My last post-election screed of the week
It’s occured me that this little essay, which I posted on Facebook today, probably should also be posted on this blog, which has a much wider readership:
I think the biggest problem facing some of our conservative Republican friends in the wake of this latest election is trying to get their minds around the fact that America is not what they thought it is.
America is not as white as it used to be. Nor do white men rule the roost in this country as universally as they once did. Nor does America hew to the kind of Christian orthodoxy that some people think it should.
In five of the past six presidential elections, liberal Democratic candidates have carried the popular vote. In the election of this past Tuesday, Democratic candidates for president and for seats in the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate received more votes overall than their Republican rivals. What’s more, gay rights and liberalization of drug laws were advanced by voters in several states. And the political gender gap between men and women grew to 20 percentage points, a record high.
This isn’t the America it used to be. And it’s never going to be. If Republicans can’t face that inescapable fact, their party is doomed in the long run. The changing demographics of this country are not on their side. The GOP has to change if it is to survive. There’s historic precedent for it to change. There was a time when it was the party of Lincoln and the party of civil rights for blacks and women. But then it embraced the segregationists who wanted an alternative to the Democratic Party’s increasingly liberal stance on civil rights. The GOP adopted a so-called Southern strategy. And now it finds itself a party whose strongholds are mainly confined to the South and parts of the sparsely-populated Great Plains and Mountain West.
To make matters even worse for the GOP, it’s also become the anti-science party, rejecting mainstream scientific theories regarding climate change and evolution. That’s a political dead end. Such benighted attitudes can win favor only among the lesser-educated elements of the populace. Republican politicians who know better should summon the courage to fight against such ignorance.
I say all this because I want the Republican Party to come to its senses. I want it to offer reasonable counterpoint to some of the tendencies of the Democrats. I want our two-party system to survive and thrive. I want creative and intelligent tension between the parties.
Mostly, I want Republicans to abandon their foolish pledge to “take our country back,” which only begs the unsettling question: “Back to what?”