Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Presidency-Who Needs It? Not The GOP

A Republican strategist, in the waning days of the 2012 election, told Ron Brownstein “This is the last time anyone will try to do this” — “this” being a presidential campaign that tries to assemble a majority almost entirely through white votes."

Despite what turned out to be the Romney teams over-optimism, based on their own faulty polls (even though Nate Silver's polls, which they disregarded would have disabused them) it appears that the unnamed strategist is correct. Here is the Romney teams battle plan.

"Obama’s strategic equation defines Mitt Romney’s formula: 61/74. Romney’s camp is focused intently on capturing at least 61 percent of white voters. That would provide him a slim national majority—so long as whites constitute at least 74 percent of the vote, as they did last time, and Obama doesn’t improve on his 80 percent showing with minorities.

On its face, the math is tougher for Romney. If he reaches 61 percent among whites, he would equal the best performance ever for a Republican presidential challenger with that group of voters: Dwight Eisenhower in 1952, Ronald Reagan in 1980, and George H.W. Bush in 1988 each won between 56 percent and 61 percent of white voters, according to polls at the time.
If white voters maintain their 2008 share of the vote, that in itself would represent a significant shift. Whites have declined as a portion of the electorate in every presidential election since 1992, according to exit polls."

A detailed examination of the actual election results at The National Journal  showed that Romney actually did match the massive 61% of white voter support but unfortunately for his hopes the decline of Whites as a percentage of the electorate continued on its seemingly inexorable decline.

On the other hand, and clearly totally unexpectedly for Romney, the level minority support for President Obama stayed at 80%. Crucially, a slight decline amongst Blacks for Obama in Florida was slightly more than matched by a switch from Cuban Americans to the Democrats, which enabled Obama to squeak in by less than 1%. With Florida gone the election was gone. In Ohio the Black support for Obama, at massive levels in 2008 even managed to tick up.

Sean Trende at Real Clear politics sees a path to Republican victory even with the non-White vote staying at such high levels. This involves getting the "missing Whites" (Perot voters) to turn out in their millions next time. Unfortunately for that premise, there would also have to be a concomitant reversal in the decline in Whites as percentage of the voting electorate which seems impossible given current and future demographics.

For the GOP Establishment, the answer is to make an appeal to Black voters. Prying even a relativity small percentage from the Democrats, perhaps easier next time without Obama as a candidate, would offset the White participation decline and, in tandem with the Perot-ites, might give a majority.

Is that a reasonable proposition? Hardly if the perusal of recent articles in some Black journals is any indication. The degree of antagonism and antipathy towards White Republicans is striking. The apparent perception of the Tea Party "Confederate flag wavers at a Black family in the White House" amongst Blacks simply reinforces such views.

That it is unfair, and broad brushes groups based on individual actions, shows how much resentment has clouded judgement. What possible appeal to universal brotherhood will reverse generations of economic and social adherence to the Democrat's?  No appeal to reason based on the examples of Detroit, where years of corrupt Democrat rule worked against the best interests of the Black community, can overcome perceived racial antagonisms. Whether Blacks will turnout for a non-Black candidate in the same numbers remains to be seen (Hillary might be "owed" the same level of support that was given to Barack Obama) but any decline may be matched by the seemingly inexorable White participation decline.

With the Hispanic community racial pride could in fact work for the GOP if the 2016 ticket included an Hispanic man or woman, of which their is a wealth of prospects. That may make the difference in Florida, but Ohio,Virginia and Colorado are still required. 

Longer term, with race antagonism less marked amongst Hispanics than Blacks, the usual shift from low to middle income will work the same way it did for waves of Italian and Irish immigrants. Initially staunch Democrat's they, and other immigrant groups, are now found in great numbers in the conservative ranks as well.

For the foreseeable future in presidential elections the Republicans look to face, in any or all combinations, a Black/female/Gay/lesbian/Hispanic opponent. If that were the case it could take 40 years for the "first" element to work itself out and for the associated incentives to women/minorities/LGBT to turn out in record numbers to recede.

In the short to medium term if demographics, race, sexual preference perceptions and attractions, allied to declining White numbers, not to mention the possibility of millions of lower income Hispanics franchised in an amnesty, prove it impossible for the Republicans to win the popular vote in a presidential election, then the question arises-why bother?

Such continuous divorce from the presidency for a major political party is nothing new. In the six elections 1800 to 1820 the Federalist party lost every time to the Jeffersonian Democratic Republicans. In the nine elections from 1824 to 1856 the Jacksonian Democratic party won six election to various Whigs and J. Q. Adams three.

The most striking example of one party utterly dominating the presidential field is seen in the Republicans electoral triumphs. In the 18 presidential elections across 68 years

the GOP won 14 times. Only the two non-consecutive Grover Cleveland and the Two Woodrow Wilson elections interrupted Republican rule. In fact, were it not for the Teddy Roosevelt/Taft split in 1912, it is possible that Wilson would not have been elected.

In modern times, and partly because of extraordinary circumstances depression/war, the Democrats won every election from 1932 to 1948.

From 1860, with the two party system settled between Republicans and Democrats, and through periods of near total one party presidential election dominance did the opposition party disappear-of course not.

Working in exact accordance with the Madisonian system of checks and balances near total presidential dominance was balanced by the opposition party holding either the House or Senate or both. From the 44th congress in Grant's second term to the 54th in Cleveland's second term the opposition, mostly Democrat's, held at least the House or Senate or there was a tie.

In the Eisenhower and Nixon Republican landslides the Democrats, except for Eisenhower's 84th Congress, held both houses and even under Reagan/Bush presidencies the Democrat's held the House for all twelve years.

Did either party collapse or fracture never to be seen again (apart from the one off Taft/Roosevelt 1912 split) of course not.
Did the presidential dominance of first the Republicans and then the Democrats give them unfettered legislative capacity?
Perhaps it can be fairly said that the Franklin D.Roosevelt
administration came the closest to legislative dominance and was able to bring a new welfarism.

However, even with the Democrats having huge control of the Senate and House, the checks and balance system still held sway with the Supreme Court acting as a conservative stop of too radical legislation. So much so that President Roosevelt undertook to remove this blockage by "packing" the court. Further, even within his own party there were checks and balances with the Southern Democrats having their own agenda and the labour union leadership able to remove the too radical Vice-president Henry Wallace.

The Obama administration's inability to have any radical agenda put through, except for its health care law which only passed because a Republican senator switched sides,
shows that control of the House is all the GOP needs to stop a liberal president. As long as 60 votes are needed in the senate even if the Democrats have majority there the GOP has a measure of control.

What then is the problem with uninterrupted Democratic control of the presidency? Yes the Supreme Court will end up with a liberal majority, but the social issues have all been won by the left or will shortly be so-abortion/same-sex marriage/Marijuana usage are clearly headed towards full legalization (whether one agrees with them or not).

That ambassadorships will go to Democrats is of no worry to most people. Foreign policy moves on under Republican and Democrat administrations wars are fought, drones are used, allies are spied upon, mistakes are made but the Republic still stands.

What does matter is the national debt, welfare dependency, an ageing population and creating the best possible environment for business growth and thus employment growth. Control of the House is crucial not only as a check against a Democrat president but to reverse the mad growth in debt.

If, for the foreseeable future the Republicans put all their efforts, especially the financial, into holding their current and growing their future House majority that may be the most sensible answer to the seemingly unbeatable demographic challenge at the presidential level. Further, good governance will encourage more states to elect conservative legislatures and Governors which will feed back into more House seats being won. 

Certainly the GOP should put up decent candidates for the presidential elections and, with the foreknowledge that Electoral College victory is near impossible, it is an opportunity to have the most conservative candidates possible who can elucidate conservative economic and social welfare policy. The Establishment's "we must have a centrist "winnable" candidate" can be quietly laid to rest as irrelevant.

If an unforeseen economic collapse like 1932, or some other "black swan" event happens which causes a future Democrat administration to be so unpopular that it is unelectable then the winning of the presidency would be welcome. But if it doesn't happen a new division of America along state and House lines can satisfy conservatives ambitions.


The NationalJournal: Obama Needs 80% of Minority Vote to Win 2012 Presidential Election

The National Journal: "Why Republicans can't win with Whites alone"

The Guardian: Republicans rise in states as national GOP sinkshttp://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/oct/22/republicans-rise-states-national-gop-sinks

Wikipedia: Party divisions of United States Congresses
Real Clear Politics: Sean Trende 

Demographics and the GOP, Part IV


Real Clear Politics: Sean Trende  

Yes, the Missing Whites Matter


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