After last week’s election, many political pundits said that the Republicans had to go through a “rebuild” in order to succeed in 2014 and the years to follow. They have to realize that people that don’t look like them and don’t exactly speak the same language that they do also vote in Florida. Even with this fact staring them straight in the face, there doesn’t seem to be any chance of them deviating from their current course.
Many rational Republicans understand that this demographic shift happened, especially in Florida. But the irrational ones will continue to tout the Tea Party line and will do what they can to alienate the voters.
After the election, I had a lot of people tell me that the Republicans have to change. My answer to them is that it won’t happen. When asked, I say “Republicans will now advocate building a 50-foot wall around Mexico instead of a 20-foot wall”. Republicans don’t want to feel accepted, but they do want to feel like they are in danger.
In recent years, the small little quote “before it is too late” starting creeping into the American political discussion after the election of President Obama. The only other time that I can recall this quote being used with prominence was in George Wallace’s elections for Alabama governor in the early 1960s and the Chicago mayoral race of 1983, where Republican Bernard Epton used this quote to court white Democrats against Harold Washington. In both cases, the tactic was highly successful. Wallace continued to win election after election while Bernard Epton had the closest partisan race in Chicago since Anton Cermak (who was, coincidentally to this blog, assassinated in Miami).
Republicans see the Hispanics and African-Americans as a threat, not as groups they are trying to include. In order for the GOP to accept these groups, they must have an electorate that will accept these groups as well. Of course, the GOP electorate doesn’t accept them. In fact, the weaker that the Republicans get, the more fight they have in trying to create a racial cleavage in this country. They remind me of a rabid dog trapped in a corner…they will try to fight their way out. This group will, as they say “not surrender”, and will continue on their course of destruction.
This isn’t something that should be a surprise. When my co-editor Kartik Krishnaiyer texted me last night saying that Sean Hannity was going off on how the Obama campaign was conducting voter fraud, that was just the icing on the cake. Still, Hannity expresses the exact point that I make in regards to why the Republicans won’t change. Instead of President Obama legitimately winning the election, Republicans have to turn to this “there must be voter fraud” tactic in order to justify why they lost. They just can’t accept the fact that over 3 million more people thought that President Obama was a better choice than Mitt Romney.
The same thing happened with Bill Clinton in 1992. The Republicans want everyone to think that Clinton won because Ross Perot split the vote. The only poll of Perot voters conducted after the election was conducted by Aetna, with a sample size of 1200. They asked “If Ross Perot had not been on the ballot today, would you have voted for Bill Clinton or for George Bush?” The results were:
Bill Clinton 36%,
George Bush 36%
would not have voted 16%
don’t know 9%
Another classical Republican “fact” (along with the “Daleys stole the election for JFK” one) is proven to be a myth yet again.
The Republican Party runs on emotion, not actual facts or analysis. Instead of looking at the problem, they fabricate some other problem as their justification for losing the election. Therefore, it is easier to tout voter fraud and “the polls that say what I like are wrong” is easier than examining why they lost. It is also much easier than accepting groups of people that they do not want to accept.
The Republicans don’t have a Hispanic problem. The Republicans don’t have a “woman” problem. The Republicans have a reality problem. This is apparent in both their legislation as well as their outlook on elections. There is a reason why Mitt Romney only had a victory speech, because he lacked the understanding that he would lose.
One place where this lack of reality is really striking was during the presidential debates. When Obama lost the first debate, Democrats said he did a poor job and purely lost the debate. When Romney lost the next two debates, Republicans never said it was because he performed bad. Instead, it was a myriad of conspiracy theories of why Romney lost the debate.
Another instance of the Republicans dealing with the lack or reality is the Scarborough vs. Axelrod challenge. For some reason, Joe Scarborough thought that Republicans would win Minnesota, Michigan and Pennsylvania. These are states that haven’t voted for a Republican since 1988 and, in the case of Minnesota, 1972. Common sense and an understanding of electoral history should have told Scarborough that he was going to lose that bet. I guess this is why Morning Joe is considered early morning comedy instead of actual, factual “news”.
The only way that the Republican Party will reform itself is when it gets out from behind this grand illusion of conspiracy theories and justifications for their own poor judgement.
As a Democrat, I am split on this. On one hand, I feel that the road that the Republicans are marching down will lead to the demise of their own party as well as bringing huge progressive change to the United States. On the other hand, I do miss the days of debating actual issues. I remember when I was with the Central Florida Young Democrats in 1992 debating Tom Feeney during a YD-YR softball game about taxes. Nowadays, I have to convince people that President Obama was born in the United States. The political debate in this country has not just become more hateful, but has just gone to crap.
I feel that the Republicans will continue down the path that they have now chosen because they don’t know any better. As long as they drink their own Kool-Aid, they will never understand that a majority of the people just don’t like their rhetoric and politics.
4 thoughts on “Trotter’s Commentary: Republicans have a “reality” problem.”
Cermak was killed in an attempted assassination of FDR in Miami.
On another subject the GOP has created its own echo chamber. Constant discussion of topics like Solyndra, Fast and Furious, Bengazhi, etc on Fox News gave partisans the sense that the Obama Administration to most scandal free since the 1950s was scandal plagued. They also felt they were winning every poll because Republican leaning pollsters like Rasmussen and now Gallup (whose political polling business has long taken a backseat to their business services) were being cited while right-wing pundits would come on and proclaim these polls indicated a landslide came.
As Dave and Nate Silver projected an Electoral College 332-206 and Obama won the national popular vote by close to 3% (even with 750k votes in NJ/NY not showing at the polls in Sandy’s aftermath) the result wasn’t a big shock. But those on FOX and those who watch FOX, read Newsmax, the Weekly Standard and hit the Daily Caller and Town Hall websites the result was a shock.
I agree with your overall premise that the preponderance of the GOP does not wish to address the reality of today’s America. I would add that the overriding reasons for this intransigence are the unshakable ties the base has to the “right to life” and “anti-gay rights/marriage” social issues. Secondly the rank and file base holds an underlying believe…..”if you’re not white you’re really NOT an American”!
The party will however pay lip service by parading right-wing Hispanic/minority candidates like Marco Rubio, Bobby Jendal and Niki Haley as examples of their “new openness”, but their message will still be the same. They very likely will support some watered down form of immigration reform. But never, never will they agree to a pathway to citizenship as the tea party Republicans fundamentally believe undocumented immigrants have stolen jobs from “real” Americans!
Hopefully, as long as hate, bigotry, fear and irrationality dominate the GOP their successes will be limited to smaller and smaller sections of this country and they will continue to fail as a national party.
There is still no proof that Cermak wasn’t his intended target, so I am sticking with my story! 🙂
The R party is between a rock and a hard place. Each of the legs of their ‘platform’ (e.g., abortion, taxes, immigration) is an absolute ‘must have’ position for one of their constituent groups. Thus, they cannot change positions without losing voters. However, each of these positions also alienates a large portion of the electorate (perhaps larger than their constituency). Michael Steele was on Washington Journal the other day, decrying this problem. He observed that the R party has become unwelcoming for most of the electorate, a ‘small tent’ party. If it weren’t for gerrymandered districts, they would have lost the House (total votes for D House candidates were greater than votes for R House candidates). I definitely agree with you that we need to somehow get back the R party of old the ‘party of good ideas’, so at least we can debate and find solutions. Intransigence and multiple bills re: abortion and Obamacare are not intended to improve the country, merely to pander to the base
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