Please proceed, GOP
Republicans would like you to ignore that their Majority Leader lost last week to a Tea Partier whose main selling point is that he enjoys Ayn Rand novels. Instead, they’d like you to focus on poll numbers that show President Obama at lows he hit earlier this year.
President Bush left us a hangover of the Bush presidency will last longer than any of Newt Gingrich’s marriages. And because the GOP’s strengths are messaging and division, they know how to manipulate any lingering headaches or crisis to their advantage.
Karl Rove, the architect of Bush’s presidency, effectively used the economy Bush wrecked, the deficit Bush left and the Middle East Bush inflamed to win back the House in 2010. And thanks to a friendly map, they have a good chance to take back the Senate this year.
But as the far right coasts on their electoral advantages, the turmoil they created and economy they’ve weakened with 30 years of conservative economics, the GOP is still on its way to becoming a party with little-to-no hope of winning the White House.
1. This is the best electoral map the party will see, possibly ever.
The Upshot currently gives the GOP a 60 percent chance of winning the Senate. As recently as two weeks ago Democrats had a 58 percent chance of keeping control the upper house of Congress. The entire balance depends on Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Louisiana and North Carolina. Republicans need to win five of these elections and not lose Georgia and Kentucky. Except Colorado and Iowa, these are all states Mitt Romney won. Except for Colorado, none of these states have a Latino population that’s likely to sway the election.
Republicans almost can’t lose the House, as we found out in 2012 when they kept a large majority while winning 1.4 million fewer votes than Democrats.
By 2016, these dynamics change radically. Every month, 60,000 Latinos become eligible to vote. Within a few presidential elections, Arizona, Georgia and possibly even Texas will become swing states, which leads to the party’s real problem.
2. The party either reaches out to Latinos or dies.
Immigration reform isn’t enough to make the GOP the party of Latinos, who generally favor progressive governance, but it can at least stop the bleeding that has seen the party win fewer votes from this community in two straight presidential elections.
Republicans know they need to pass some immigration reform; they tattooed that “to do” on their arm early last year, even though the often forget that they did that. Both of the candidates who are seeking to replace Eric Cantor as Majority Leader have said this, even though many on the right believe or hope Cantor lost because he vaguely supported some principles of immigration reform.
President Obama is in a jam when it comes to deportations and the crisis that has been created by the delay of reform, which passed the Senate almost a year ago. But if Republicans don’t at least vote on immigration reform this summer, the issue becomes a hot potato in the GOP primary, as it was in 2012, with candidates taking their turn offending immigrants.
And while polls show most Republicans supporting reform, the energy is on the side of those who oppose any compromise, as with every policy issue the party considers. The worst case scenario is the House passes some mild reform that insults Latinos, giving Democrats further reform to run on, while enraging and possibly breaking up its base.
3. Republicans refuse to learn.
As Iraq erupts, proponents of America’s disastrous invasion of that country have been popping up to give us “advice.” It’s disturbing that the media still takes them seriously. What’s even more disturbing is these discredited maniacs are still the party’s leading foreign policy thinkers. Many of them were actually advisers or chief backers of Mitt Romney.
While the country supports fixing Obamacare over repealing by a two-to-one margin, repeal is the party’s position and no replacement has ever been voted on. As at least 23.6 million have gained health coverage thanks to the law, the GOP expects to win the presidency on the promise to cancel those policies. Meanwhile, some 5 million Americans in red states could vote themselves Medicaid coverage any time they want.
The president has made the bravest stand of his presidency in seeking to regulate power plant emissions before the an election to make sure his agenda will outlive his administration. Republicans have blasted this decision, acting as if the public agrees that we should do nothing about climate change. It doesn’t —only Tea Partiers do.
Who does believe climate change is real and requires government intervention? Young people, minorities, women. Exactly the people the party needs to do well with to win in 2016
The GOP can win in 2014 by being the Tea Party. And that would be their death sentence.
[Photo by Gage Skidmore | Flickr.]