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Posted by on Mar 26, 2013 in Featured, Politics | 8 comments

Who Killed the Republican “New Majority?”

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The question is coming up: who killed the Republicans’ highly touted “New Majority?”

Conservative columnist and former Nixon administration member Pat Buchanan, who has been the source of intense controversy over the years, offers an interesting take. Buchanan has had a lower media profile since MSNBC dropped him in 2012 after his latest book was called racist by some, a charge Buchanan strongly denied, and critics went after him for some past statements over the years. But his analysis here contains main elements that nail it.

To be sure, Democrats and some independents will dismiss some of his analysis because of how he characterizes some things. For instance, immigrants coming here to get things for free and therefore favoring the Democratic Party. Yes, we’ve heard this a zillion times from Republicans including MItt Romney. But the broader points he makes, if you leave out the way he defines some of them politically, make sense.

And in the end? He does NOT offer some magic panacea for his party. He doesn’t berate them to take one course or another. His bottom line is that America has changed, demographics change and the GOP is basically screwed if it offers the same product – and screwed if it changes it.

First, he calls President Richard Nixon “who picked up the pieces of the party after Goldwater’s defeat had left Republicans with just a third of the House and Senate” the “Frank Lloyd Wright of the New Majority.”

In 1966, Nixon led the GOP back to a stunning victory, picking up 47 House seats. In 1968, he united the Rockefeller and Reagan wings and held off an October surge by Hubert Humphrey, which cut a 13-point Nixon lead to less than a point in four weeks.
In 1966, Nixon led the GOP back to a stunning victory, picking up 47 House seats. In 1968, he united the Rockefeller and Reagan wings and held off an October surge by Hubert Humphrey, which cut a 13-point Nixon lead to less than a point in four weeks.

In 1972, Nixon swept 49 states. The New Majority was born. How did he do it?

Nixon sliced off from FDR’s New Deal coalition Northern Catholics and ethnics — Irish, Italians, Poles, East Europeans — and Southern Christian conservatives. Where FDR and Woodrow Wilson had won all 11 Southern States six times, Nixon swept them all in ’72. And where Nixon won only 22 percent of the Catholic vote against JFK, he won 55 percent against George McGovern in 1972.

What killed the New Majority?

Here are his key points:

First, there was mass immigration, which brought in 40 to 50 million people, legal and illegal, poor and working class, and almost all from the Third World. The GOP agreed to the importation of a vast new constituency that is now kicking the GOP into an early grave.

Many will disagree with the second sentence, but clearly immigration has changed the overall national context.

Second came party acquiescence in dropping half the nation off the income tax rolls, while making half dependent on government for food assistance, income support, rent, health care and the education of their kids from Head Start through Pell Grants.
The Romney, talk show host, argument. And, yes, he asks the predictable GOP question about why those folks would vote for a party that won’t give them all these supposed goodiees.

Third, to accommodate its K Street bundlers, the GOP embraced globalism, empowering Corporate America to shed its U.S. labor force, move its plants to Mexico, Asia and China, bring its foreign-made goods back to the USA free of charge and pocket the difference.

Profits, stocks, dividends soared. But the Reagan Democrats of industrial America — who paid the price in lost jobs and shuttered plants from the $10 trillion in trade deficits America has run since George H. W. Bush — have now gone home to the party of their fathers. And they are not coming back.

Spot on: the emergence of the Reagan Democrats have solidify the changes Nixon made — changes that also are known as the “Southern strategy,” which the GOP’s critics say also gave racism a home and figleaf in the GOP.

Fourth, rather than bringing the troops home after our Cold War triumph and telling our allies the free rides were over, Bush I and II went crusading for a “New World Order” to “end tyranny in our world.”

Cut out the buzzwords “new world order” and he is correct: despite what some Republicans may still argue, history will not be kind to George W. Bush in particular. The battle isn’t over Republicans and what they think of the GOP. The battle will over what swing moderates, independents, centrists, and in particularly younger voters will think — and their views will not be shaped by Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity but by historians.

Yet, one matter over which the GOP had no control is the triumph of the counterculture.

What might be called the old morality — that abortion is the killing of an unborn child, an abomination, that homosexuality is unnatural and immoral — has been relegated by scores of millions, especially among the young, to the dark ages of the 20th century.

Buchanan is correct about a shift — but it’s more than just on the controversial issue of abortion. It’s a shift in world view, a generational shift in perceptions of the right to privacy, and a growing belief that individuals should be able to make an individual choice without being penalized or hampered by government restrictions on some private matters. It’s seen on abortion, gay rights, the move to legalize marijuana and many other issues.

And his conclusion?

What can the GOP do about this? Nothing.

What will the GOP do? Probably what comes naturally — declare itself “tolerant” and respectful of all views, pro-life and pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage and pro-traditional marriage.

Reality must be faced. A generation has grown up rejecting the truths that its grandparents lived. And while population growth among our native born halted decades ago, scores of millions have come in from abroad to fill the empty spaces. And they are still coming. They like what Big Government has to offer, and seem uninterested in what the GOP has to sell.

In that case, you try harder to sell your product, change your product, or go out of business.

Yet, if the GOP changes its product, it may just lose its most loyal customers.

When the obituary of the party is written, the subhead will likely read “Dead of Self-inflicted Wounds.”

Self-inflicted, perhaps. And also a sign of a changing America that won’t sit still for those who want it as it is now — or year for how it was was 20 or 30 or (for that guy seemingly defending slavery at CPAC) two centuries ago.

But on a good chunk of Buchanan’s analysis of the GOP’s problem on its product I need to say:

Ditto.

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