Friday, March 22, 2013

Are Republicans 'Estranged From America'?

That's the opinion expressed by Andrew Kohut, the former president of the Pew Trust, a Left leaning polling center and a former president of the Gallup Organization in a WaPo editorial today.

In my decades of polling, I recall only one moment when a party had been driven as far from the center as the Republican Party has been today.

The outsize influence of hard-line elements in the party base is doing to the GOP what supporters of Gene McCarthy and George McGovern did to the Democratic Party in the late 1960s and early 1970s — radicalizing its image and standing in the way of its revitalization.

In those years, the national Democratic Party became labeled, to its detriment, as the party of “acid, abortion and amnesty.” With the Democrats’ values far to the left of the silent majority, McGovern lost in a landslide to Richard Nixon in 1972.

While there are no catchy phrases for the Republicans of 2013, their image problems are readily apparent in national polls. The GOP has come to be seen as the more extreme party, the side unwilling to compromise or negotiate seriously to tackle the economic turmoil that challenges the nation.

Yes, it's those awful Tea Party, knuckle dragging conservatives. He even throws a cute little dig in there, calling conservative opposition to President Obama 'fast and furious'. And of course, they're racist:

According to our polling, three factors stand out in the emergence of the GOP’s staunch conservative bloc: ideological resistance to President Obama’s policies, discomfort with the changing face of America and the influence of conservative media.{...}

The nation’s demographic and social shifts have also played a role in galvanizing the new bloc. Conservative Republicans are more likely (33 percent) than the public at large (22 percent) to see the growing number of Latinos in America as a change for the worse. Similarly, 46 percent of conservatives see increasing rates of interracial marriage as a positive development, compared with 66 percent of the public overall.

During Obama’s first term, ethnocentric attitudes — on immigration, equal rights and interracial dating — grew by 11 percentage points among conservative Republicans but did not increase significantly among any other political or ideological grouping. Some academic surveys found similar partisan polarization on racial measures over the course of Obama’s first term.

Race has loomed larger in voting behavior in the Obama era than at any point in the recent past. The 2010 election was the high mark of “white flight” from the Democratic Party, as National Journal’s Ron Brownstein called it — the GOP won a record 60 percent of white votes, up from 51 percent four years earlier.

To the conservative base, Obama, as an African American in the White House, may be a symbol of how America has changed. Unease with him sets conservative Republicans apart from other voting blocs — including moderate Republicans, who have hardly been fans of the president. For example, a fall 2011 national survey found 63 percent of conservative Republicans reporting that Obama made them angry, compared with 29 percent of the public overall and 40 percent of moderate Republicans.

You see, it's not President Obama's policies that upset them. It's because he's b-l-a-c-k.

And it's not illegal immigration or amnesty they're opposed to. it's, you know, Latinos, legal or not. And of course, they hate women.

That explains why Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Tim Scott, Allen West, Nikki Haley and Sarah Palin are so despised by the GOP's conservative base.

When you look at the polls referenced, it's obvious that the questions were phrased to elicit a certain desired response. Except for one..the dissatisfaction of Republicans with their own party, which is quite high. Of course, that dissatisfaction is put down to the GOP being 'out of touch'. without any qualifying language in the questions asked.

Could that just possibly be because many Republicans think the GOP establishment that controls the party is 'out of touch' , has consistently foisted RINOs on the party, mismanaged campaigns. wasted opportunities and refused to stand up for conservative principles?

Interestingly enough, what Kohut is saying if you look at it from a different standpoint (and yes, he's a Democrat) is that the Democrat party stands for metastasizing Big Government, high taxes, anti-Second Amendment legislation, high energy prices, unrestrained public employee unions, fiscal irresponsibility, abortion on demand, and amnesty for illegal aliens.

Ask those questions of the electorate directly and I guarantee you'd get a very different response.

But that's pretty much what this President, his administration and the Democrat Party's leadership stand for.

Kohut claims - well, he doesn't say it's his opinion (which would be more honest) but that the Almighty Numbers prove - that the Republican Party is unlikely to turn things around for some time if ever the way things stand.

In that, I agree with him. The GOP has not run a conservative candidate in 7 election cycles, unless you count the Bushes as conservatives. If you do (I don't) it's two out of the last five.

And if the GOP establishment retains control of the party and fields another candidate like say, Chris Christie or Jeb Bush, they'll continue to fade away.Why vote for a slightly better managed Democrat-lite when you can vote for the real thing?

But the basic principles of life, economics and politics don't change, and eventually that becomes self-evident. Everything I see around me convinces me that the party's base is ripe for revolt, either by taking over the GOP or by establishing something brand new. The American people will demand it, and so will the inevitable results of what's going on in Washington right now.It will hopefully happen electorally, but it will happen regardless.

And that's going to be a very different matter.

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