Has The Republican Party Secretly Given Up On Taking Back The White House?

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As anyone with even rudimentary math skills can figure out, the Republican Party’s chances of retaking the White House, at least by honest means, continue to diminish.

Two recent developments — the refusal of Senate Republicans to approve a modest extension of unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed and the House Republican leadership’s announcement that it won’t play ball on immigration reform this year — are slaps in the face of the middle class and Hispanics, two voting blocs that are fleeing the ever shrinking GOP in droves but it must curry favor with to win national elections.

Then there is the party’s jihad against the Affordable Care Act, which warts and all (and then have been plenty) is beginning to fulfill its promise of providing access to affordable health care for millions more Americans while lowering costs. In other words, with every passing month, more people benefit and the party’s high-decibel propaganda becomes a little more hollow.

Even given the Republican Party’s march ever deeper into the national electoral wilderness, even given its steady metamorphosis into an overwhelmingly white party that worships the rich and disparages the poor, the elderly and the infirm, even given its refusal to stop fighting the culture wars (same-sex marriage, abortion, and so on) that fewer and fewer voters care about, even given its predilection for faux attention-diverting scandals like Benghazi, Solyndra and the New Black Panthers, a thought occurs to me:

Although no one will dare say so publicly, the leaders of the Tea Party lunatic fringe that has become the tail that wags the party dog don’t care if the Oval Office remains out of the Republican grasp. Pushing a conservative agenda in Congress and on the state level is enough. This was all but confirmed in a New York Times article about Tea Party-backed PACs raising tons of money while PACs like moderate stalwart Karl Rove’s Crossroads are treading water. There was nary a peep about winning back the biggest prize of all. Toppling moderate stalwarts like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky was more important.

White House be damned.

* * * * *

One other factor makes my theory more plausible, or perhaps I should say less insane.

Having been burned badly with Mitt Romney, who was nominated in 2012 to face off against President Obama despite his questionable conservative bona fides, it is unlikely that the party will nominate anyone in 2016 who has even a faint whiff of moderation about him. (Yo diehards: Romney still would have lost the election if he had won the swing states of Florida, Ohio and Virginia.)

This no-fly list includes New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who despite my assertions here, may be mortally wounded by revelations that he took political bullying and New Jersey’s pay-to-play political culture to new heights.

(Meanwhile, for a list of lessons not learned in 2012 and since, check out “What Could Possibly Go Wrong?,” my take on the Romney-Ryan collapse.)

Beyond Little Ricky Santorum, whose claim to fame is that he was the last conservative clown standing in the Republican presidential primary clown car in 2012, the list of the party’s presidential wannabes is a Who’s Who of national unelectables. Heck, even Ronald Reagan would be unable to get the nomination if he were alive today.

* * * * *

Back to that math thing: The problem within the problem for the Republican Party is that because of its continuing refusal to compromise on anything on the national level while alienating vast swaths of voters, the Democrats begin the 2016 presidential race with 246 electoral votes. They are California (55), Connecticut (7), Delaware (3), District of Columbia (3), Hawaii (4), New Hampshire (4), Illinois (20), Maryland (10), Massachusetts (11), Maine (4), Minnesota (10), Michigan (16), New York (29), New Jersey (14), Oregon (7), Pennsylvania (20), Rhode Island (4), Vermont (3), Wisconsin (10) and Washington (12).

Sure, you can quibble about a couple of these states, but the fact remains that the Democrats’ traditional political base remains as solid as the Rock of Gibraltar and only 24 more electoral votes are needed to win it all.

Further complicating matters for Republicans is that political parties used to run on their accomplishments, but the GOP is unable to point to a single accomplishment since the eight year Bush-Cheney sinkhole. That is unless you consider attacks on the president, some of them thinly veiled racism, hindering efforts to jumpstart a still struggling economy and shutting down government to be accomplishments.

* * * * *

I settle my case.

Uh, not so fast there. Back to that “at least by honest means” thing: With ample assists from fabulously wealthy fascist oligarchs like the Koch Brothers, manipulating the rules of the game through laws to allow states to proportionally award their electoral votes to the popular vote winner in each congressional district, and a Supreme Court that has become a de facto arm of the Republican Party, anything is possible in 2016.

Still, for the time being, expect another Democratic landslide — and the possibility that key Republicans don’t give an elephant’s ass if that is the case.

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  • The_Ohioan

    No, they haven’t secretly given up. They have, not so secretly, been burrowing from within state legislatures preparatory to putting in the fix. From voter suppression to nearly eliminating, completely, women’s access to abortion, they have allowed the Tea Party to flourish. If they can keep electing Louie Gohmert’s to the House (and maybe the Senate*), they won’t need to worry about the presidency.

    *

    “Last night, I made up my mind,” (Glen) Beck declared. “I am going to camp outside of Louie Gohmert’s house if I have to, and I mean it. I am going to be Louie Gohmert’s worst nightmare until he says ‘yes, I’m going to run for Senate’.”

    Besides, they have the President hog tied and nearly incapable of performing the duties of his office so why be concerned? Of course there is that darn Supreme Court, but enough obdurate senators can handle that.

  • http://kikoshouse.blogspot.com SHAUN MULLEN, TMV Columnist

    The_Ohioan:

    Thank you for adding voter suppression to the list.

    Isn’t it (bitterly) ironic that the one-time Party of Lincoln understands that the fewer people who are allowed to vote — speaking of course of people of color specifically and lower incomes generally — the more the GOP benefits. In the short term.

    There is a transcendental evil to this — and one, for what it’s worth, that historians will note over and over in writing about the long, slow collapse of the Republican Party — that blows the minds of all of us who labored to enfranchise people and bring them into the American mainstream.

  • sheknows

    Thank you Shaun, I am in total agreement. The SC though is a huge obstacle. Thanks to voters suppression, redistricting, Citizens United, the Koch machine, not to mention the talk radio shows and Fox News as well as the not so impartial or helpful mainstream media, they still have themselves positioned for a very damaging strike.

    Having no one worthwhile to offer as presidential material has never stopped them before.

  • slamfu

    I don’t think the GOP has intentionally given up the White House, I’m sure most of them think they are doing exactly what they should be doing to win it. They live in a different world, one governed by the rules of Ayn Rand and Holy Scripture(despite the dissonance between those two), and in contradiction to the reality the rest of us, and them too for that matter, inhabit. As far as their chances of the White House,

    Having been burned badly with Mitt Romney, who was nominated in 2012 to face off against President Obama despite his questionable conservative bona fides, it is unlikely that the party will nominate anyone in 2016 who has even a faint whiff of moderation about him.

    I disagree. Mitt Romney came very close to winning. Moreover, he did so while making a major verbal flub, by himself or a major GOP player, almost every week. Romney was not only saying he was going to double down on Bush era policies but he even went so far as to write off 47% of the population, and still he came within a few points of winning. I contend that had the GOP nominated someone like Romney and simply had a campaign that didn’t produce a gaffe that insulted larges swathes of the American electorate so consistently, the GOP would have won that election. If they manage to do so in 2016, they have a solid shot and should definitely not be counted out. However, if their track record since 2012 is any indication, they don’t seem to be able to pull even that plan off. They are essentially run by ignorant, naive children.

  • JSpencer

    There is little I can add to the insightful post and comments except to say I remain amazed at how so many voters continue to fall prey to easy manipulation by interests who care nothing whatsoever about them.

  • cincyindep

    One thing that disillusioned me with the republican party was their willingness to ‘destroy the world (economy, credit rating, their own standing)’ rather than compromise on even the smallest issue. The conservative entertainment complex ruled the day with it’s false polls, pseudoscience, character assassinations and the twisting of truth towards a conservative point of view. There is no ‘DINO’ (democrat in name only) equivalent to what republicans are doing to themselves. The growing economy, shrinking unemployment, lower health care costs and other realities have to compete with the flashy presentation, dramatic music and alarmism of the false prophets of the conservative entertainment complex.

    But,that’s America! :)
    The only good thing is that to believe some of that stuff, you have to be a bit of a nut and then that nuttiness does tend to come out eventually. I actually think a moderate will be the next republican nominee. I hesitate to name any moderates at the current posting <.<

  • sheknows

    This probably sounds crazy, but I have often wondered how that could be. I mean of course, how Mitt could have been so close in the race after all the obvious, numerous and despicable flip-flops, after the 47% speech which should and WOULD have sunk any presidential candidate, after the Republicans not even promoting a true platform during his candidacy( most all of it was anti-dem..nothing pro-cons), and his own bugaboos with Bain Capital and not supporting the auto industry bailout etc., The general stupid comments by the Republicans about rape, equal pay for women, anti-immigration…I mean it just goes on and on.
    Now, knowing all of this, and knowing that as a party they are a minority in this country…it seems more feasible that someone, somewhere wants the American people to believe the R party is still viable( when we are clearly having a contradictory view today.)

    If Obama had won by a landslide, that might be the end of the R party. That would disrupt the powers that be that want us all to be at each other’s throats for their own agenda.
    Clearly, the R’s aren’t getting any smarter and they are not trying to correct any problems in their appeal to the masses…so who keeps pouring money into them..and for what reason? Just musing…….
    I just have always found that “close race” finding hard to swallow.

  • http://kikoshouse.blogspot.com SHAUN MULLEN, TMV Columnist

    sheknows:

    “Close” is a relative thing. Obama won by an electoral college landslide and the popular vote margin was not Bush-Gore close, not by a long shot. Some votes accrued to Romney simply because of an anti-Washington, anti-Obama backlash.

    I, among others, want a viable Republican Party because the Democrats, in their own way, are feckless and corrupt, and there has to be a strong two-party system nationally for things to work — however half-assedly — in the long run.

    Strength does not come through disenfranchising voters, rigging the game and refusing to govern, so while the GOP may back door a White House win through vile means in a future presidential election, I don’t see them doing so the old-fashioned way — by earning it.

  • Willwright

    The mistake here might be that we are assuming that the GOP is a rational organization capable of rational thoughts and actions. There are rational people there but at the moment its not clear if they or the crazies will win out in the end. It might take a couple of more election cycles for this to play out. If they really get thumped in the next couple of presidential elections the GOP will either move towards the center or risk being reduced to regional party that only matters in a few southern states.

  • rudi

    While the Republican’s may not win a POTUS election, they will win elections for the US Senate and HOR. The 2010 elections and census guaranteed there relevance till 2020.

  • sheknows

    Rudi…I have to believe the American people are more intelligent than that. Why would people vote in a Dem pres and Rep everything else? Do they LIKE no action? Do they LIKE dysfunction? These are the same people who give Congress a 9% favorability..and that includes Republicans in polls.
    Somehow, I do not think that will happen. I think people WANT to get things done. Gerrymandering will be a problem, but Dems across the country( from all my emails) are already really geared up for this one.