Republicans Need a New Strategy III
In the last essay I spoke of how we are on desolate shore, our tide receded. The picture is bleaker than the allegory might initially suggest: the tide that put us so far ashore will not come back in tonight, tomorrow, or for a long time – our ship is beached, and we are a small army on foreign shore. We are behind enemy lines, and there’s no relief or support coming anytime soon.
Basic demographics tell this better than I, here’s a gallup chart that should not only open your eyes but also make your hair turn white:
The first thing you should notice is that the Republicans are the minority in all age groups. The second is the much wider spread between younger voters where the Dems hold a clear advantage. If you average this out then the spread doesn’t seem so bad -only 7-8 points, but if you look at what’s coming longer term it should give you serious pause if you are Republican.
As this younger demographic ages we cannot hope for them to get mugged by reality and turn into Republicans by magic. It’s not likely to occur – stark reminders of the real differences between parties are pretty rare in history.
If you look at where Republicans are strong it’s in the older age groups, and with 78 being median life expectancy we are going to lose many of those voters before elections in 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016.
This point spread is going to continue widening if we don’t become more appealing to younger and middle aged america -and for some reason we don’t seem to think we need a farm team anymore. Look at the rash that was given Michael Steele when he proposed reaching out to the hip hop generation.
When you bring this up to conservatives they will tell you “well young people don’t vote in great numbers.” That truism works for this coming election, but not for future ones. We are walking ourselves in lockstep to the elephant graveyard with that mentality.
So the very first thing on the agenda has to be building the farm team back up. That means outreach to youth, to minorities, to our service people returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. It means not branding anyone who doesn’t trumpet exactly in unison with the elder herd as a RINO.
This means either throwing the Paleos out or separating them from their bileous last century hate and pulling them into the present. It means being for specific things rather than being against anything that smells like progress or science.
In a century where technology and science are both accelerating at a furious pace it means being pro science and pro technology. In a century where Gen X and Y’ers grew up seeing gay relationships on TV as a matter of course it means being pro-life and pro-family without being rabidly anti-gay. If you look at the Generation X and Y farm team, social issues are just not high on their list. They are more worried about the future of the planet, energy, and population. Most of all they are worried about their fiscal futures. Republicans used to be about prosperity, free trade, liberty, minding your own business — in my several years in the party (which goes back to voting for Nixon,) I’ve seen the core drift away from that.
Our priorities now seem to be stasism the way Virginia Postrel defines it in her book “The Future and its Enemies”. Meanwhile, is that rotting elephant hide I smell ahead on this path through the jungles and plains?.
What positive directions could the Republicans offer?
Prosperity – not just for us, but for the world. We want to be rich, but being rich is even better if our neighbors are rich too.
Cleaner environment through high energy environmentalism – we live in one of the cleanest countries in the world and it’s that way due to our use of high energy. (see the Gore Lied, People died in the sidebar for more about high energy environmentalism)
Peace through trade
Deficit free government – balanced budgets, concrete reductions, sunsetting outdated commissions, subsidies, foreign aid, committees, and departments
Defense that works, a future war is likely coming sometime before the end of century, and we need to be ready for it, not the last.
New Millenium Education Reform: critical thinking skill vs indoctrination, empirical history vs. interpretation, lifetime subscriptions to updated knowledge in your field instead of a diploma that devalues like a new car off the lot as soon as you leave campus.
Open culture not multi-culture – it’s time to end the ability of small tribal splinter groups to wrench the US and the world around through contrived conflicts and perceived disparities. Your skin or your sex or your religion is neither your identity nor your destiny, not in this country.
Pro-family without the small asterisk and footnote that says “except for gays”
Pro-life working within the constraints of democracy and reality
Then there are the three great challenges of this century: Population growth vs. Global Warming vs long term survival for humanity.
The list of challenges is as great as what we could offer since every challenge comes with opportunity and we know that the Democrats will not solve these problems, that’s not their nature. They would rather have the problem around to run upon next election, the one after, etc. It’s time Republicans re-assess what the real challenges are – here’s a clue: Science is not one of them.
I’ll have more on these ideas in future essays in this series. Don’t steal the text, but feel free to borrow and enhance any of these ideas. Also note that this is a work in progress: this is the sketch, not the final painting.
Much more analysis of the poll at The Moderate Voice