Republicans won’t face an electoral map as friendly as they’ll greet on November 4, 2014 until 2018 — or possibly ever.
The GOP can hold the House without winning a single Latino vote. It can win the Senate without swaying one Obama voter. Then it can start passing bills that will only remind people why Republicans have lost five out of the last six presidential popular votes.
As of today, Republicans are slightly favored to not blow the incredible advantages they enjoy this year. Some, like National Journal’s Josh Kraushaar, see a GOP wave they’ve been dreaming of for months with a six-to-nine Senate seat pickup, despite some indications that Democratic efforts to make this year’s electorate look more like 2012 than 2010 are working.
The current Republican Party’s base is built to win midterm elections, where voters are older, whiter and angrier. And it’s equally suited to lose the White House.
When it comes to (at least) three issues — immigration, Obamacare and same-sex marriage — the party is stuck with positions that prevent it from winning over any of the converts they’d need to find 270 electoral votes. Most GOP donors and politicians know that a party that’s for deporting 12 million people, canceling 28 million Americans’ insurance, and any kind of ban on same-sex marriage – an institution that’s supported by more than 70 percent of millennials – can’t win in 2016. (And if, by some miracle it did win and implement these policies, that would be the end of the party as we know it.)
So there is a lot of lying going on.
Sure, we’ll repeal Obamacare (without repealing the parts that everyone likes). Sure, we’ll do some kind of immigration reform eventually even though we killed it twice — once under Bush, once under Obama. Sure, we’ll evolve on same-sex marriage in a way that doesn’t alienate the 30 to 50 percent of our base that will never accept same-sex marriage.
The party that has won a progressively smaller share of the Latino vote in each of the last three presidential elections has gone out its way to alienate that community this year — because they don’t need them. Scott Brown is tying immigration to ISIS and Ebola in New Hampshire, ties that won’t help him win. The GOP’s Lt. Governor has run one of the most inflammatory ads smearing immigrants since Republicans completely alienated California’s Latinos with their Prop 187 campaign.
Older, whiter voters eat up this kind of fear-mongering, which is why even Democrats in close Southern states are repulsively indulging in it. But the difference is President Obama will expand his program that grants temporary status to law-abiding undocumented immigrants, and the Democratic nominee for president will endorse reform with a path to citizenship.
There’s a good chance the next GOP nominee for president will be even worse on immigration than Mitt Romney, who promised to use the power of the federal government to scare 12 million of our undocumented neighbors away.
Speaker Boehner and others pretend that they’d like to take up some reform next year, if Obama doesn’t expand DACA. But with Ted Cruz — with a block of 20-40 supporters in the House — basing his presidential campaign on opposing “amnesty,” that will never happen. House Republicans haven’t even voted on an immigration bill that doesn’t specifically call for more deportations.
And, if there is a GOP wave this year, the lurch to the right will get worse.
“A Republican majority in both congressional chambers would likely confront Obama aggressively—for example, by voting to repeal any administrative action he takes to provide legal status to millions of undocumented immigrants, or voting to repeal the Affordable Care Act after millions have obtained insurance coverage from it. Those actions would be difficult to sell to the younger and more diverse presidential-year electorate,” the National Journal’s Ron Brownstein explains. “But conservative momentum following a 2014 breakthrough could create irresistible pressure on the GOP’s next class of White House hopefuls to endorse the congressional agenda, even if doing so complicated efforts to, for instance, woo enough Hispanics to recapture Colorado or Nevada in 2016.”
This week Republican John Kasich tried to tell his party the truth when he said Obamacare repeal is “not gonna happen.”
When the backlash was immense, he backtracked immediately, falsely claiming he only meant Medicaid expansion, which he has muscled through despite being opposed by his party’s base. But to continue funding expansion with Obamacare would require a $19 billion or so tax hike — and that would be on top of the tax hike for all the middle class voters now getting ACA-subsidies.
Kasich’s embracing of Obamacare’s expansion in his state has made him very popular. He’s cruising to re-election. Meanwhile, Scott Walker, Rick Scott, Paul LePage and Tom Corbett — all Republicans who blocked the growth of Medicaid — face varying degrees of risk of losing their job.
As the governor of the most important swing state in the nation who will be re-elected easily, he could be a “moderate” candidate for the GOP nomination against Chris Christie, who also expanded Medicaid, while letting the half dozen other loons battle for the Tea Party spot. But the GOP’s base is too strong, too angry, too unwilling to accept anything with the Obama name on it. So he lied about telling the truth.
In 2020, the next time the GOP faces this electoral map, North Carolina and Georgia will likely be blue states. And Colorado’s Latino population will definitely be large enough to decide the election. The GOP that could win those states just doesn’t exist now. And if Republicans think otherwise, they’re lying to themselves.
[Photo by Denise Cross Photography | Flickr]