Thursday, November 08, 2012

Is the Republican Party too crazy and too extreme to address its electoral problems?

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Oh, Republicans, what ever are you going to do after such a thrashing?

Here's the headline at Politico: "Election aftermath: GOP soul-searching: 'Too old, too white, too male'?"

I appreciate that some Republicans -- those not lingering in delusion, bitterness, and vicious bile -- are in the early stages of what one hopes will be a prolonged period of soul-searching, trying to figure out what the hell went wrong and what the hell the party can to do recover, but I doubt even such genuine self-examination will be comprehensive enough to capture the dysfunction of today's Republican Party and its disconnection from reality.

"The conservative movement should have particular appeal to people in minority and immigrant communities who are trying to make it," says Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, already a leading contender for the nomination in 2016, "and Republicans need to work harder than ever to communicate our beliefs to them."

"Our party needs to realize that it's too old and too white and too male and it needs to figure out how to catch up with the demographics of the country before it's too late," says Al Cardenas, head of the far-right American Conservative Union. "Our party needs a lot of work to do if we expect to be competitive in the near future."

Indeed it does. But is it really just too old and too white and too male, and is it really just a matter of reaching out to "minority and immigrant communities"?

Well, in part, yes.

But how about too theocratic, too anti-woman, too anti-science, too pro-1%, and just generally too crazy and too extreme?

Far be it from me to advise the right, but what the Republican Party needs, if it is to be competitive given changing demographics in the Democrats' favor and the liberalization of the electorate and of American society generally, is a sense of self-awareness that requires the sort of humility, openness, and toleration that is sorely lacking in the party.

I think it's a safe prediction that Republicans on the whole won't learn any of the hard lessons of 2012.

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