Republican Karl Rove has been forced to go on an apology tour on conservative television and radio channels after his calls over two weeks ago for Republicans to devise new strategies to elect better candidates in primaries went down poorly with the religious right and Tea Party.
However, perhaps the Republican party should thank Rove for highlighting a significant issue that has gone under the radar for far too long.
The Republicans have a tough future ahead with Republican voters getting more conservative while moderates grow increasingly liberal. Thus, candidates without logical platforms but who are able to drop into speeches feel-god phrases like ‘faith,’ ‘God,’ and ‘American values’ are able to win primaries, particularly in religious right states. This is why Rick Santorum, with his lack of a foreign policy or economic platform, stood a significant chance of winning the Republican primaries this year.
Come election time, though, these candidates flounder when faced up against their Democrat counterparts.
The fact of the matter is that Democrat constituents, on the whole, are more close to center than Republican constituents. Thus, Democrats are able to nominate moderate candidates in their primaries with better chances at office.
The future does not look good for the Republicans. With greater immigration into the United States and a potential for illegal immigrants to get legalized, swing voters will get increasingly liberal. In response, instead of growing more liberal along with the rest of voters, the Republican party is instead growing increasingly more conservative as their support base ages.
The choices available to Republicans are few and far between. Rove’s proposal of SuperPAC’s trying to swing the Republican primary votes in favor of more moderate candidates seems unlikely to work. Voters will necessarily vote along their belief systems. Thus, the only possible solution to this plague on the Republican party is to change the mindset of their constituents.
The Republican party needs to adopt a new platform, one far more liberal on social issues but remaining equally conservative on economic issues. In effect, this would create a platform similar to the Libertarian party though noticeably more conservative on social issues and more liberal on economic issues. This platform would succeed because the fiscal conservatism of the Republican party is a negotiable; in fact, it is the most appealing part of the Republican platform, more popular even than the Democrat’s economic platform. However, the entire U.S. electorate, aside from the minority religious right, opposes the Republican social issues platform. In fact, even many Republican supporters support the party only in spite of its social policies.
The Republicans should not take their recent presidential loss lightly; they should learn from their recent mistakes and alter their party platform in the hopes of greater political success in the future.