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Archive for November, 2012

“Demography is Destiny” ~Auguste Comte

Posted by penuruloki on November 8, 2012

It’s normal after an election for the defeated party to take stock of the situation, figure out what went wrong, and figure out what changes to make. Too moderate? Too far to the left/right? Paying too much or too little attention to one segment of the coalition or another? This year’s immediate response among Republicans seems to split in a different fashion than I’ve seen in previous years. There seems to be a strong split between those who take an almost sporting approach to politics, and those who take an ideological approach to politics.

The sportsmen of the party are already discussing “the bench” for 2016, how to shake up the playbook (which issues to abandon; which new positions to take), and who they want to recruit onto the team. They’re looking for a new formula for victory.

The idealogues are focused on the fact that even with as poorly as the country is doing, as unfavorable as the status quo is going into the election, and much compromise and effort they already made, the voters sent the same people back to work. Under conditions about as good as Republicans could hope for, they could not convince voters to support a change. Given that, there is now a serious question about whether there is now any chance for a real victory; that is, is it even possible any more to preserve a future for the country that is recognizable to the center-right coalition that forms the base of the party? If winning elections involves abandoning the ideal underlying the platform, then why bother?

Much of the explanation for the election results has been derived from the Comte quote above. The electoral divide along racial, ethnic, and gender lines has generated a shifting electorate as the demographic mix has shifted. We usually discuss this in terms of immigration, the people entering into the country. The new, less optimistic discussion now taking place, is broaching the subject of emmigration; now we’re talking about the people who will leave it.

There’s been a great deal of talk in the past few years the situation in California, and its impact the country as a whole. California is a now a single-party fiscal basket case. Cities and towns are cutting services to the bone to pay debts and pension promises. They voted against a Republican with business experience promising fiscal and economic reform in 2010 (a wave year for Republicans) and embraced their liberal socialist path. The state has lost population since 2005 (vs a net increase of ~10 million for the previous 20 years), as people leave to find jobs and get away from taxes and overregulation. The only solution to the state’s problems offered by politicians in the capital is to raise taxes on the rich.

There is a very real possibilty now that California represents the future of the country as a whole.

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