll be replaced with, who knows.

    Meanwhile, I completely agree with you that it’s foolish to believe they’ll change without being forced to. I’m not falling for that shit either.

  64. 64
    cmorenc says:

    @gaz:

    Right now, I think Yutsano about nailed it the other night when he said that in 2016 they’ll achieve a purity singularity – and the party will implode in the process. But then again, who knows?

    IF Romney loses to Obama and the Dems hold/regain at least narrow control of both houses of Congress, the implosion will begin in earnest the morning after election night 2012, because despite the GOP having given it their very best shot in the two years since the 2010 elections to build a permanent seawall to protect their eroding demographic base against the rising demographic tide against them, they will have failed. IF OTOH Romney wins and the GOP gains control over both houses of Congress and the GOP manages to hold onto most of their 2010 gains in state houses, they could succeed in erecting major long-lasting structural impediments that could retard any further progressive changes for one to three decades. Walker’s Wisconsin is only a foretaste of what would aggressively come down the pike, and quickly, on a national level. They could even succeed in destroying social security as we know it, and achieve their wet dream of dynamiting the legacy of the New Deal right down to its foundations.

  65. 65
    geg6 says:

    @colby:

    Every four years, we’re promised that after this election, the Republican Party is going to start modernizing and moderating.
    __
    Every fifth year, they get fucking worse.
    __
    Christ, George W. Bush ran as a “compassionate conservative” and against “nation building”. I, for one, am not falling for this shit anymore.

    @Violet:

    Meanwhile, I completely agree with you that it’s foolish to believe they’ll change without being forced to. I’m not falling for that shit either.

    Yes. This.

  66. 66
    Yutsano says:

    I read that thing as the libertarians heard from Julie they are about to be invited to the Big Dance and SQUEE!! we’re gonna sit at the Kool Kidz table now! News flash: libertarians ARE Republicans. Look at their voting patterns. How could they be anything otherwise?

  67. 67
    wrb says:

    @cmorenc:

    they could succeed in erecting major long-lasting structural impediments that could retard any further progressive changes for one to three decades.

    Optimist

  68. 68
    ralphf says:

    I’m not so sure. I am old enough to remember that we said all these same things about the Republicans in the late 60’s and then they came back to chrush us. Point is: don’t get too over confident.

  69. 69
    Hoodie says:

    @geg6: There were a lot of vets that came out of WWII that became Eisenhower supporters, but none of this current crop of Republican candidates fills that role. My guess is that after Romney crashes and burns, some R’s would try to make a play for Petraeus to spearhead a comeback that would be centrist in character. But I doubt that’s in the cards due to Petraeus’s reluctance and the fact that Iraq/Afghanistan went on too damn long without a glorious victory.

  70. 70
    Brachiator says:

    @Violet:

    And given that most of them are old and white, demographics are going to decimate their core eventually.

    Ron Paul did surprisingly well with younger voters in Iowa. Who knows what will happen in the later GOP primaries.

    Democrats, and liberals in general, cannot count on some magical demographic shift to do their work for them.

    The Tea Party People responded to the prospect of change by becoming more rigid and ousting moderates. There is no particular reason to believe that they have learned any lessons.

    And if by some chance the Republicans win the presidential election in 2012, then much of the speculation in this thread may become null and void as the GOP consolidates its victory and looks again to dismantle 20th century liberal domestic policy.

  71. 71
    gaz says:

    @cmorenc:

    IF Romney loses to Obama and the Dems hold/regain at least narrow control of both houses of Congress, the implosion will begin in earnest the morning after election night 2012,

    Luckily the entire Republican Party is pushing for this right now. Obama won’t have to break a sweat until October, at this rate ;)

    OTOH, I agree with you, and the Republican governor’s agenda – post CU, is a fairly scary glimpse of what’s to come.

    But so far, I sleep well this cycle.

  72. 72
    slightly-peeved says:

    Proviided Obama gets re-elected, in 2022 the U.S. will have fully implemented health insurance exchanges in every state, and all the protections of the PPACA. I imagine that for the Republicans, running on ddismantling it will be about as popular as running against Medicare is now. And in 10 years, Dems will probably be running on expanding it.

  73. 73
    gaz says:

    @Brachiator: Also what you said. =)

  74. 74
    Cacti says:

    I think the economic libertarian and social moderate wings of the GOP eventually divorce the evangelical wing for irreconcilable differences.

    The former two legs of the Reagan coalition stool will make moves toward a saner immigration policy to try and win back some of the Hispanic vote.

    The next 10-12 years will see a rebranding of the GOP electoral model.

  75. 75
    gaz says:

    @Hoodie: Eisenhower was a commie!

  76. 76
    gaz says:

    @Cacti:

    The former two leogs of the Reagan coalition stool will make moves

    FTFY

  77. 77
    bemused says:

    Far right conservatives periodically suffer serious setbacks but they don’t give up. They just battling on and on until they get us to this shitty place again. If only they would learn to use that dogged tenacity for good and not evil.

  78. 78
    Triassic Sands says:

    @geg6:

    Wishful thinking.

    Which, if you think about it, is basically the definition of “libertarian.”

    Very well put.

    Somewhere in the universe (or in another universe) there must may be a society in which libertarianism would be more than silly naivete — but it’s not this one.

  79. 79
    Violet says:

    @Brachiator:

    Ron Paul did surprisingly well with younger voters in Iowa. Who knows what will happen in the later GOP primaries.

    Iowa seems to far away, so I can’t remember–is Iowa an “open caucus” type of state where Dems/Independents can vote in the Republican caucuses? If so, would any of his support be from those types of voters?

    Also, percentage-wise, how many young people voted in the Iowa GOP caucuses? More or fewer than 2008 and other previous elections? How about women? What are the percentages of young women AND young women who voted for Paul?

    I know Paul has more young voters than most Republicans, but if most of them are white males and if some of them are only voting for him either as a spoiler/protest vote because Obama is an incumbent, then his support might not be as broad as people think.

  80. 80
    Chris says:

    @bemused:

    Far right conservatives periodically suffer serious setbacks but they don’t give up. They just battling on and on until they get us to this shitty place again.

    No matter how liberal mainstream politics get and no matter how fringe and isolated the far right may become, they can always be assured of two things. One, they’ll never be short of financing: by definition no one that dedicated to the richest 1% will. Two, there’ll always be a place for them in the Republican Party, even if it’s not in the driver’s seat.

    Those things saw them through the “liberal consensus” years of the 1950s and 1960s. They have good reason to be that dogmatic and persevering, it worked out pretty well for them in the last century.

  81. 81
    shortstop says:

    If we are indeed on a permanently downward trend (with occasional spikes upward) in terms of desirable jobs and opportunity, will the GOP be forced to moderate its message, if not its underlying actions or core philosophy? I thought we’d never hear anyone but us talking about the dangers of enormous wealth inequality and policies that attack the middle class to create a permanent underclass…but now more people are starting to get it. As people become more desperate, I don’t see that small groundswell receding.

    For a variety of reasons, I don’t expect there to ever be a real political revolution (which is why I roll my eyes when people suggest letting it all fall so that people will “wake up”). But, as it dawns on folks that tough times are here to stay, it seems Republicans will have to shift from being the All Plunder All the Time channel (ah, but they had a good run) to throwing the middle class some economic bones just to keep the grumbling down. I worry that they’ll learn to do just enough of that to attract voters who are only marginally politically engaged and who have mild cultural issues with Democrats.

  82. 82
    pluege says:

    its just stupid to think republicanism has anything to do with specific policies. It has everything to do with character and beliefs. republicans are authoritarian, violent, self-absorbed, indecent, insecure, greed-obsessed, and intolerant. Nothing is changing about that anytime soon. So while some of today’s obsessions may subside or be altered, they’ll only be replaced with others just as vile.

    Today’s republicans most salient psychological features are psychotic greed and a complete lack of empathy. They are fundamentally bad people living lies fueled by monstrous insecurity.

    It is republicans’ psychology that makes them pursue their corrupt policies, not the other way around.

  83. 83
    Paris says:

    As usual, the people over on that site are creating their own reality, describing a world that they wish was true. They write a they are members of some club composed of junior high boys. Either that or they are high. or both.

  84. 84

    Aw fer pete’s sake, this kind of thing takes so many variables as steady and modifies the ones they want to. I’ve seen no signs of moderation on the right. The 27% number keeps showing up, year after year, despite other changes. I’ve sure met enough non-whites that espouse the same ideas to not just buy that racial make up is going to blow that number out. Even if you postulate that the number is bigotry oriented, it is scarcely isolated to whites on browns.

    Economics are one of the drivers of policy, I don’t have a lot of confidence that our economic model as a whole is at a steady state. Extreme dislocation of wealth is not a sustainable proposition without a lot of pain. The Democratic Party is a very loose coalition tied together by shifting priorities. Deciding that it must stay tied to plotocracy ignores the costs to their membership by that model.

    LIbertarian outlook is surely going to drive what assumptions are made, especially regarding what stays steady state. This economic/political model has been creating increasing costs and wider spread for a generation and to assume that it can continue on that track is a rather large assumption and that both Parties can stick with it, fantasy.

  85. 85
    Brachiator says:

    @Violet:

    I know Paul has more young voters than most Republicans, but if most of them are white males and if some of them are only voting for him either as a spoiler/protest vote because Obama is an incumbent, then his support might not be as broad as people think.

    These are all good questions, and Iowa was a single contest. However, I think the idea that younger voters are all incipient Democrats is an untested fantasy.

    Worse, there is a kind of strange laziness at play here; as though Democrats don’t have to have a message or a set of programs, but simply wait for a magical demographic shift to do all their work for them.

    And I don’t know how this works out in large numbers, but I am often surprised at the knee jerk conservatism I hear spontaneously offered by younger listeners (almost all men) on sports talk radio programs. Obviously, I do not claim that this is statistically meaningful, but it does lead me to caution the conventional wisdom that the GOP is the party of the near dead.

    @shortstop:

    I thought we’d never hear anyone but us talking about the dangers of enormous wealth inequality and policies that attack the middle class to create a permanent underclass…but now more people are starting to get it.

    And yet, there are any number of countries that are complacently happy to get along with an oligarchy, with a thin middle class and a large underclass.

    I am amazed that so many Americans appear to have bought the slimy GOP nonsense that trickle down works, and that only the lazy and un-deserving do not succeed in Real America(tm).

  86. 86
    MCA says:

    It’s the same as it’s been for some time now. The target “new” Republican voters come in two flavors: (i) people who are aging and become more susceptible to resentment and/or any policy that helps them better to preserve the nut they’ve accumulated, and (ii) the younger, mostly professional, types, who are through their own vanity and sense of self-worth/entitlement (justified or not) susceptible to arguments about how the Left will either take away your future and give it to those less-deserving than you, or ruin the capitalist utopia necessary for you to make the tens of millions you’re working so hard for and will so richly deserve in the future.

    The supply of people for the first category will never end, regardless of demographics – it will wax and wane with birth rates, and shrink somewhat over time as the ability to just turn the resentment toward minorities loses its magic. But getting older, getting scared of change, and getting more protective of your shit will never go away in society.

    It’s the second category that’s interesting. The future of Republicanism rests on whether it crosses the line where it becomes so laughable in its cravenness and so mockably reactionary and over-the-top with the whole Liberal bashing thing as to lose an entire generation to Jon Stewart’s ridicule. Luckily for the GOP, they seemed to recognize this as a risk 45 years ago and set about working the refs so hard that even now, with the most outrageously clownish cavalcade of candidates spouting some of the most repugnant bullshit in the history of the republic, they can still paint anyone pointing out the lack of clothing on the emporer as a socialist America-hating community organizing fascist illegal immigrant, and never get questioned.

    My hope was that OWS would cut through that filter, and when combined with the worst employment landscape for young people in a century, break the hold the Republican Party has on 35-40% of America’s youth. Only time will tell, but the ease with which Republicans still get away with claiming this continuing economic mess is all Obama’s fault, and the lack of accountability for their ludicrous, almost apocaplyptic talk about ACA, stimulus, tax hikes on the 1% and anything else with Democratic backing, doesn’t make me optimistic. If we had a not-absurd media environment in this country right now, the Republicans truly would be doomed for at least a generation.

  87. 87
    bemused says:

    @Chris:

    True but it’s more than hardnose stubbornness paying off for them eventually. Their DNA is hardwired to assholery.

  88. 88
    catclub says:

    @wrb: Perhaps instead of pointing out Paris Hilton as having a lower tax rate than a working schlub, it would work better to point out that Michael Jordan and the latest rapper, have lower tax rates.

    (Not necessarily true, but when has truth been necessary
    in GOP motivation.)

  89. 89
    toujoursdan says:

    Younger evangelical Christians are more liberal than their parents. They live in a multicultural world, are far more connected with different types of people and ways of thinking through the internet and social networking and are far more concerned about social justice and environmentalism. That’s a key constituency of the GOP and this change will have an effect on their policy.

    From the article:

    Research shows many young white evangelical Christians are moving away from the Republican Party. Surveys by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life show a 15 percentage point drop in the alliance of white evangelicals aged 18 to 29 with the Republican Party over the past two years. “This group is going to be definitely worth watching,” said Dan Cox, a Pew research associate and author of the report. “If anything, they’re becoming more independent in their outlook.” Most favour stricter laws to protect the environment, for example, an issue not typically associated with Republican platforms, yet remain conservative on issues like opposition to abortion and support for the death penalty.

  90. 90
    Chris says:

    @bemused:

    Also true. I’m sure that helps a lot.

  91. 91

    @Brachiator:

    And yet, there are any number of countries that are complacently happy to get along with an oligarchy, with a thin middle class and a large underclass.

    Yes, true. In order for that to be relevant their history also would include several generations of wide spread middle class and…
    Well, you know, look something like ours…

  92. 92
    bemused says:

    @Chris:

    That they probably can’t help themselves doesn’t make me detest them any less.

  93. 93
    Brachiator says:

    @Chuck Butcher: RE: And yet, there are any number of countries that are complacently happy to get along with an oligarchy, with a thin middle class and a large underclass.

    Yes, true. In order for that to be relevant their history also would include several generations of wide spread middle class and… Well, you know, look something like ours…

    The GOP has been quietly selling oligarchy. I know a number of people who assume that they will be in that thin middle class that remains (even though they also tend to think that it would be a broader remnant than I do).

    They presume that anyone who is not making at least $250,000 are losers, cubicle people, deficient in some way.

    Also, looking at one of our neighbors, Mexico. It astounds me that the elite there have been content to push out millions of their people into the US, and see them send billions back home in remittances, but rather than keep them at home and create opportunity, they are content to maintain a corrupt and inefficient system that benefits the few.

  94. 94
    JGabriel says:

    DougJ @ Top:

    I think it’s true that the “culture war” stuff will go away; people are already getting bored with it and it’s break-even issue that will soon be a losing issue for Republicans.

    People have been predicting the culture war stuff will go away for about 20 years now. With the possible exception of gay marriage, I don’t see it happening.

    Wingergy is always conserved: the fewer the people yelling about social issues, the louder they’ll scream and the crazier they’ll get.

    .

  95. 95
    CarolDuhart2 says:

    @JGabriel: About that Culture War, it’s also a White People’s Problem. What happens to that when demographics change? Brown people don’t care enough about it to be doing anything legislatively about it. And when it comes to economics, most brown people are to the left of Sweden.

    As for the rest, it’s been a movement to resist the social changes of the Sixties. I predict when the last of the Archie Bunker generation dies off to be replaced by boomers and Jonesers, the culture war will die legislatively. People find it ridiculous and wasteful.

  96. 96
    Kola Noscopy says:

    @gaz:

    I think it’s best to think of it as an analogue to mainlining heroin:
    Mainline SSE
    Mainline Jeebus
    Mainline bigotry
    Mainline rush limbaugh

    So very clever.

    Let’s see if you can make it ten days without a comment whose primary feature is mindless tribalism, K?

  97. 97
    burritoboy says:

    “And yet, there are any number of countries that are complacently happy to get along with an oligarchy, with a thin middle class and a large underclass.”

    What you’re referring to are the Central and South American oligarchies, most of which oligarchies are in the past tense and no longer exist. So, no, there just aren’t that many countries still like the ones you describe.

    Particularly, that’s a pretty difficult scenario to see near term in the United States. The reason those countries could be oligarchies is because a certain type of conservatism that never really existed in the United States: first, those oligarchies survived only within a framework of a global Cold War. Second, the oligarchies survived only within a framework of a very highly Roman Catholic population.

    Those things meant that the South American oligarchs could pose as defenders of the Church against the atheist Marxists who wanted to kill all the nuns. Since there was a global Cold War, there really were back then actually-existing lunatic Marxists who wanted to burn all the churches down.

    Since the US is neither in a global Cold War nor is highly Roman Catholic, this type of oligarchy is not probable: not to say impossible, of course. The oligarchs, to be running the system openly, have to be seen as taking the primary role (as a class) in defending something which is under attack. That something has to be pretty universal and that attack has to be relatively real.

    Since the US oligarchs have little in common with each other beyond money, they would have difficulty posing as defenders of anything besides money. And that doesn’t create enough political support to maintain an oligarchical regime.

  98. 98
    Kola Noscopy says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    In other words, they will be white men. Just like now.

    Hmmmm…racist?

    Lots of us here are white men and don’t hold that combination of views. Examine your privilege.

  99. 99
    Kola Noscopy says:

    @geg6:

    Heh. Too true.

    Fucking racist misandrist.

  100. 100
    CarolDuhart2 says:

    @Chuck Butcher: So far, things have sort of worked because America has been a safety valve for the restless. Mexico can export its misery for now-but when its own numbers drop, then what? When the oil runs out, America legalized pot, the cost of travel makes local tourism more appealing, then what will the Mexican oligarchy do?

  101. 101
    Yutsano says:

    @Kola Noscopy: Herp de herp.

  102. 102

    I think it’s significant that a huge chunk of the Republican party is dying off. This might be the same chunk who watches Fox News; and are pretty old too. These are the people still screeching and crying about hippies and Communists.

    I don’t know anyone under forty who has any idea what that means.

    Culture wars? Over what? It’s a slow process still, but we won.

  103. 103
    CarolDuhart2 says:

    I think everybody is framing this wrong. Sure, there will always be some sort of 27% or assholes who are Republican. The problem for the party is that those who fear “losing their shit” are being replaced by folks who a)never really had it, or b)the Republican Party has actively been taking away their shit or threatening to do so. There’s no economic reason for the new demographics to go Republican. And as for cultural conservatism, minorities have never really warmed to forcing legislative morality on people who don’t want it.

    And generations become more liberal the longer they are in the United States-which means the Republicans have a very narrow window of opportunity to woo those conservative voters.

  104. 104
    gex says:

    @JGabriel:

    Wingergy is always conserved

    Newton, right?

  105. 105
    gaz says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    It’s remarkably easy to troll libertarian chat rooms and blogs with unattributed quotes from Smith and watch the fur fly.

    That’s depraved**. It also sounds like fun! =)

    **(picking on the developmentally delayed is mean)

  106. 106
    chopper says:

    @gex:

    just wait til we get to the part where wingnut warps the space-truth continuum.

  107. 107
    gex says:

    @chopper: I thought we were already there. Either way, they prove parallel universes exist.

  108. 108

    @Brachiator:
    Burritoboy touched on this, but I think the answer goes deeper into their history than he. And to Carol, Mexico is flying apart even with the safety valve.

    There are so damned many things going on with CA/SA in history that laying it on one thing won’t do. You could really simplify down and say, “Spain, France, Germany,” but that wouldn’t begin to cover it. For pete’s sake, the legal system in Mexico alone begs for shit not to mention racism, classism, etc…

    History isn’t determinate, but it sure can point out what you’re headed at.

  109. 109
    OzoneR says:

    @Cat Lady:

    I don’t understand why Dems don’t pick up the legalized pot banner and really run with it, especially in swing states.

    Here’s the thing about weed. I think 5-10 years down the line after we legalize marijuana, liberals will be looking to ban it or restrict it again, the same way they are with cigarette smoking and legalized gambling, because ultimately they will look at it as corporate America making money off people’s vices and a nuisance on society.

  110. 110
    CarolDuhart2 says:

    @OzoneR: I doubt it with weed. AFter about 40 years of illegal smoking, there have been no long-term effects that justify the war on weed like there have been with cigarettes or alcohol. And as for cigarettes and legalized gambling, adults can still drink, gamble, and smoke without being arrested, can still buy from a legal establishment than from a dealer on the street. That will remain even after a move for restrictions once weed is legalized.

  111. 111
    OzoneR says:

    @CarolDuhart2:

    And as for cigarettes and legalized gambling, adults can still drink, gamble, and smoke without being arrested, can still buy from a legal establishment than from a dealer on the street.

    Well, in NYC you can’t smoke pretty much anywhere, you can’t drink in public and you can’t gamble yet except in certain casinos and there are some liberal groups trying to prevent that from even happening.

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