WASHINGTON, DC, February 27, 2013 - The Republicans Party lost the presidential election to a man who promised to expand government to its largest size to date, reform immigration, and deal with the looming threat of a rabid ideology from exotic countries. Many considered it only a matter of time untill the Republican Party makes way to permanent minority status. The year was 1964; the Republicans had just 140 seats in the House, 32 in the Senate and only 17 governorships.
Over the next four years, President Johnson would assault civil liberties, escalate the war in Vietnam, swell the debt, expand welfare programs to create a permanent dependent class, alter immigration policy and demonize Republicans as old, white racists. Sound familiar?
Surely if there was ever a time in this country that the Republican Party seemed doomed, it was 1965. And from the ashes of Goldwater’s defeat, Richard Nixon, a former vice president and failed presidential candidate, rebuilt the party that was sure to go the way of the Whigs.
With Nixon’s creation of the New Majority, which included neo-cons, conservative Southerners, and Northern Catholic ethnics, Nixon would go on to win the White House in 1968. Nixon’s political coalition would give the Republicans the majority in five of the next six elections, and by 40-plus state landslides in all but one of them.
So what happened? The ultimate problem was that Nixon, Reagan, and Bush never uprooted the system of dependency set by President Johnson’s Great Society. None reduced legal immigration to its historic norms, proven to have the greatest process of assimilation. The Presidency of George W. Bush took the party that brought peace to Korea, Vietnam, and brought an end to the Iron Curtain and turned it into the war party. A party bent on democratizing the world with the bankruptcy and bloodshed of her own. And an economic collapse brought on by years of guns-and-butter policies that expanded easy credit and a bubble economy.
So is the great Republican experiment over? Not if a candidate who distances himself from the chaos of the Republican Party can put together a coalition of Obama voters who have been left behind by their president. But who are these future liberal turncoats?
Many other analysts have pointed to Hispanics as being “natural Republicans.” As Obama’s 2008 campaign manager, David Plouffe, put it in The New York Times: “Let me tell you something. The Hispanic voters in Nevada, Colorado and New Mexico don’t give a damn about Marco Rubio… You know what? We won the Cuban vote… So this notion that Marco Rubio is going to heal their problems — it’s not even sophomoric; it’s juvenile! And by the way: the bigger problem they’ve got with Latinos isn’t immigration. It’s their economic policies and health care. The group that supported the president’s health care bill the most? Latinos.”
Plouffe spells out how the great Karl Rove and Jeb Bush fantasy of a Hispanic Republican Party is just that, an illusion. The groups who have been most negatively let down by Obama’s presidency have been civil libertarians, Blacks, and Asians.
Civil libertarians have been betrayed by Obama throughout his entire presidency, from his failure to close Guantanamo Bay to the increased fighting with the war on drugs to bombing Libya without Congressional approval and increasing the drone war, which has killed hundreds of civilians in the Middle East. For civil libertarians, Obama has been worse than Bush on all of these fronts, including the unprecedented power that gives the president the ability to kill American citizens without due process.
For some civil libertarians - even the most liberal -Obama has gone too far. Famous anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan ran for both Congress and vice president on the Peace and Freedom Party, campaigning against Obama.
But there is a space between the more radical elements of the peaceniks and civil libertarians and more moderate voices that could be appealed to. There used to be organizations such as The American First Committee, which had a future President Gerald Ford as a member. Today we have such organizations as Antiwar.com, which is headed up by Justin Raimondo, a self-described “conservative-paleo-libertarian.” Another organization, Young Americans for Liberty, is very active in protecting civil liberties and free markets.
Asian Americans are often considered some of the most entrepreneurial people in America, and while that is true for various ethnic backgrounds, others are very statist in nature and believe in a level of government dependency. Nonetheless, there is a home amongst those who own small businesses as well as those who face education discrimination based on racial bias.
Black voters, the Democrat Party’s most loyal ally, have also been the group in the Democrats’ coalition most betrayed by Obama’s presidency. Black commentators Tavis Smiley and Cornell West have both criticized President Obama for his inability to deal with the poor and decline of the middle class, especially in the black community. Under President Obama, the black wealth gap has widened, and blacks still remain one of the most churched and socially conservative people. It is an ironic truth that under a black president, black peoples – both African American and Caribbean - have been left behind.
These groups are the lost tribes of the Democratic Party, and if Republicans can learn from Nixon, they will be part of the New Majority.
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