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View Diary: An ideological realignment driven by demography (130 comments)

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  •  Oh, but the conservative elite did know. (3+ / 0-)
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    whaddaya, a2nite, wu ming
    If the conservative elite had known 30 years in advance that minority demographics, increases in education (against all odds, the American laypublic gets more educated year-by-year), and the excesses of religious conservatism would slowly but surely form an increasing threat to their hierarchal status we would have been totally screwed.
    The conservative elite c. 1985 knew perfectly well the GOP would be screwed demographically in the 21st century.  Everybody knew. One thing about demography: you can see changes coming from a long, long way off.

    The national GOP had a grand plan to deal with this demographic change, namely recruiting Hispanics into the party.

    So the issue wasn't GOP awareness, or lack of a good plan. The issue was that the GOP completely and totally failed in executing the plan over the last 30s years.

    Why did they fail? One big reason was that the people pitching policies that were supposed to attract minorities were completely out of touch with the people they were trying to enlist. Back in the day you saw it with, say, Jack Kemp's awkward attempts to recruit African-Americans - perfectly sincere, so far as I can tell, but also perfectly ineffective. That's because Kemp's "social" policies always boiled down to tax breaks for business owners, an approach most working people (African-American or otherwise) cold.

    The other issue is that GOP leadership was totally unable to influence the feelings and opinions of their base on the issue -- indeed, as time went on GOP leadership influence over the base grew weaker and weaker. Which is why Romney utterly caved to the wingnuts on immigration reform after every other GOP candidate from Reagan to McCain endorsed some form of it.

    Ultimately the Republican base decided that keeping the GOP as the party of white males was more important than making it bigger. And now they are reaping the demographic whirlwind.

    •  So you think it was less blindness (1+ / 0-)
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      and more overestimation of their control of their base?

      Seems plausible. While Hitler and Stalin had enough power to convince their minion to shoot their own neighbors in the head, if they had ordered their soldiers to treat Jews and kulaks with respect several years into their reign they would have been drug out of their beds and tortured to death in the streets for betraying the cause. Hatred and resentment is funny like that.

    •  From what I recall... (0+ / 0-)

      ....Tom Kean was pretty much the only Republican I can think of in the last 30 years who could garner large percentages of the black vote. One woman I went to law school with, who is African-American, told me "I am a liberal Democrat, but the only time I ever voted for a Republican was for  Tom Kean in 1985. I was in my first job after college and Kean just kept giving us raises."

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