Found an interesting post today on Political Animal. It talks about party identification and the crumbling of it for the Repubs during the Bush administration.
Basically, a recent Pew poll has shown that a dead even tie of Republican/Democrat identification of 42/42 in 2002 has now shifted to 35/50 this year. That’s a hell of a swing, and it speaks to how sick and tired people are of the way Republicans have been handling their majority over the past 5 years.
So then…are “permanent” majorities a good thing? Kevin Drum speculates as to how the Republicans went wrong…
[…] On the culture war side, as the Pew charts confirm, the problem is that America is getting slowly more culturally liberal as time goes by. Partly this is a generational thing and partly it’s just a continuation of the same slow march of social tolerance that’s been a hallmark of the past half century. Every year there’s one or two percent more of the country that doesn’t hate gays, doesn’t want to ban abortion, and would just as soon see the Ten Commandments stay in church.
Both of these trends are only going to get worse for the GOP. As entitlement benefits grow, taxes are going to have to go up. Everyone knows there’s no way around this, and insisting otherwise will increasingly mark you as a fringe crackpot. Likewise, as culture war issues slowly become the province of a dwindling band of senior citizens and dead-end homophobes, arguing about gays in the military will seem about as relevant as attacking the tin trust.
The GOP isn’t dead, and Democratic victories in future years are hardly assured. But there’s not much question that Republicans are going to have to find a new schtick. The combination of Grover Norquist and James Dobson had its day, but that day is fading fast. If they want to stay relevant, they’re going to need some new ideas.
I can see this new wave in the Giulianis and Schwarzeneggers of the world. They preach fiscally responsible agendas, but talk about socially tolerant ideals.
In fact, Dennis had a great post about this recently and some sage advice…
There are many in California who are mad that Schwarzenegger isn’t acting like a “true Republican,” which I guess means, not hating the Democrats enough, pretending global warming isn’t real, and not hating gays. The funny thing is that some of the most ideological Republicans don’t really do anything. I think right now at this time, people want things done and if the Republican party wants to have a decent future, it might want to focus more on finding conservative solutions to problems and less on trying to pin people like myself and my partner as the bearers of all that is evil in the world.
Well said. Long live permanent moderate majorities. Heh.