what would a mccain loss mean for the republican party?

We’re still ten days out from the election, but, right now, if you listen to the popular press or read the polls, it appears to be Obama’s race to lose, barring some tragic event or an unprecedented level of voter suppression and fraud. The Obama campaign has the momentum, the money, and, more importantly, a message that seems to be resonating with American voters concerned about the economy and their futures. States that, several months ago, weren’t in play, now seem to be turning purple, and people everywhere are beginning to wonder what a victory by Obama might mean for the Republican party.

In today’s edition of the UK paper The Guardian, reporter Paul Harris argues that a Republican loss would be “potentially devastating” for the GOP. Here’s a clip:

…’The Republican party is going to have to work out what sort of party it actually wants to be. It’s a changing world for them,’ said Professor Shaun Bowler, a political scientist at the University of California at Riverside. It might not be easy. A powerful Democratic win could wipe out Republican moderates. It could leave the party in the grip of its conservative and evangelical base who remain critical of figures such as McCain but who are wildly enthusiastic about politicians such as Palin. The Republican party could end up in a bitter civil war for its political future…

Whereas Bush has been able, at least up until now, to appease the far right without alienating the moderates in the party, it doesn’t appear as though that may be tenable from here on out, as the religious right become more demanding. In this current race, the general consensus seems to be that McCain did not want Palin for a running mate, but that he took her as a concession to the right, who held her in high regard for her principled evangelical stands on issues like abortion. Unfortunately, that decision, while rallying the Christian base, did little to ingratiate moderates, who in many cases saw the decision as cynical, calculated and ultimately not in the best interest of the United States.

But all of this aside, it might just be the case that the numbers no longer add up for the Republicans. As Timothy Egan points out in today’s New York Times, we’re becoming a more urban, culturally mixed nation, and, given that, the “us against them” politics of those like Minnesota’s Michele Bachmann who seek to draw a line between those they consider “real Americans,” and those that they don’t, may not hold the same promise. (Once everyone’s drinking lattes, it becomes a lot less powerful of an insult.) Here’s a clip from Egan’s column. It begins with a discussion about the top 10 most educated cities in America:

… These are vibrant, prosperous places where a knowledge economy and cool things to do after hours attract people from all over the country. Among the top 10, only two of those metro areas — Raleigh, N.C., and Lexington, Ky. — voted Republican in the 2004 presidential election.

This year, all 10 are likely to go Democratic. What’s more, with Colorado, New Hampshire and Virginia now trending blue, Republicans stand to lose the nation’s 10 best-educated states as well.

It would be easy to say these places are not the real America, in the peculiar us-and-them parlance of Sarah Palin. It’s easy to say because Republicans have been insinuating for years now that some of the brightest, most productive communities in the United States are fake American — a tactic that dates to Newt Gingrich’s reign in the capitol…

Egan goes on to note that not only are we becoming a more urban nation, but we’re also becoming more ethnically diverse. “By 2023,” he says, “more than half of all American children will be minority.” So, how long can the politics of division last? As young voters are already overwhelmingly in favor of Barack Obama, one wonders what the future might hold when over half will be of mixed race.

So, are we headed for a showdown between the evangelical base and the more moderate factions within the Republican party? Some are already suggesting that Palin, having given up on McCain’s chances, is thinking about herself, and how she’s positioned for 2012, when she might make a run of her own for President. One thing is for certain, with no clear leader to rally around, and hold these various factions together, it’s going to be interesting.

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19 Comments

  1. egpenet
    Posted October 26, 2008 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps we can get back to the essential disagreement that keeps rearing its head in this country … the one we started with … Jefferson’s vision of local-takes-all and states’ right versus Hamilton’s view of a strong and centralized nation of states. Those were the good old days.

    What we have now is a rampaging bunch of suicidal calvinist lemmings going off the deep end … even so far as to raid into Suria one week before the election. They are just plain nuts!

  2. Posted October 27, 2008 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    I think after moving to the right for the past 40 years, the public is now moving back to the left. In part this is because the big Republican issues – lower taxes, stronger defense – have already been accomplished. (They used to want smaller government but once they took control of congress and the presidency that went by the wayside)

    Karl Rove thought he was ushering in a Republican majority that would last for another 40 years but instead the inevitable overreaching occured with the NeoCon foreign policy and trying to privatize Social Security.

    I read someplace that if McCain loses the Republican reaction will probably be to “Say the message louder”, as they did with Goldwater in ’64 and the Democrats did with McGovern in ’72. If that is the case then Mrs. Palin or someone else from the far right may get the nomination in 2012 and REALLY get clobbered. Only then will the party start to move back toward the middle.

  3. Brackache
    Posted October 27, 2008 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    Well said, ed.

    Except Calvinism is tiznits.

    I’m hoping that if anything good comes of the world’s economy imploding, it’ll be a mandatory shrinking of Government, regardless of who wins or loses. On account of no one can afford otherwise. I fear, however, that economic crises have historically been a breeding ground for tyranny with -isms. In which case, I will be both poorer and sadder.

  4. Brackache
    Posted October 27, 2008 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    Well said, ed.

    Except Calvinism is the shit.

    I’m hoping that if anything good comes of the world’s economy imploding, it’ll be a mandatory shrinking of Government, regardless of who wins or loses. On account of no one can afford otherwise. I fear, however, that economic crises have historically been a breeding ground for tyranny with -isms. In which case, I will be both poorer and sadder.

  5. Brackache
    Posted October 27, 2008 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    I hate your lying spam filter, mark!!!

  6. Posted October 27, 2008 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    The Republican Party has been alienating moderates in its ranks since the 80s. Slowly, surely, they have either marginalized or purged centrists and moderates while veering their party straight to the rightwing fringes.

    It’s been as if the Republican Party has been selling the copper pipes from their home. There is the tremendous short-term gain in party enthusiasm, but at the end of the day, they lack the necessary internal plumbing for it to really be called a home.

    If this is the election that finally exposes that rot to the sun, I say it’s for the better. The GOP can, at this point, either correct itself or go the way of the Whigs. I’d personally like to see it correct itself, because I’d rather have two, competing visions to choose from … as long as one isn’t based on lunacy.

  7. Posted October 27, 2008 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    Although Kentucky went for Bush, I’m pretty sure that Lexington continues to be a blue oasis in a sea of red. I guess it depends on exactly how they count the “metro area”.

  8. egpenet
    Posted October 27, 2008 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    I suggest the Jefferson/Hamilton split becuase of what’s happning locally, primarily.

    Of course, our local economic issues spread into the Townships, County and the State.

    And, now, it’s a global issue.

    Staying local, however, we have a choice to make next week about who is going to lead us locally … crime, the courts, financially, university trustees, and on our council.

    I lean toward Jefferson, myself, and would urge my fellow voters to vote for the best persons who have their neighbors at heart and who really has a grasp of local issues …
    whether it be our jails, our courtrooms, our university campuses, our county, our legislature, our city hall.

    Each and every seat is critical. The next two to four years are life or death to Ypsilanti our Township and our State. Be very picky. Vote with a local frame of mind. Then, go home and start a big garden … Jefferson would.

  9. Paw
    Posted October 27, 2008 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    Let’s give Palin and McCain Alaska as a consolation prize. I’m sure they’d create something wonderful there.

  10. moonlit
    Posted October 27, 2008 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    “I’m hoping that if anything good comes of the world’s economy imploding, it’ll be a mandatory shrinking of Government, regardless of who wins or loses.”

    Blah blah blah. What does this even mean?

  11. egpenet
    Posted October 27, 2008 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    Problem is … governments are jumping in right now and nationalizing everything. As you say, moonlit, we shall see … and blah, is right.

  12. Brackache
    Posted October 27, 2008 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    That means there won’t be enough money to fund big government, moonlit.

  13. Robert
    Posted October 27, 2008 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

    If you welcome the idea of world economic collapse, Brackache, you would have loved the 1930s. The worse part was what it led into. 40 million people were killed, and hundreds of millions of lives were otherwise devastated. As horrible as economic depression is, I don’t think anyone is as afraid of it as they are of what historically follows. A fourth Reich would likely have access to advanced nuclear, biological and chemical weaponry. The next world wide departure from stability would likely be the last.

  14. Brackache
    Posted October 27, 2008 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

    That, Robert, is exactly what I’m afraid of. And it’s not like I’ve got my Ayatola of Rock and Rolla hocky mask and Biker gang ready to take over (although I am taking applications). I’m not happy about an economic depression, which is why I tried to stop it when it was still possible, in the primaries and before the bailout (maybe it wasn’t possible by then, either). I’m just trying to look on the bright side and make do with the fact that at least it’s just desserts, and hopefully it’ll make people change their minds about the federal reserve, monetary policy, interventionism, and over spending.

    But yes, I’m afraid of any potential Hitlers, Stalins, and FDR’s lying about its causes and using it as an argument for more centralized control, which of course is what caused it in the first place.

  15. egpenet
    Posted October 27, 2008 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

    Speaking of Republican collapse …

    Senator Ted Stevens is found guilty on all counts!

    Now we know what Sarah Palin will be doing after the lction … running for the Senate in Alaska … priming the pump, as it were, for 2012.

  16. Robert
    Posted October 27, 2008 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

    I’m a little more afraid of Hitlers and Stalins than I am of FDRs, but I don’t want to split hairs here.

  17. mark
    Posted October 27, 2008 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

    I’m envisioning a Sarah Palin / Ashley Todd ticket in 2012.

    So, here’s a question for debate… When did the Republican party jump the shark?

    Did it happen with the election of the little cowboy Bush in 2000? Or was it before that? Was there perhaps some piece of legislation pursued in order to curry favor with the likes of Pat Robertson? What was the specific incident when it all turned south? And no fair going back before 1980.

  18. egpenet
    Posted October 27, 2008 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

    I think it was the “Contract With America” … which ultimately fell apart, but which created an evangelical tsunami within the party. Bush, who has no spirituality, was just an empty suit attempting to carry the torch … but it was a hollow call, as we discovered soon after 9/11.

    We went to war with the wrong parties for no good reason … again.

  19. Robert
    Posted October 29, 2008 at 2:08 am | Permalink

    Rumors of the Republican Party’s death are greatly exaggerated. Besides, regardless of what happens to that party specifically, the 30% of the electorate who goose stepped with the Bush Cabal are not going to just evaporate into thin air, and you can count on them never becoming sane. Their numbers are growing, and they will soon be back to make an even more frightening run at it.

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