Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The best slogan for future Republican candidates? "Hopeless."

The media spends 96.3% of its time fretting about the evils of old white men, so it is no surprise they are framing Republican problems as resulting from being too white, old, and evil.
The Republicans have certainly taken the bait. Last year's Republican Convention was so conspicuously diverse I'm surprised the keynote wasn't given by an AIDS quilt. Of course, these efforts did nothing to dent the "old white men" narrative. The old white men albatross, and its impending demise, was all the press talked about.

The Republican Party IS in major trouble, and part of the problem is old white men, but not for the reasons the media is highlighting.

The OLD part is a key issue. The country is getting older, and old people demand benefits. They will vote to secure benefits more often than they'll vote to preserve social mores. The press needn't fret: those old white men are going to vote for more Social Security and Medicare, regardless if the candidate promising to secure them is vowing to put a pink car in every garage and a transgender chicken in every pot.

So where does this leave Republicans? Let's examine their traditional hobby horses:
Religion: no longer the safe sell it once was. Prayer in school, "under God;" these topics have faded from view. The new religion is diversity (TV is now controlled by diversity televangelists). Being "God's party" no longer rings the cash register.

Culture war: Like being "God's party," "defense of marriage" posturing has become more of a liability than a vote getter. Many visible Republican pundits and pretty much all prominent Republicanish CEOs - are pro-gay marriage. Young people don't care about the "sanctity of marriage." Not even young Republicans are gung-ho.

Militarism: At least for now, blind support of every crank military adventure is on hold, so the relentless push to annihilate Persians and Arabs isn't the vote getter it was a few years back. Plus Obama is happily annihilating plenty of Third Worlders, so even if demand for this empire expansion returned, Republicans would have a harder time declaring that if they aren't in office America will suffer a Third World Civilian Murder Gap.
Second Amendment: All they have left are guns. As strongly felt as gun loyalty is, gun voters aren't evenly spread throughout the nation. Gun issues are a huge loser in key spots like New England, CA, Ill, NJ, and NY. Having that block of electoral votes in your pocket pretty much sews up the presidency for you, so no matter how loud the Second Amendment boosting becomes, the votes just aren't going to be there.

Second Amendment trumpeting is difficult at the national level, so all the Republican Party can put forth is fiscal austerity. It is the most politically correct Republican hobby horse remaining. Trouble is no one really likes fiscal austerity in practice. Young people demanding student loans don't love it. People receiving Medicare and Medicaid don't invite it to Thanksgiving. And when it comes to Social Security recipients, the only part of their life they aren't nostalgic for is the time before they started receiving Social Security. The weight of these demographics (especially the elderly part) portend a continued diminishment of the Republican Party.

But because fiscal austerity is the safest play left to them, it is now all the Republicans are talking about. They're doubling down on it. What they may not realize is that by talking about nothing else, they magnify their image as stingy, Granny starvers. Doesn't matter that they never follow through on any of their promises of fiscal conservatism (notice they said they wanted to "replace" ObamaCare. So we're supposed to believe RyanCare would be a budget saver?). So at a time when fiscal austerity is particularly unpopular, they are completely draping themselves in it. Doesn't make me want to run out and buy long-dated Republican options.

If you follow mainstream news, you continue to get the impression the Republican brand still matters. The mainstream needs the fake right-left template to concoct simplistic right-left narratives. And progressives still love the idea that they're right-thinking martyrs in a country full of cavemen (remember the political "analyst" who whined that Rick Perry was going to be President?), so they have no interest in letting the "bad guys" leave the stage. None of this coverage or commentary is accurate, but then, when has the news ever been accurate?
None of this matters anyway. America is effectively a one-party system. The "conservative" side is only there because, well, it's harder to continue robbing people if you don't give them imaginary choices.

My Twitter feed still beams with hope:

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