For most people the nature of the Republican Party can best be described as a tripod consisting of big business, anti-taxation fiscal conservatives and social Conservatives. These groups came together following the defeat of Richard Nixon in the 60’s after Kennedy’s election. The social conservatives had for a long while been wrapped up in the Democratic Party machine in the South but owing to their disenfranchisement by the party in the 1960’s and 1970’s they he found themselves in the position of joining their Republican Party, which the Republican Party used to great success in getting Nixon elected. And who could ignore the big business branch coupled with the fiscal conservatives and social conservatives that brought the party to power during the 1980’s in the Reagan and Bush Senior administrations. One of the major issues that this previous election shined a very bright spotlight on which no one seems to be talking about is how the goals of these three groups are starting to conflict so badly that at times they work against one another. There was a joke when I was a kid that went: “What is the Democratic Party’s formation of choice? A circular firing squad.” Now however it seems like the Republican Party wants that particular cliché to go to them. That’s not to say that Mitt Romney was a terrible candidate, in point of fact I would say he was probably the best option in what was an unlikely bunch. (With the notable exception of Ron Paul)
The problem with Mitt Romney wasn’t that he wasn’t conservative enough or that he was too conservative, but rather it ultimately lies with the party itself. The Democratic Party was able to clearly, and not unfairly, classify the Republican Party as the party of the rich old white men with power and in a rare display of bipartisanship the Republicans played right along. Consequently when looking at their candidate who was a rich white man born with money and power running as president you can see how this might cause a problem because the poor have the right to vote (since in 1859 the last land requirement for the purposes of voting was removed). Romney himself threw sufficient gasoline on the fire when he pointed out that 47% of Americans who pay no income tax are victims and want to be treated as victims and are not his concern as a candidate. It’s really hard to imagine a more perfect storm of silly, in an era when most of America would happily burn down the mansions of the wealthy and roast them alive for BBQ. So what happened? How does this come together? And lest you think that it was the Democrats alone who tried pushing the class warfare against Romney please remember that during the primaries Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich both referred to Mitt as a “vulture” capitalist. So how did the big business leg of the tripod get the nomination, that’s really the question? One would think that in recession that can, not unfairly, be blamed on big business and big banks gambling stupidly why would you run a candidate who can’t help but represent those kinds of people in the mind of your average voter? The simple answer: There was nobody else.
Looking at the other candidates you have of Rick Perry who really represents social conservatism and you have Newt Gingrich represents fiscal conservatism. And this is not to be dismissive of John Huntsman or Ron Paul, I was big fans of both of them, but unfortunately neither of them seem to have the pull party wanted. Then when we look at the changing demographics of America and in the nature of what we believe is acceptable morally (E.G. gay marriage) and how we feel about certain areas of science versus religion (E.G. Evolution and medicine), Rick Perry doesn’t look like a great candidate nationally. I think he could have easily carried most of the South but I think that they were aiming for candidate who might actually appeal to some of the northern states. Newt Gingrich while he is a very smart man he would have been unable to carry the social conservatism vote because he been divorced three times including one wife on her deathbed. So these two candidates more or less eliminated themselves and Romney was the only guy still standing. It wasn’t that he was a compromise candidate in the sense that people got together and had a meeting in talked about and they said “Hey, let’s run with this guy” but he was the best of the lot that they had to offer.
The next major issue that has been confronting Republican Party is due to its aging demographic this is not to say that because they’re old they are out of touch with policy or politics though that is a part of it. What really seems to plaguing the Republican Party increasingly heavily is that its’ older membership have fallen behind in the technological arena and this is hurting them greatly. A large part of that hurt is mass communication and the ability of people to fact check. The ability of a politician to lie is not in any way exclusive to the Republican Party however they do seem to be behind the times of what you can get away with in an era when most of human information is available with a quick Internet search. It’s causing a very serious disconnect between younger people have mastered this technology and use it all the time for research on things versus older generations who traditionally read newspapers and tried to retain it in their heads.
Now as far as the tripod is concerned, the ones most brutally affected by this seems to be the social conservative branch and included in that branch I would probably put the Tea-party contingent. While the tea party may have originally had its grass roots in smaller government and fiscal conservatism a look at the legislation that most tea party members have passed seems to make it a much more socially conservative group than fiscal. One of the largest attempts by the social conservative movement within the Republican Party to limit the influence of fact checking and information is the construction and dissemination of conservatively aligned textbooks which have a tendency to distort the facts if not outright lie this is particularly the case in the Texas textbooks.
From unpopular stances, to outdated rhetoric, to plain old bald faced deception the republican party more and more frequently comes out behind. The worst part of that being that as a conservative I am often forced to vote against them, because I see little in them anymore to vote for. As I write more of these I will try to go into greater depths with particular issues. I intend to pull no punches and for those of you who feel like I am picking on the right wing I promise that when I finish this series. Series two will cover the left.