The Republican Party continue to beat their heads with their open hands, wondering where it all went wrong. But the really, really bad news is that it’s going to keep going wrong. For a long, long time. Here are four things that are true, whether Republicans like it or not.
1. Immigration reform is going to happen, your base is going to hate it, and you’re not going to get much out of it. David Frum makes much the same lament, though he chalks it up to the unending addiction of brown people to the welfare state. The truth is, Hispanic voters ARE going the way of African-Americans, meaning toward Democrats and away from the GOP, but not because of “free stuff.” It’s policy, for sure (polls show Hispanics favor Democratic positions on both economic AND social issues, especially young Hispanics) … But it’s also the tone of the right, which makes it clear that opinion leaders don’t care much for the people they’ve labeled “illegals” — to include perfectly legal, totally American Hispanics. It’s the tone, guys. They aren’t dumb, and they can tell you don’t like them. Meanwhile, the Democratic president who signs immigration reform will wind up with much more credit than the flip-flopping John McCain and his miserable congressional friends.
2. Guns are now just like tobacco. Being obsessed with loving them makes you a throwback, and unless you’re Jason Statham or Tom Cruise toting a bunch of them in a movie, or a character in a video game, people will look at you sideways. In other words, Dems have won this aspect of the culture war, too. So even if elected Democrats fail to get the Feinstein bill through, they’ll still win the issue.
3. The demographics aren’t getting any better any time soon. And even the Beltway media has noticed that you’re trying to cheat. Hell, even your own governors have noticed. At this rate, even Politico is going to catch on. So good luck with that whole, “everybody loves Scott Walker now, so he can totally steal Wisconsin forever!” thing. Cuz even he — of the “mow down the opposition” school of Republican politics — is going wobbly on you.
4. It’s not your messaging, it’s you. Paul Ryan is wrong, as per usual. It isn’t that Republicans have to explain their beliefs better, it’s that most Americans are completely repelled by your ideas. Most Americans do not, I repeat, do not, want to turn Medicare into a coupon, or slash funding for feeding poor people and school lunches, or hand Social Security over to Wall Street in order to give even deeper tax cuts to your rich friends. And the whole “tax the poor and middle class through sales taxes to pay for slashing taxes on corporations and the rich” gambit will surely pass in your states — you have the power to make them so (though it could produce some nasty blowback), but everything you do to unload the cost of your poor only makes your state’s poor, and your tea partiers, that much more dependent on the federal government to take care of them. Why do you think your people cling so fiercely to their Medicare? See, there’s a reason why you red states are net “takers” of federal tax dollars while blue states, who take care of their own, are net “makers.” The more you try “small government” in your states, the more you make your people dependent on “big government” at the federal level. It’s a puzzle, isn’t it?
And it, like the demographics, is not getting better for you.