Identity Crisis: Where Does the Grand OLD Party Go From Here?

The real elephant in the room.

Original Intent

Senator John C. Fremont

In 1856, the new Republican Party fielded its first Presidential candidate in Senator John C. Fremont of California. Fremont would go on to lose to Democratic nominee James Buchanan as we all learned from our American history classes. However, that election was a wake up call that allowed the Republicans to eventually capture the White House four years later on the back of a former Illinois Congressman who had not too long ago lost a race for the United States Senate. That man was Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln’s Republican Party was the one that pushed for the expansion of rights for all Americans. It was a party that recognized the times and had such men who were willing to answer the generational calls to end slavery and perfect our Union that much more.

 

President Abraham Lincoln

Over time, as the century turned and big business infiltrated, the party began to become less recognizable in the way that the original Republicans were viewed. (Not saying that the Democrats were much better at this time either because they weren’t). They began to take a pledge more to the status quo and the common man somehow got lost in that mix. Now, this is not an attack on the the GOP fully, because there were fighters such as Teddy Roosevelt who used the Presidency to show that the party still could be a force for the common man (Even if his imperialistic, jingoist foreign policy was a stain on his administration). The great Depression offered a shift with President Hoover and the Republican Party showed they did not understand the issues of the time by attempting to use archaic methods to solve new aged problems. This led to the rise of a New Democratic Party led by Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his New Dealers. With this move, the Republican Party lost a generation of voters by simply not understanding and alienating their electorate, especially with nominees such as Barry Goldwater in 1964 whose extreme conservatism is in a way an antecedent to today’s GOP.

However, the GOP did have it’s star in ole’ Ron Reagan the movie star turned politician, who breathed much needed life into a dying party in the wake of Watergate and its aftermath. His “new conservatism” principles of low taxes for the rich, and small government bore a generation of Republicans who still laud him to this day as some manger-born Galilean, cross bearing figure (Democrats do the same for William J. Clinton in my humble opinion). Reagan is the father of this modern Republican Party, BUT there is a major difference. Reagan and the Republicans of his era – while perhaps not always understanding the broader world in which we were living – understood the necessity of compromise, which has been a major reason why people seemingly genuflect before his image and name. Reagan worked with Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill (a Massachusetts Democrat)  to get things done and showmanship was rarely a thing of the era. That all changed in the Fall of ‘94.

The Republicans were able to recapture the House of Representatives in the 1994 midterm elections–a chamber of Congress they had not controlled since 1946. But, even during the mid to late 1990s we still see the art of compromise from the Clinton White House and Congressional Republicans with issues such as “The Defense of Marriage” (DOMA) and Welfare Reform. However, we can see the seeds of extremism being planted during this time. The powder keg exploded during the George W. Bush administration and has spilled over into Mr. Obama’s nation.

The Grand OLD Party

The Republican Party has expressed extreme difficulty accepting the legitimacy of an Obama presidency even though he has won by resounding victories in both 2008 and 2012. They’ve challenged him as too passive. They’ve challenged his American birthright, disrespecting not only the man but the institution as well by calling for a birth certificate to be released. Now, not all Republicans took such a hard line approach but those who didn’t speak surely kept quiet and did not unequivocally deny such actions as farce and abecedarian. Furthermore, this party is shifting further and further to the right, while the country is not moving in that direction. The Republican Party is 90% white and male. With that demographic, they will not survive in their current form for very much longer.  They can invoke the name of Abraham Lincoln despite the fact that they have become a party that has shown charity toward few and malice toward all.

They are a party that has basically taken up left over Democratic Party planks and tried to apply them to a rapidly changing nation. One that is more accepting, more inclusive, and more tolerant of others. Yet, they advocate a regression of rights on many social issues and reject the idea that those with the most among us can be patriotic when it comes to supporting our troops but not when it comes to supporting our economy. The Republicans seem to have one economic policy and that is: cut taxes for the richest among us; cut taxes for corporations and big businesses; eliminate as many taxes as they can; end government control of many public problems and hope that the private sector shows an altruistic hand; deregulate industries; and slash union rights. This Republican Party is NOT built to last. They are drinking cyanide and dying a slow death.

The 2012 election should serve as a wake up call for all elephants in the room. Republicans lost just about every major minority group in this past national election: African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans, etc. While they did maintain control of the House of Representatives, that is not much of a surprise, considering the high reelection rate for incumbents. However, there are two major observations we should pay close attention to: 1) the Democrats had a net gain of five (5) seats in the United States Senate, when all pundits predicted them to have a net loss of about four (4) and 2) the incoming Democratic caucus is historical in the sense that it will be the most diverse group of Democratic congressman/women ever assembled in United States history. 51% are women and minorities.

The age where white men dominate the Democratic Party has come to a close. It is my opinion that had Mitt Romney won the election, it would have done much more harm for the party than good. It would have affirmed that their current way of thinking is the way to go. They have literally become the Grand OLD Party in ideas and the country said in a loud and clear voice that “we reject these views and tactics.” Now it is time for a makeover. The GOP has to reject the extremist, the panderers and tea partiers who do more harm than good to the party of Abraham Lincoln. Will they let men like Marco Rubio be the face of a new Republican Party or will they continue to reject good Republicans like Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, while allowing men like Allen West and Scott Brown to dictate the future of the party? The old guard and status quo must be rejected if a new wave is to sweep upon the shores of the GOP beach. I think it can be done and it would be great for this country to have productive debate amongst its parties. But, as of this moment, the Democrats have essentially sealed the deal for a few election cycles if they continue to grow their “rainbow electorate.”

SBM Family–do you believe that the GOP can survive this dark period and emerge as a major powerhouse again or has their fate been sealed with this constant exclusion of major parts of the electorate?

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  • Young Heaux

    I agree with you that Mitt Romney's losing was actually better for the GOP (and the country), and that a win would've reaffirmed some of the intolerant and negative ideologies and tactics they've used thus far. I hope white conservative republicans everywhere learn from this. It doesn't have to get nasty; it doesn't have to be blue vs red and black vs white. All the vitriol thrown at minorities and other underrepresented groups is not necessary, or productive for their party. If they stopped pandering to their extreme (and unhealthily angry) base, and looked outward, they could probably gain a lot more supporters from across the spectrum.

    I'm not partial to the Democratic party. But for me, as a black person from the working class, it is truly a one party system out here. I have no other choice but to vote Dem even though I couldn't care less about many of their policies. To any GOP advocates reading: I am more right on fiscal matters but you have seriously alienated me and my community and that's why I can't f*** with y'all.

  • JDisKang

    Black folks do need a better choice than to be taken for granted (Dems) or ignored (Rep). And a stronger GOP will definitely strengthen whatever political pull blacks have (I'm not 100% against Rep pandering to Blacks. look at how they are pandering to Hispanics. it's corny but it could be useful)

    I had a hard time voting for Barack this go round because of the abysmal state of the Black community (whatever he is doing is hitting us hard- LOOK at those unemployment numbers).

    Whenever i engage (Black) Conservatives on Twitter they always shake their head at ME. Pointing to the HISTORY of the Rep party (which you did a great job outlining). The party of Lincoln. The party that stood by Blacks during the civil rights era (atleast that's what they tell me… on twitter). The party that believes in family (fathers in the home) and educating our children (though they tell me affirmative action has run it's course… the performance of AA proves they aren't ready for ivy league schools and the like… right). And the party that believes in Jesus and living (and governing) in a Christ like manner. WHY WOULDN'T ALLLL BLACKS BE REPUBLICANS.

    But, again, as you point out. Republicans used to be a party that recognized the times they were in and governed accordingly. This is OBVIOUSLY not the case anymore, and the extremist need to be shown the door.

    I hope Ricky Rubio is as great as everyone is praying he is… i don't see anyone else that could be the face of the republican party man.

    Or maybe white people are holding on to "their" county and we're just wasting our time hoping they will change.

  • Peter Parker

    No they can not and will not survive until they realized they must be able to connect to minorities and other groups (gays, indep., and etc.) in the United States. As it clearly was displayed in this election, the country is changing and the good ole boy party needs to recognize this change. The days of relying on the white male vote is simply over.

  • http://biggerthomas.wordpress.com/ madscientist7

    its amazing how far the republican party has strayed from the ideals they once had. i know that agendas will naturally change over time but this is a complete 180. i'm looking forward to seeing exactly what changes they will make in the upcoming election and going forth.

  • http://singleblackmale.org/author/wisdomismisery WisdomIsMisery

    I'm not sure how I feel about waving the white flag on the GOP just, yet. This happens every few election cycles, usually involving the GOP. They get voted out, resoundingly, and everyone is quick to label them the "dead" party and there's "no coming back from this" but like the Party of Herpes, yet again they rise.

    I'm going to wait on the sidelines for a few election cycles before I believe the GOP is truly over and done. I'm not positive this is the election cycle that declares the GOP irrelevant. Because they are a political party – and this is politics – I'm sure they'll stick stubbornly by a few of their least popular policies, lose for awhile, make yet another 180 – as parties who want to survive always do – and will likely surge back to relevancy. The funny part is the most unpopular parts of their platform isnt necessarily policy based – although you have those who agree and disagree with it – it's the social issues that killed them this time around. Let's keep in mind that if they hadn't attacked minorities and women so vehemently this election cycle they might have won not only control of the House but the White House, too.

    Politics is about saying what it takes to get in power then doing whatever it takes to stay there. I'm fairly certain if the GOP loses their power long enough, they'll do whatever it takes to get back. I can't see them sitting on the sidelines in perpetuity satisfied with only moral victories.

    • starita34

      "Let's keep in mind that if they hadn't attacked minorities and women so vehemently this election cycle they might have won not only control of the House but the White House, too. "

      But this though!

  • Uncle Hugh, BP

    SBM Family–do you believe that the GOP can survive this dark period and emerge as a major powerhouse again…?

    No, because they haven't shown they are willing to address the major issues with their party. They should realize something is amiss when most blacks over the age of 40 are conservative, but wouldn't vote Republican at gunpoint. As someone who is right-of-center on the ideological spectrum (libertarian, not Republican), I can offer their dying party some suggestions.

    1. Directly deal with racism: As the joke on The Simpsons stated about Fox News, "not racist, but #1 with racists". When Republicans make racist remarks, they have to be soundly condemned by other Republicans.

    2. Explain your policies: Most Republican policies disproportionally affect minorities and the poor. If you don't want to be seen as racist or engaging in class warfare, you better explain why you advocate the policies you do.
    (1/2)

    • Uncle Hugh, BP

      (2/2)

      3. Stop partial policies: For example, the free market works great, but you can't only advocate parts of free market policy that works for you and reject the parts that don't. You want to get rid of minimum wage and unions, and reward the job creators? Cool. But you also better stop off-shoring jobs, stop making special exemptions for the wealthy, don't ask for government bailouts when your business fails, and be soundly against lobbies for big businesses that are skewing laws in their favor.

      4. Get some convictions: For example, Republicans pin all the blame of the economy on Obama. That assertion is easily dismissed with one fact: the recession began before Obama was inaugurated. Republicans have no qualms about spending. Romney wasn't going to do anything about spending (he wanted to expand defense spending), and Ryan voted for most of the spending Obama supported. Get some convictions and stop supporting anything the GOP wants to do, simply because they have an R after their name.

      • Slim Jackson

        This is a really dope comment. Thanks for this one. I feel like I learned some stuff in the process.
        My recent post slimjackson: If you're looking for work and haven't checked out my career site, you should. Some useful info there. <a href="http://t.co/SUeQuO4j” target=”_blank”>http://t.co/SUeQuO4j

      • BlueSteele

        Love this. I'd like to add two more:

        1) Understand that running a nation and running a business are not one in the same. While business acumen is helpful in understanding fiscal policy (and seems to be a good talking point), it does not automatically qualify one ideal to manage the complexities involved with running a municipality, much less a country.

        2) Realize that the nation needs a balance between fiscal AND social responsibility. The Big Bird memes were highly entertaining, but the more serious side of that response was an understanding that efficient social programs benefit everyone, not just the "47%".

  • http://stanoffewwords.wordpress.com Tristan.

    As I said last week the GOP has no leaders, people see the republican party they see big businesses and puppets. No one in the party I've seen have really shown otherwise. McCain, Romney, even Scott Brown in Massachusetts all tried to brand themselves as moderates and stay as far away from the Republican party as possible, hell they are afraid to even utter Bush's name like its Voldemort. Candidates continue to run on that that's them thats not me platform, they fool some districts (IE House majority) but they will continue to lose the big races and even worst the Republican Party's tradition will continue to suffer
    My recent post Today’s Word is… ASTROLOGY

    • starita34

      They didn't give us leaders this race because they have some young leaders on the cusp for next election that they didn't want to thrust in the spotlight too early. Don't understestimate the GOP. Marco Rubio and Bobby Jindal are chompin at the bit for 2016.

      People also look at the GOP and see $$$ which is real appealing to broke folks who think that money fixes thangs and affluent folks that wanna keep their money. Recessions are fun for no one and although the recession isn't the fault of our President or Dems in my opinion, folks get real itchy for change after 8 years of the same…

      • Larry

        "They didn't give us leaders this race because…"

        Who is this "us" you're speaking of specifically, lol. The GOP…or the American people in general?

        Don't know much about Jindal, but based on everyone's opinion of him I know from Louisiana he doesn't have much of a shot in 2016 (for Presidential nomination at least).

        • starita34

          "us" = the voters, yes, the American people

          And give Jindal a few years with the President makers and let's talk in 2016. Like I said, they're green now and that's why they're saving them up for 2016.

        • Uncle Hugh, BP

          Which is why I'm surprised the GOP offered up Paul Ryan. Not that I'm particularly impressed with him (I'm a Wisconsinite and have been dealing with him for over a decade), but he would be better groomed as a presidential nominee in another four or eight years that thrusting him into a VP role right now.

  • The Suburban Thug

    I'd venture to say that GOP shift happened even before Reagan and Goldwater. A generation or two ago, most of what we now envision the GOP as, were Democrats. The rise of the Dixiecrats was arguably the preceding event for the GOP as we know it today. The naming of the group as Dixiecrats gives an idea of where they began; the Southeast U.S. Now, looking at roughly where most of the new GOP is based, would look much like the Dixiecrat base. The thinking may shift again, but it's going to take a radical amount of party introspection to make it happen.

    • Diana

      Exactly. I just read an article that said, "the party of Lincoln is now the party of Lincoln's assassins." And that's a problem. It's not just the party's politics or policies, but also the people in the party.
      My recent post A (Com)Passionate People

  • m.elias

    MItt may not have been good for the GOP but it was good for America.
    The GOP has become a party of middle aged/old white men who have been entitled too long.
    They think nothing of others, only themselves and the dollars of their donors.
    Blatant racist comments repeatedly thru put the election cycle.. asking for one's vote, after spitting in their face is not a good thing when your electorate is increasingly blk, brown, yellow and red…..
    Legitmate rape? is ther such a thing as illegimate rape?
    The lack of understanding of the powers of a woman's reproduction system.
    Pregnancy via rape as a gift from God?!
    Abortion.. and how it related to the former 3 issues mentioned.. dont even get me started…

    Add to this picking the most with such a weak, cowardly candidate who lacked convictions.
    ex1. He ran off to le sud de France rather than fight in NAM but was insinuating war with IRAN?!
    ex2. "i dont know what i said but what ever i said I stand by it".. what they hell is that?
    ex3. the job of a vulture capitalist is to buy companies and sell off its divisions for profit to companies to others seeing as the company is worth more busted up than it is as a unit.. and one does it solely for profit.. a nice percentage of the sale…. and exactly how would he improve american jobs status?

    ex4. over half his fortune in switzerland an cayman islands. there is only one reason why one keeps money there…like the rest of the obscenely wealthy how did he think that would improve american finances? he may love america but his money loves, and prospers in the switzerland and the islands.

    His compassion only lie for those with 8-9 figure problems such as dressage competitions.
    What was his idea of middle class.. 200-250K after taxes.. what is that 410-420 K after taxes assuming no deductions?!? and they dont matter anyway because they are not high 6-9 figure kind

    i could go on but i digress. the republican party basically tuned out america who now chooses to tune them out.

    • Young Heaux

      PREACH

  • Larry

    " While they did maintain control of the House of Representatives, that is not much of a surprise, considering the high reelection rate for incumbents…"

    Due to gerrymadering by republicans in quite a few congressional districts they were able to hold on to the House. If those same district lines were not redrawn then it appears that the Dems would once again control both chambers of congress.

    Now, to be fair Democrats used the same tactics in Illinois redrawing some districts, but that state also went blue in the presidency and the Senate.

  • Beef Bacon

    I think politics as a whole will be different going forward. Most people are tired of the straight b.s. I don't know which is worse, listening to the half truths and lies of omission from the republicans or them actually believing what they tell the world. In an effort to win, the GOP fail to admit REALITY. The reality of how we got here. If they fail to even acknowledge that, how can we trust them to truly change it?

    More people are beginning to SEE what is truly going on. Winners deal with truth and it is obvious some people would rather fester in hate rather then see the bigger picture of All or None. What is most insulting is the outright intent on deceiving the People. Like dude, I KNOW THE TRUTH!

  • http://www.aworknprogress.com Diana

    Can the GOP survive in national elections? As it is currently operating? Doubtful. Maybe in the statehouses of Montana and Alabama, but in this changing landscape – they will have to change or get left. All puns intended. Even in the "red states" like Texas, the big cities went blue. As a generation with these ideals dies out, they'll be at a disadvantage – just numbers wise. They can not win on a 'white male vote' strategy anymore. So they need to begin to genuinely address issues and make inroads into communities that they dismiss and explain why their policies are right for them.

    I recently read an article that said Republicans should just leave all social issues alone and let the Democrats handle that – and focus on what makes them stand out – economy, national security, etc. If they present clear differences on those issues, it will make people reevaluate them as a party. But right now they're looking real cray, cray. I don't think people went to the polls just to vote for Obama (as the excitement we saw in '08) but to specifically vote against the Republicans with their obvious voter suppression tactics, trying to turn back the hands of time on reproductive rights, blocking marriage equality, doing the most to protect corporations and the wealthy and on.

    We barely have a two party system right now (we need more voices!) so I would never want the GOP to die completely. I do want them to regroup and get their ish together though and provide the American people with a sound alternative.
    My recent post A (Com)Passionate People

  • starita34

    Anyone see this? http://bit.ly/PWRvmC I posted it on my Twitter (I thought – but I just looked for the link there and couldn't find it??). Pretty telling. But c'mon, neither party will disappear. GOP will "rebrand" and the American people will grow tired of paying for social services after 8 years under a Dem president and as always we'll oscilate between the right and the left until eternity.

    The only change comes in what "the right" and "the left" stand for, as pointed out in this post. In 1860, the GOP was the party of civil rights and equality – for as much as that meant at the time…

    • http://singleblackmale.org/author/wisdomismisery WisdomIsMisery

      +1

    • paulb31

      Exactly. The Republican Party of now isn't the same one as basically 150 years ago. They are simply the Democrats and States Rights party with different make up on.

    • Larry

      Correct. Back in the day when the Republican party first started (1850ish) they stood for (are you sitting down for this?) big Federal Government to protect the people, anti-state's rights, pro-tariffs, anti-free trade and anti-slavery. Crazy right?

      Conversely, Democrats believed in "State's Rights," small Federal Government, free trade, and they were strongly concentrated in the South, weak in the Northeast, and referred to the Northeasterners as "elites." Sound familiar to anyone? Lol!

      If there's anything constant about life it's change.

      • BlueSteele

        A lot of people don't realize that! +1 your entire comment.

  • InsomniaPoet

    I think the GOP are just at a low point right now. Let the Dems eff something up to piss people off in the next 4yrs and they can easily be found right back on top. Political power in this country swings like a pendulum and right now it is in the Dems favor but stick around long enough and it will swing back the other way. Let this country not see any substantial change in the next 4yrs and let the GOP have a candidate who can actually keep his foot out of his mouth bet they will be right back on top.

  • CHEEKZ MONEY

    Not one person mentions Chris Christie. Fat boy gets it done. A republican that can carry NJ and potentially win Penn. Flips the whole map around.

    Two things, one he is really fat. Two the things that will help him in the general election will kill him during the Primaries. He worked really well with Obama during Hurricane Sandy and he is social progressive to an extent. Still he financial prowess should please the tea party enough to back him.

  • BlueSteele

    SBM Family–do you believe that the GOP can survive this dark period and emerge as a major powerhouse again or has their fate been sealed with this constant exclusion of major parts of the electorate?

    I think the GOP will survive out of sheer necessity, but only after making some significant changes. A single-party system cannot sustain America IMO (couldn't you just see the "Obama ushers in socialism" headlines, smh). I think the GOP will soon reach a point where many in their party tire of the extremism and take control of the tea partiers/far-right nut cases. Many will likely fall off, while others will likely reach further left. What remains would be an overall more moderate party.

    It almost reminds me of corporations who came to their senses and realized that they needed more diverse work environments after years of ignoring the writings on the wall.

  • Timothy

    When the Republican party stops making enemies out all of those that it really wants to join the party and when BLACK PEOPLE can make a case for themselves that thier vote does matter, and they should stop giving it away to the democrats blindly and make it known that we are a viable force that needs reckoning, we will continue to get nothing, who has made welfare more prevailent in the inner city and some of our communities, who says that you should not work and still get paid, which bunch of fools is responsible for declining school standards. Take all of that into consideration, make them pay attention to you as we help those that come behind us to grow, step up and excel.
    Pay ATTENTION, when we start working together and doing for ourselves, when we withhold our votes for meaningful change, when we talk to each other with kind words, and firm ones when necessary, when we respect our selves, our parents, our women and our children, when we read to determine that party. I like the republican party, I like black people, I think that the two entities have moved to an arena of benign neglect