I saw a column by Pat Buchanan today called the Conservative Winter of Discontent. Basically making the demographic argument of why Republicans are in trouble. Because the country is becoming more minority both racially and ethnically and since minorities overwhelmingly vote Democratic and with the majority population shrinking as a percentage of the overall country, that the Republican Party could be headed into a deep winter. Meaning out-of-power in the Federal Government for a long period of time. Like they were in the 1960s, 1940s and 1930s. I would argue that the country is also becoming more liberal-libertarian on both social issues and economic policy. And there’s this growing mood that big government shouldn’t be involved in running our lives, out of our bedrooms and wallets. As Barry Goldwater famously said and all of this as it stands now plays very well for Liberal Democrats and Libertarians going forward and really bad for Bible Belt and Neoconservative Republicans. Who now run the GOP and more importantly bad for the GOP going forward.
The Republican Party has suffered landslides losses in the past. After 1964 they were left with a third of the seats in Congress. Something like 145 seats in the House and 33 in the Senate. But they came back and within four years the Congress was much more evenly divided and they won back the White House in 1968. It’s not as if Republicans lost a landslide in 1976, but that Democrats had large majorities in Congress already going in. And they held that in 1976 and added the White House to that power as well. And of course Republicans came back in 1978 adding seats in both the House and Senate, leaving Congressional Democrats with smaller majorities. And of course Republicans win back the Senate in 1980 as well as the White House. And again in 1992 House Democrats had a large majority, the Senate was closer 55-45, but Congressional Democrats held their own in the House and Senate and added the White House as well.
2012 is much different. For one, the Republican Party is in much better position as it stands now, but not going forward. Than they were in 1964, 1976 and 1992. We have a Republican House and a large Republican minority in the Senate. And Republicans now have thirty governorships. But the challenges for the GOP going forward again with the changing demographics are much greater and something they’ll have to successfully address. Or we could see what Pat Buchanan called as I would call it a Republican Winter. Where by 2014 or 2016, Republicans may not only be out-of-power all together, but looking at long stretches as an opposition minority party. Trying to figure out how they can get back into power again.
It’s not as if there isn’t a path back to power and victory for Republicans and that they have to give up their principles or anything. In the 1980s they were seen as the tough on defense and crime. Fiscally responsible, believers in economic and individual freedom as well, they need to stay that way. But the individual freedom angle needs to be highlighted more and move away from the big government statist party on social issues. And they’ll be able to appeal to more minorities who like their message of economic conservatism. Get back to Bill Buckley and Barry Goldwater. The two fathers of modern conservatism. Meaning limited government, individual freedom and personal responsibility. Stop trying to outlaw things simply, because you disapprove of them and they go against your values. Especially when the overwhelming majority is on the other side. Let people live their own lives economically and personally and Republicans will be able to bring in the voters they need to be competitive going forward.