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A dark Republican future

rainey BARRETT


A number of my Republican friends – in their cups and glasses since the November drubbing at the hands Democrats and the right wing of their own party – are sobering up nicely and beginning to talk of better days ahead – in 2014. Given what’s been happening – and not happening – inside the GOP since those losses at the polls, I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news. Things don’t look any better for 2014. Or 2016.

In fact, a fine op-ed piece from NPR the other day declared “Forget 2016. Soonest to look for improvements might be 2020!” Given the irrefutable evidence thus far, that might send my GOP friends back to their glasses.
Look at this from two angles. The first is what to expect our national ethnicity will look like by 2020. Director Paul Taylor of Pew Research says today’s white 63% majority will have shrunk to 60%. “Not a loose prediction, he says, “because it’s the statistical future we already know.” Further, according to Taylor, our voting patterns are highly aligned by race. Have been for many years and many elections.

Fact: the white voter pool is draining. Quickly. In 2012, white voters accounted for 220 fewer electoral college votes than just 14 years ago. President Obama took 80% of the non-white vote.

As Hispanics age and parent future generations, fortunes for Democrats look much brighter than the GOP. A 15-year-old Hispanic sophomore high school student today will be a 24-year-old adult in 2020, will have gone through our public school system and, by that time, have either college or work experience. Just look at “red state” Texas where, in two more national elections, Hispanics will be the majority population. Which party would be favored by heritage and education then? Those numbers clearly put Republicans everywhere on the wrong side of what’s coming. What we KNOW is coming.

Ironically, George Bush was on the right track to gain Hispanic support for Republicans in 2005 with prominent Hispanic appointments and outreach programs to reach Hispanic voters. But the Republican party operators – glad to see Bush go and to bury his memory – failed to follow up after he left office and Democrats have been actively making connections.

Now, look at the second angle: what today’s Republicans are doing to catch up. Basically – nothing. Oh, there’s that new bi-partisan immigration bill in the U.S. Senate. But, even if it gets to the floor for a vote – no sure thing – it likely will die there. Or, whatever’s left after House Teapublicans get through with it will be unrecognizable.

Then there are these facts. The National Republican Party this month re-elected a chairman who presided over 2012 losses from coast to coast and a reduction of seats in both Senate and House. Nearly all national GOP officers were re-elected as well. A day or two later, Speaker Boehner pledged ending abortion “is one of our most fundamental goals this year.” Several dozen anti-abortion bills are sitting in Boehner’s own House committees. More than 100 others are in Republican-dominated state legislature’s. Of interest to Hispanic and other immigrants? You bet!

House Budget Chief Paul Ryan has a new impossible federal budget to pay the national debt off in 10 years by – among other draconian measures – savaging Medicaid and Medicare, many of whose clients are Hispanic. In GOP dominated Texas, funding for Planned Parenthood was eliminated in a state where access to women’s health care is most used by – Hispanics. The same Hispanics who will soon be the majority there. Republican-dominated legislatures in six states are trying to change election laws to reduce minority voting and re-jigger electoral college votes to do the same.

Columnist Paul Krugman looking at all this – and much more – summed it up “Their proposals for a (party) makeover all involve changing the sales pitch rather than the product.” I’d add, “Changing deck chairs on the old Titanic again.”

So, here are just two factors working against the Ol’ GOP for upcoming elections. On one hand, they’re actively pursuing a diminishing supply of white voters while ignoring – in every substantive way – irreversible ethnic changes of epic national proportions. And not just Hispanics. On the other, they’re sponsoring whitewash, “feel good” ideas while continuing direct legislative assaults to limit minority voter access to the ballot box and feverishly trying to change historic national campaign rules to undermine the entire electoral process.

If you’re not Black or Hispanic, but words such as “deceitful,” “dishonest,” double-dealing,” “lying,” “cheating,” “uncaring” and more come to your mind because of all this, imagine if you were actually a member of a minority. Imagine the magnification of your feelings if these were your rights under the Republican knife.

Bottom line. If the National Republican Party really hopes to win at the polls anytime soon – anytime in the next 20 years or so – leaders are ignoring the one word of serious change absolutely required to do the job: CULTURE. If the current CULTURE of in-party extremism, playing to a diminishing white voter source while trying to placate a declining membership base of ignorance and confused ideology goes unchanged, perhaps 2020 is too soon to think of GOP gains. Trumped up, feel good legislation is NOT going to buy minority votes. Not while the Party continues efforts to block minority access to voting and other rights of citizenship.

It takes a long time to change an entire culture. It takes even longer to re-establish trust once broken. Where the fortunes of the National Republican Party are concerned, it may be a generation. Or two. Depends on when they stop changing curtains in the window and get around to fixing the problems in the foundation.

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