Barely a decade ago, it appeared that the Republican Party was at the threshold of a GOP sustained era not seen since the 70 years following the Civil War – an era that came crashing down in the Great Depression.
In 2010, Republicans took control of the United States House of Representatives. In 2012 – even as President Obama was elected to a second term – Republicans were taking over governorships and state legislatures by record proportions. In 2014, Republican gained control of the United States Senate.
With that much momentum, the party of Lincoln was virtually certain to win the White House. Even the controversial and greatly disliked Donald Trump could not crush the momentum – although he came close to doing so. What should have been a BIG victory was a cliffhanger.
Since then, the GOP has lost significant popularity. It took a shellacking in the 2018 election in the House. It gained in the Senate largely due to a peculiar advantage of Democrats having to defend more races – and in states won by Trump. In 2020, that situation will be reversed with the field advantage belonging to the Democrats.
It now appears that the political winds are at the backs of the Democrats – and even worse, the most left-wing Democrats. So, how did this right-of-center nation shift to the left so far and so quickly? And did it?
The first and most obvious answer is President Trump. Many wondered whether he would transition from a brash and controversial candidate to a more traditional Republican. Many hoped he would, and many hoped he would not.
Virtually everyone can agree that Trump is not a traditional President. For conservatives, much of his untraditional approach was a good thing. He took government policy away from the so-called establishment that had done more talking than acting on our domestic and international problems. He actually has done something about economic stagnation, excessive taxes, veterans affairs, inner city poverty, excessive regulation and the overall size of the federal bureaucracy – and beyond our borders has brought ISIS to its knees, created new opportunities in the Middle East quagmire, moved our embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, got our NATO allies to pay more to make our mutual defense more mutual and broke the do-nothing policies on North Korean nuclearization.
At the same time, however, Trump has allowed his personality to become an Achilles Heel for both him and Republicans in general. His pugnaciousness – coupled with provably inaccurate and needlessly controversial statements – has limited his general popularity and, by extension, that of the GOP.
It is irrefutable that Trump has a strong hold on his base.
The loss of political value in the Republican brand is not all at the doorstep of Trump. The greater Republican Party has historically had a “messaging problem.” Because it is a party of principles over power, there is – and probably always will be – division within the Party. It naturally lacks the power-based solidarity of the Democratic Party – which, to greater or lesser degree, represents the authoritarian left-wing side of the political continuum.
It is also true that Republicans and conservatives have a disadvantage in presenting their message because of the biased reporting of the major east coast media. The very instruments of mass communication are controlled by liberal Democrats.
But even with all that, Republicans have long demonstrated an ineptitude in presenting their side of political issues – especially in terms of immigration, race and free-market economics. That is partly since too many Republicans tend to be Democrat-lite – embracing to a lesser degree the Democrats big government, Big Brother policies. They have never understood that voters on the left will take a genuine left-winger over a pseudo-liberal.
If the era of Republican dominance – and right-of-center policies – is over for the foreseeable future, it will be the failure to reach out and sell traditional American economics and the concept of personal freedom to the growing number of so-called minorities. Through Identity politics, the Democrats have created a political divide between the European whites and all other ethnicities.
Since America will become a minority-majority nation within the next thirty years, a political division based on race, as opposed to issues, will be disastrous for the GOP. It is important to keep in mind that Democrats see many Caucasians as part of the minority community they claim to serve. Virtually all Hispanics are Caucasians but are politically incorporated into the black minority.
Same with Asians, who are not part of the black or the Hispanic community, but are, according to Democrats, one of the minorities that they uniquely serve. The Asian community is significant, because, in a past generation, they leaned to the GOP – as did a large percentage of Hispanics.
Based on issues, Republicans should not have lost the House. It was a messaging problem by congressional leaders and Trump. They brought the people of America a significant tax cut and could not effectively defend it. The economy is booming, and they are not convincing the American public of that fact. The Democratic Party continues to be the primary vehicle of institutional racism in America, and the GOP cannot even convince blacks who suffer the oppression of de facto racism.
When Republicans and conservatives do get access to the so-called news programs, they generally do a terrible job of getting their points across. The recent hearings involving presidential attacker Michael Cohen are just another case in point. Republican members of the Committee on Oversight and Reform wasted a valuable opportunity to push back against any number of the Democrats false narratives – but they did not.
Republicans were poor sales people for a good American product – the policies and benefits of free-market capitalism and personal freedom — when they had the advantage of the majority. They will now suffer the consequences of operating under a political party that can effectively sell snake oil socialism.
Unless the Republican Party can get its act together, they will again descend into the ranks of irrelevancy – and this time there may be no recovery.
So, there ‘tis.