RIP: The Republican Coalition
The Republican Coalition, May it Rest in Peace
By Contributing Writer Joey King
The modern Republican Party has always been an odd coalition, and people often scratch their heads when I say that. The modern party sprang from the ashes of the failed 1964 presidential campaign of Barry Goldwater. Libertarian/anti-Communist Republicans, big-business Republicans, and Neocons teamed-up to carry only Goldwater's home state of AZ that year. At most, these three wings of the party make up 50% today.
Right or wrong, the libertarian-Republicans view themselves as the modern-day inheritors of the Enlightenment. In other words, they are disciples of reason. They are the philosophical visionaries of the movement.
Then, the Voting Rights and the Civil Rights acts of the mid-1960's inspired Nixon's successful "Southern Strategy." In short, Nixon won on the race issue. No Democratic presidential candidate has EVER won a majority of the white vote since the passage of the Voting Rights/Civil Rights acts. That is an amazing statement. That holds true even today, and I offer as proof the fact that only 4 non-white faces appeared that the 2008 Republican Party convention in Minnesota.
After that, the 1977 Supreme Court decision forced blacks into Bob Jones University. Religious conservatives blamed President Carter and went Republican. It is IMPORTANT TO NOTE that the leaders of the evangelical movement DID NOT pick up the mantra of the abortion decision until the LATE 1970's. There is a book that came out a year ago that documents the actual conference call in which the evangelical leadership was looking for other issues to rally behind besides racial integration. Someone suggested abortion and that wedge issue was born.
Reagan was able to solidify the Republican coalition of libertarians, big-business, Neocons and evangelicals but all four factions agreed on one issue and one issue only: low taxes.
This makes for a volatile mix because libertarians/philosophical architects being the standard-bearers for enlightenment (in a word, reason), were forced into an un-holy coalition with evangelical Christians (in a word, unreason) in order to win elections.
Evangelical Christians are not for limited government, they want government in all sorts of moral issues (gambling, abortion, drinking drugs). Neocons and big business Republicans are not for limited government either. The Neocons are interventionists and the big business Republicans are always in favor of military intervention when their interests are at stake.
If it seems like the Republicans are floundering around looking for a message, they are. That is because of the unholy alliance that held together from 1968-2008 which is a mixture of reason, unreason, and racism has unraveled. The white demographic is shrinking rapidly, and the issues they have chosen to push appeal to mostly white, southern males. I have been scratching my head to figure out how the Republicans put together a coalition that wins nationally and I can not come up with any ideas. It doesn’t look like they can either.