It is my professional opinion, as a typer of words for little pay and longtime citizen of these United States, that the GOP as we know it will soon, within my lifetime, be a thing of the past.
BEFORE YOU START TELLING ME I’M WRONG, let’s focus on the words “as we know it.”
I’m not suggesting that the Republican Party will disappear, nor that a third party will rise to threaten it. No apocalypse, no Zombie Lincoln coming back to regain the brand.
I’m merely suggesting that the GOP that very clearly has little-to-no time for gay people, black people, Latino people, Asian people, not-rich people, not-Christian people, or women people, will, within a generation, have to find a new way to keep big business afloat.
The American people.
First of all, fewer than two-thirds of Americans are non-Latino whites. At a certain point, the percentage of the nearly-40% of Americans who are not-Caucasian who get fed up hearing that they don’t know how to work, speak the language of the ghetto, and/or are threatening our economy will reach a tipping point, and the GOP-as-we-know-it will not be able to get them back.
Second of all, the issues on which the GOP-as-we-know-it is campaigning have simply stopped resonating with most Americans. A wee sampling:
Gay marriage is evil/unnatural/will ruin America: Really GOP? ‘Cause 53% of America disagrees with you. Perhaps more to the point, 70% of Americans aged 18-34 disagree – and according Gallup, that number is up from 54% the previous year. Sixteen points in one year!
Birth control is evil/unnatural/will ruin America: I have to admit, I didn’t see this one coming. Abortion? Sure. But suggesting that there’s something wrong with controlling our fertility even if we’re adults, even if we’re married, even if…? Wow. Sorry, GOP, but even Catholics disagree with you here, even when we take into consideration that (contrary to what we were all saying last week) it’s not quite true that 98% of all Catholic women have used birth control (it’s 98% of Catholic women aged 15-44 “for whom a pregnancy would be unintended and who are ‘at risk’ of becoming pregnant“). Apparently, 61% of Catholics support federally-mandated contraception coverage for religiously-affiliated employers — a percentage identical to that of Americans more broadly. (And even on abortion, we’re not really with you: 57% of Americans think abortion should be legal “in all or most cases”).
Increasing taxes on the wealthy is evil/unnatural/will ruin America: Not only do 72% of Americans disagree with the GOP-as-we-know-it on this, but that includes 55% of self-professed Republicans!
Being not-Christian (in a particularly narrowly defined sense of “Christian”) is evil/unnatural/will ruin America: It is true that 78.4% of Americans identify as Christian (51% Protestant, 24% Catholic, the rest various others manners of Christian) — however, not only do 70% of religiously affiliated people (of all religions) believe that “many religions can lead to eternal life,” but 68% believe that even within their own faith community, “there is more than one true way to interpret the teachings of my religion.”
And finally, even the GOP’s central, driving issue — Barack Obama is evil/unnatural/will ruin America – has lost a lot of steam: Today the President has a 47% approval rating (including among Catholics [46%. Let's not quibble]) — whereas the GOP’s nominee (stop it - it will not be Santorum) currently has a net favorability rating that has dropped to -24%. That’s right: “Mitt Romney’s net favorability rating has plummeted to NEGATIVE TWENTY-FOUR PERCENT.” I’ll be honest – I’m not sure what that means or how it’s even possible, but I do know that “47% job approval” is better than whatever the hell that is.
So, gentle reader, here’s the point: Whether its leaders realize it or not, the GOP is pulling away from the American shore. Way, waaaaay away. As its primary function is to protect the moneyed class and promote the world-view (to which I believe many Republicans sincerely subscribe) that being not-poor is a simple matter of will, the Republican Party will soon have to start shifting its place on social issues if it’s going to stick to its larger goal.
Bottom line, this is good. There will always be rich people who want to protect their hoard from the hordes, but as we chip away at the social issues, we’ll also (unbeknownst to them) be chipping away at the economic ones. The more people who are genuinely enfranchised, the better the power will be distributed.
Other bottom line? It’s up to us to give the GOP the push. If we want the Republicans to stop assaulting the rights and dignity of entire American communities, we need to act on the knowledge that Americans don’t like what they say. Whatever the hell kind of not-Republican you consider yourself to be, you have to get involved with the 2012 election. You can start here, or here, or by picking up the phone and calling your local Democrats.
Let’s regain the House, strengthen our hold on the Senate, sweep through our statehouses and city halls, and show the GOP what America really thinks.
Remember 2010: Elections have consequences. Polls don’t matter, unless people vote.