After Barack Obama’s re-election was securely in hand, an alarmingly disconcerting trend emerged in the way the America people voted for Mitt Romney.
Almost a quarter of voters were unmarried women. Out of those, 67% voted for Obama. For Latinos, the statistic rises over 70%. And for African-Americans, it’s over 90%.
This is not an anomaly. This is a bright, pulsing, neon sign pointing to a problem: the Republican party is suffering a steadily accelerating erosion of their party’s base.
So what’s the take-away?
Unless the GOP can re-boot what their party stands for (or use the new but already-clichéd political buzzword: evolve), it’s over for the Republicans.
The Grand Old Party is neither grand, nor has it been a party for the last two elections. What used to be joked about in political circles has now become a truism that has hog-tied the party that started with Lincoln. This party, for the most part, overly appeals to represent the least favorable and viable demographic: old…white…men.
And that is a death knell for a party that within the past 20 years has gone from proud and transformative to struggling to stay relevant.
Now the question is, how does the Republican Party reclaim their grandeur and not become irrelevant, outdated, and wind up like the Federalist, Bull Moose, Know-Nothing or Free-Soil Parties; as a footnote on a Wikipedia page.
If the Republican Party is to survive, the answer lies in recent history with the adoption of two similar tactics of a GOP icon (Ronald Reagan) and the most popular living Democrat (Bill Clinton). As impossible as it sounds, both presidents were successful because of a modern political concept that Clinton-adviser Dick Morris labeled in the 1990’s as “triangulation.”
Simply put, steal the other side’s idea and co-opt it as your own and take the credit. Clinton knew his chances as a second term wasn’t looking probable until Dick Morris suggested that he, Clinton, take an issue from the Republicans and work with then-Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and pass legislation to make both parties look good. Clinton chose Welfare Reform. And without it, and a strengthening economy, Bill Clinton would have ranked slightly above Jimmy Carter as a one-term bust of a leader.
Ronald Reagan granted over two million illegal immigrants amnesty in 1986 because he saw that immigration was becoming a problematic, divisive political football, that has now blossomed into a full clanging-gong, go-to, easy, hot-button issue du jour of some politicians. E.g., Jan Brewer, Joe Arpaio, Russell Pearce.
If current Speaker of the House John Boehner truly means what he said last week, that the GOP is ready to tackle the immigration issue in a truly bipartisan way, he must use the strategy of Clinton with the spirit of Reagan.
Shakespeare once wrote, “There is nothing new under the sun.” The Republican party doesn’t have to re-invent their conservative political wheel. All the GOP has to do is steal an idea, (i.e., Comprehensive Immigration Reform) re-write it in their own words, and tell the American people it was their own idea. Then sit back and take the credit.
Because the American people have short memories and all is fair in love and war but especially politics.