Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Demographic Shifts and the GOP: How to Appeal to the New Elites

Jonathan Martin at NRO takes a thought-provoking look at the GOP losses in Virginia and Missouri this year and wonders whether the losses indicate something more problematic for Republicans than a temporary "Democratic wave." Could it be shifting demographics? In other words, are the politics of GOP stalwarts unsupported by the new voters moving into the large metropolitan areas of these and other states? Many of the analysts (Larry Sabato, Jack Oliver) discussed in the article argue that the GOP needs to emphasize the "compassionate" side of conservatism again in order to make in-roads with these voters. I see what they are getting at, but I must disagree.

We all know that negative campaigns work best--but how about a negative campaign that focuses on ideas instead of pornographic novels or 30 year old racist comments for a change? How about instead of coming off as defensive and qualifying what we are as "compassionate" (as if we should have to do that) we simply demonstrate how utterly lacking in compassion most liberal/Democratic policy ideas actually are? Why not make them defend their ideas by pointing out the damage they have always inflicted when tried? Why not insist that they distinguish themselves as "smart" liberals?

In any event, the article is worth a read and serious consideration. Demographics do shift and a political party ignores these things at its peril.

Discussions - 19 Comments

I think the biggest problem for conservatism is its alignment with the anti-science movement. Being against evolution and stem cells particularly hurts; but even the anti-choice and anti-gay positions alienate key voter blocks that will be essential to political success over the longer term (as opposed to the religious traditionalists, who are blissfully on the decline). In particular, when push came to shove conservatives dumped innovative policy proposals like Social Security reform and pushed hard for the backwards Federal Marriage Amendment. Perhaps if conservatism looked something more like Milton Friedman (RIP), Ronald Coase, Richard Posner, Frank Easterbrook, Anthony Kennedy, et al (sorry about the bias towards economists and lawyers, but family first), it would have more respect among educated urban professionals and younger adults. Otherwise, conservatism may become a parochial ideology remembered only for obstructing social progress rather than proposing serious ideas for government in contemporary society.

Daniel -- Why don’t you stop lecturing us? Maybe the "educated urban professionals and younger adults" are the ignoramuses, despite all appearances, and the theists and Wal-Mart shoppers know more than you think. Have you ever considered that possibility, or are you too bloody arrogant?

Irony died some time back, Mr. Frisk. No need to keep stabbing it by calling Daniel arrogant.

What Daniel means is that conservatives should become libertarians...ugh. As I’ve said lo these many moons, it is possible to be pro-science, pro-evolution, and yet staunchly conservative. But no party in its right mind would cast away millions of religious voters to gain a few purple-staters on the margins. It just isn’t logical to do that. Better is to play to your strengths -- defense, fiscal responsibility (once upon a time, at least), immigration, and so forth. Republicans simply need to become conservative again.

Oh, and if we are worried about demography, how about this one: control the stupid borders, and regulate immigration.

Dain is correct. The problem is that Northern Virginia is no longer Virginia. It is inhabited by a lot of immigrants from up the East Coast and otherwise, as well as immigrants from outside the US. The fact that the demographic dissolution brought about by mass immigration could spell the end of the GOP and conservatism on a national level is clear. Why the GOP Establishment and punditry doesn’t acknowledge this is beyond me. The solution is to get a hold of the immigration crisis. (Build a fence, deport illegals, and place a moratorium on new immigration) Instead we are told we need to make nice to immigrants, so we won’t alienate them. The GOP is operating in fantasy land here, and is clearly out of touch with its base.

The one good thing that might come out of this Republican tone deafness is that if they pass amnesty or nominate a pro-amnesty candidate, they may precipitate the much needed divorce of conservatives from the GOP.

Gilchrist may run for the Constitution Party nomination. Dobbs may run for the Reform Party nomination. Hopefully Tancredo will run for the GOP nod. (Tancredo is not the perfect paleo candidate because he is pro-War, but demographic dissolution is such an incredibly important issue I’m willing to compromise a bit. If we don’t get a handle on dissolution, all else will be a moot point.)

What does the defeat of J.D. Hayworth and Randy Graf in Arizona--both of whom based their campaigns heavily on anti-immigration sentiment--suggest about the likely success of such a strategy? As Michael Barone put it, "If nativism can’t work on the Arizona border...where can it work?"

Honestly, I’m not looking for a fight here. I’m generally pro-immigration, but I assumed that calls for crackdowns on illegals would be more popular than seems to be the case. How do you account for this?

Hayworth had an opponent who was extremely tough on immigration also. So the immigration issue was moot. Exit pooling shows the same as everywhere else, the War was the issue. I don’t know about Graf. Not as familiar with his race.

Plus I don’t think the Hayworth race has officially been called yet. There were still a lot of early ballots to be counted last I heard. (A few days ago now.)

If he was defeated partially because of immigration, doesn’t that make my point that dissolution spells the end of the GOP? How many of the votes against him were cast by illegals or recent immigrants? We know illegal votes put Loretta Sanchez over Bob Dornan several years ago.

If he was defeated partially because of immigration, doesn’t that make my point that dissolution spells the end of the GOP? How many of the votes against him were cast by illegals or recent immigrants? We know illegal votes put Loretta Sanchez over Bob Dornan several years ago.

Sure it does. The problem is what can be done about it. If the American people aren’t willing to elect candidates who promise to get tough on illegals, then that doesn’t leave us with many options--except to try to win over the illegals.

"then that doesn’t leave us with many options--except to try to win over the illegals."

That isn’t going to happen without totally selling out conservative principles. Do you believe ethno-cultural dissolution is a problem or will it all be just fine and dandy as long as when they get here they accept the "Proposition?"

But, Red, if I’ve understood your previous comments correctly, you think true conservatism was sold out a long time ago. I mean, we can probably agree that the minimum wage is bad policy, but who’s going to propose something that’s obviously a losing issue politically? What makes illegal immigration any different?

I don’t know? Why is Bush proposing workers? All the polls show that it is a serious loser, and it infuriates his base. It is like Bush sticking with the port deal until the bitter end. The guy and his administration are either completely tone deaf or on the take.

"Speaking to reporters, Sen. Martinez said, "I think we have to understand that the election did speak to one issue, and that was that--it’s not about
bashing people, it’s about presenting a hopeful face... Border security only, enforcement only, harshness only is not the message that I believe America wants to convey."

Good Lord. It is over.

Buchanan’s column today is very good. He shows why the post election spin that a hardline stand on immigration hurt the GOP is false.

Well, it’s pretty clear that some major money-people deeply desire unregulated immigration. When both parties routinely downplay the need for border security, even after 3K of our citizens have been incinerated, you just know that something is rotten in Denmark. Until the people speak (and I mean really speak, in the form of a 3rd Party), we can just look forward to importing most of Mexico’s problems.

Actually, I was far more "free market" oriented in the past...and then I noticed that most of these companies don’t have a patriotic bone in their (CEOs’) bodies. Increasingly, I’m forced to see international capitalism as a part of the problem, not the solution. Our lives, our culture, our political heritage...these are all just "factors of production" for the multinationals. This certainly isn’t "my father’s" capitalism.

Dain, I don’t think the issue with border security is really about 9/11, or at least not predominately. Nor is it really about legality or illegality. People cite those issues because the real issue is so sensitive. The real issue is ethno-cultural dissolution. Even most restrictionist won’t say it. But weak arguments yield weak results. We need someone with the courage to sound the alarm.

I agree, but what are you going to do? Even conservatives have been brainwashed by the public education system: Concern for ethno-cultural viability = racism. And I guess it does if racial hatred isn’t a requirement for "racism." This kind of multicultural "double-think" leaves us ideologically and politically naked in a world where most populations frankly endorse ethno-cultural self-concern. They play for keeps...we grovel and hamstring ourselves.

The Jew is using the black as muscle against you. And you are left there helpless. Well, what are you going to do about it, whitey?

Anyone got waders? I got trolljuice right up to my

"Concern for ethno-cultural viability = racism. And I guess it does if racial hatred isn’t a requirement for "racism.""

The saddest part is that that lie has not only been propagated by lefties but also by their water carriers on the so-called right. Sad. Very sad.

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