Friday, August 23, 2013

How The Republicans Could Win In 2016

Steve M knows how: run a nominee who actually wants to run the country for all the citizens, not someone who “terrifies and infuriates” Democrats.

…what is it with Republicans and their obsessive quest for the ultimate Dem-destroying nominee? Dave Weigel alluded to this during the 2012 primaries, back when Newt Gingrich was temporarily riding high:

When he talks to Republicans, especially to Republican voters who may not be inclined to back him, Newt Gingrich wins them over with a promise. He will outsmart Barack Obama. He will challenge him to “seven Lincoln-Douglas-style debates,” as he said last week at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s confab. The president can even “use a teleprompter,” jokes Gingrich. It’s one of the tightest punchlines in conservative politics.

… [Republicans have] started to imagine him facing off against Barack Obama, the president they consider a pure media creation who can’t put two words together unless they’re in blue type on a screen in front of him….

Then again, before that, the same voters felt that way about Herman Cain. And, before that, about Donald Trump and Sarah Palin. And many of them hope that Trump or Ben Carson or Allen West or Cruz will be the nominee, just because they talk a lot of trash about Democrats and liberals.

Now, granted, the people who embody these wingnut hopes haven’t actually won the Republican nomination. But they drive the eventual winner very, very far to the right, and quite possibly (in 2008 and 2012) to defeat.

Democrats don’t do any of this. Even Democrats who hope a progressive champion will fight for the nomination primarily want someone who’ll embody progressive values, not bash our enemies. If we wanted an enemy-basher, there’d be an Alan Grayson for president movement as large as the Cruz cult.

The basic difference between the two parties is that Republicans do not want to govern, they want to rule.  They see power as their God-given right, and anyone who is not one of them as illegitimate and a usurper.  And even when they have a president who makes a feint in the direction of outreach to the other side or minorities, such as George W. Bush did when he talked about immigration reform, they either suspect him of going soft or they try to capitalize on it with ham-handed results (see below).

This is not to say that the Republicans couldn’t win in 2016.  They could if they found someone who can pull off the balancing act of sounding reasonable enough to the soft gooey center without fracturing the easily-crazed outer layer.  But it’s like trying to eat the stuffing out of an Oreo without breaking the chocolate layers.  So far, the candidates that have emerged would use a sledgehammer.

5 barks and woofs on “How The Republicans Could Win In 2016

  1. I don’t see any of the potential GOP candidates being able to both satisfy their base and still garner support from the middle. The party has been pushed so far right by hard line supporters that moving towards the middle leaves them still in far right territory, and pisses off the base as a sign of weakness. Yeah, they may be able to hold on to the House, and may gain in the Senate, but the Office of the President is gonna be a unattainable goal as long as they keep bashing potential supporters – the rhetoric may play well to their base, but drives the target of it far, far away.

    • The modern GOTea has a distinct choice: win the primary and lose the general, or risk losing the primary and appeal to the general electorate. It wouldn’t be such a stark choice – and such a risk – to be more moderate without Fauxnews driving their “information.”

  2. The basic difference between the two parties is that Republicans do not want to govern, they want to rule. They see power as their God-given right, and anyone who is not one of them as illegitimate and a usurper.

    THIS. Precisely this. It’s the 21st century and they want to restore the Roman Empire, or Tsarist Russia. Trouble is, with all the “takers” whinging, they sound more like Marie Antoinette than they do Peter the Great, and with all the Xtian posturing more like Philip II or Charles II than Catherine or Henry IV. All the insistence on good, strong leadership – and all the weaknesses of spoiled children. It won’t end well (at least for them).

  3. The basic difference between the two parties is that Republicans do not want to govern, they want to rule. They see power as their God-given right, …

    Democrats should learn a lesson from that: by and large, Americans do not want the extreme positions the GOP would coerce them to live with. Few women want to submit (in the fundamentalist usage of the word) to their husbands. Most people want steady work at a good job. Most Americans are willing to pay reasonable taxes for good schools for their children, safe food on their tables, etc. Few Americans, even devout Christian Americans, really want to live in a hardcore theocracy. Surveys show it: what the GOP is selling, the voters aren’t buying.

    The correct response isn’t rocket science: find out what Americans really want in their most reasonable frame of mind… and offer it to them. People who have not totally succumbed to Republican scare tactics often find, to their surprise, that deep down they are Democrats. Democrats should let GOPers run on fear and uncertainty, and rather than replying in kind, Democrats should offer what people demonstrably really want. For all Obama’s shortcomings, his instinct to run on Hope was right on target, and his successor must do the same.

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