Friday, June 26, 2009

Are Republicans Relevant?

or just endangered? Below is a recent cover of Time Magazine.

Me? I'm registered independent. I consider myself moderate. I lean left on some issues and right on others. I see lots of faults with both major political parties, but I also see lots of good things. From a non-partisan perspective, here are some things I see that are making the Republicans less and less relevant and more endangered:

1) Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage, Sarah Palin, Dick Cheney.
When these are the leading spokespersons for your party, you are in trouble. The base loves them, but if your goal is to be more inclusive and recruit more votes, this is bad. The leadership of the party has done nothing to draw new voters. I would argue that they don't want to draw new voters. The above do nothing but alienate moderate and left voters. Fear mongering panders to the base and excludes the peripheral voters.

2) Speaking of new voters, unless the message is changed, the Republican party is dead. The demographics of the country are changing. Hispanic voters will be crucial in all future elections. Not illegally registered voters as some within the party will claim, but voters who were born in the United States and have a stake in the future of this nation. Of their nation. Census data shows that the population of Hispanics in America is growing more from births within the borders than from immigration from outside the borders. Without a new message to attract these voters, formerly safe red states such as Texas, South Carolina and other midwest and southern states will be blue for a long time.

3) The Republican party has a perception of negativity. They are not FOR anything. They are anti-government, anti-immigration, anti-health care, anti-stimulus, anti-gun control anti-regulation and so forth. It's subtle, but it affects people's perceptions. The party has to repackage those views, some of which are good (I like small government) into a way that does not seem so negative, hateful and divisive.

4) The Republican party has a perception of hypocrisy. When you campaign as the morally superior party with the backing of evangelical Christians and you have so many leaders fall at moral levels, it sure hurts your credibility. From Larry Craig in the men's room to Ted Haggard's escapades and now Nevada Senator John Ensign and SC Governor Mark Sanford, the Republicans have been hit over and over by moral shortcomings. Not that anyone is perfect, but to outsiders, the "holier than thou" message that the party and its supporters perpetuate only adds to the hypocrisy.

5) Change for the sake of change is not always good. But failure to change when it's necessary is even worse. The Republican party is dominated by conservatives that do not want to see change. History is about change. This is a very different world now than when I was growing up. The party could be a part of it and guide the change or they can continue to resist it and reluctantly and spitefully watch as the rest of the nation and world changes.

If I were to choose a party, I would register Democrat. Some of it would be because I agree with more issues, but some would be because I don't want to be Republican. Speaking as a Christian, I see the Republican party in the same way that a lot of people see the Church: hypocritical, hateful and exclusive.

I walk the streets of Asheville and Hendersonville and the halls of the school I work in and I meet lots of people who would like to be part of a church but won't visit because they feel they are going to be judged. Or because they see the Church as hypocritical. There are a lot of people out there who have been very hurt by the Church. They cannot understand why in a place where there supposed to be much love and forgiveness that there is so much condemnation and judgment.

Fortunately, there are churches that do get it right. I hope those churches will stand out.

There are Republicans that do get it right. If they do not stand out, then the party will go the way of the dodo.

1 comment:

Courtney said...

I love this entire post...

Before I got to the end I was thinking, "This sounds a little like the church too"- esp. #5.

I am on your page. Thanks for articulating it.