Occasionally, Jabberwockracy will share submissions from guest contributors who want to join the conversation. Today’s contributor, Michael “Mac” Sims, is a native of Gainesville, Ga. and is a cadet at the United States Military Academy at West Point. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Army, the Defense Department or the U.S. government, nor is this writing affiliated with the above organizations or the military profession. Anyone looking to submit a letter to the editor for consideration is welcome to do so here.
I have long held the belief that the Republican Party is a dying entity destined to go the way of the Whigs or, more aptly, the anti-federalists. This seems to be the popular opinion among both liberal pundits and despondent conservative commentators. However, this opinion is often backed up with simple mudslinging and ad hominem attacks on the party that serve nothing more than to gain criticism from the theory’s detractors.
I do not believe that anyone will argue that the Republican Party will stop being a dominant force in politics, at least not in my lifetime, but I will argue that the Republican Party is finished being competitive on a national level. Specifically, the GOP will never again win a presidential election. The simple fact is that the GOP has alienated fractions of the population that together are too large to allow a presidential victory. The GOP’s exclusion, or in some cases, repression, of minority groups and unwillingness to adapt themselves to a changing socio-political landscape – not to mention their failure to cooperate with their colleagues on the other side of the aisle – have ultimately sounded the death knell of the Republican Party.
No Country for Minorities?
Whenever considering the message of any organization or person, political or otherwise, one must first consider the audience of the message. The Republican Party, with a certain air of exclusivity, targets its messages, legislation, and internal political decisions towards white upper class straight Christian males. The GOP focus on this demographic is rarely in flux.
The prioritization of this demographic is evident. The Republicans regularly try to crack down on illegal immigration on both the state and national level, thus not only pushing out the Latino vote, but pushing it into the Democratic grip. Black people, specifically urban African Americans, overwhelmingly support the Democratic candidates on every level of the electoral system; this is a fact that became especially apparent in both the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections. Furthermore, they continue to sponsor legislation that would try to restrict the vote to people that have a state or federal I.D. at the polls, a piece of legislation that primarily restricts the vote from poor minorities, further alienating them from the GOP’s cause as they stand the risk for losing their right to vote at the behest of the GOP. This fact persists in proving an issue for the GOP as the percentage of white Americans continues to decrease while the percentage of Americans who believe that the GOP is run by racists continues to increase.
The Republican Party continues to try to cut taxes for the rich, a focus that is perceived by the lower classes as an affront to their financial security as the rich get richer and the poor get poorer under an economic “trickle down” system that has proven to be a failure by all observers – at least by those who do not belong in the top 1 percent of all wage earners. The GOP continues to support the “corporations first” mentality that got us into the financial crisis, all the while sporting an attitude of corporate personhood. This attitude succeeds in funding their campaigns and PACs, but fails to win them support in the lower 75 percent of all wage earners.
Perhaps the greatest point of contention between the current generation and the notably older Republican leadership is how to address LGBT issues. The party line stance of the GOP on the issues of LGBT rights is this: “No.” There are no questions asked in this regard and no flexibility is offered. Not only does this separate the GOP from anywhere between 5 and 10 percent of American voters, depending on which statistic you trust, but it also serves to widen the already considerable gap between the GOP and the millennials who have come out in overwhelming support of LGBT rights. Every day, the amount of American youth that become eligible to vote increases, and every two years the Republicans will notice that they are receiving fewer votes due to their uncompromising stance on issues that the voters of tomorrow see as major issues today.
Lastly, the GOP’s stance on women continues to fail to evolve. In a similar fashion to the above demographics, the GOP tries to front any woman that is willing to support their cause, regardless of their qualifications to be fronted, in order to make it appear that the Republicans have a greater following among females than they actually do. Though this is the largest demographic on the list, it is important to realize that more than 55 percent of women side with parties other than the GOP. This percentage is significant as the GOP does not seem to want to garner more female support than they already have. They continue to stick to hard line positions on issues such as women’s right to chose, sexual education, sexual assault prevention, and birth control options. Ultimately, the realization that we approach when we consider these minorities is that the Republican base is rapidly shrinking and the GOP is consistently failing at bringing new groups of people in the fold.
Join or Die
A political cartoon by Benjamin Franklin that would later be adapted as the Gadsden Flag once famously proclaimed, “Join or Die.” It seems that the Republicans have adopted this as policy strategy under a banner of, “Come over to our viewpoint or pass no legislation.” Due to the Republican Party’s industrialized filibuster of non-right wing legislation, the GOP’s detractors have ordained it as “the party of no,” and that is a reputation that is quickly driving support from the GOP.
The government shutdown was the ultimate test of the GOP’s policy of “no,” and the GOP most certainly failed that test. An overwhelming number of Americans place the blame solely on the shoulders of the GOP. The American public has made their statement; doing something is always better than doing nothing. I believe that Frank Underwood said it best in the popular Netflix series House of Cards, “Treading water is the same as drowning for people like you and me.” Because of the government shutdown, the GOP will be front and center in the upcoming presidential election when the Republican candidate will be grilled over his party’s willingness to shutdown the government, its benefits, and its workers. The GOP will never recover from this massive strategic error.
The GOP’s unwillingness to compromise is far more shallow than ideological. They are taking the opposing stances from the Democrats on every major issue in order to appeal to the far-right wing of their party. The Tea Party, though initially seeming to be a boon for the GOP, is turning out to be a thorn in their sides that is costing them votes in the Congress. The GOP allowed the Tea Party to materialize, hoping that it would get hard line conservatives to the polling stations, but now all they can do is sit back and quiver at the monster they have created as they realize elected Tea Party delegates cannot be controlled by party leadership. The Republican Party has to resort to pandering to the Tea Party in order to prevent the vote from completely splitting in the Congress, an unfortunate reality for the GOP considering that the Tea Party will never consider compromise as an option.
Not with a bang but a whimper
The Republican Party will be a dominant force in American politics for some time to come in the same way that the Soviet Union was a superpower in the late ’80s and early ’90s. They have successfully alienated the majority of American voters with extremely biased positions and reduced their political capital to naught through their aggressive policy of dissension. The majority of Americans are gravitating away from the conservative viewpoint, and most of the population considers the Tea Party to be a curse cast on our political system. Though this does not spell the doom of the GOP entirely, we can be assured that the Republican Party will slowly fade into irrelevance, ensuring that never again will they hold that great singularity of American power: the presidency of the United States.