The Majority Party?

William Kristol has an excellent article in the Weekly Standard arguing that, building on their rhetorical references to Roosevelt and Truman, the Republicans can solidify their position as majority party by explicitly appealing to Democrats who favor the muscular Truman-Scoop Jackson foreign policy tradition.

A minority party becomes a majority party by absorbing elements of the other party, changing them and itself. On taxes and crime and welfare, the GOP has won over much of FDR’s working class, while adjusting its stance to the welfare state. On social and cultural issues, the GOP has won over God-fearing Democrats while modifying its cultural disposition. Now is the moment to complete the realignment by embracing a robust and bipartisan patriotism. And there is the advantage that Ronald Reagan (who had been a Democrat) has already shown the GOP how to do this–how to be an all-American party, as it were, proud of American principle and willing to use American power.

This is, after all, the core of Bush’s foreign policy. It is what divides Bush and Kerry. To frame the choice in a big way–and then to win big–could make 2004 more than a transient electoral victory. It could establish the Republicans as a real majority party–as the Roosevelt-Reagan party, as the Truman-Bush party–with a governing majority and a governing doctrine that could shape America’s future.

What I find most intriguing, refreshing, and appealing about this tantalizing prospect is that it offers the Republicans a path to majority partydom without once mentioning race, ethnicity, growing numbers of Hispanics, miniscule numbers of black votes, etc. It suggests appealing to American citizens based on their interests and values as, well, American citizens.

Say What? (20)

  1. KRM September 5, 2004 at 5:51 pm | | Reply

    Winning big with a color-blind agenda might force the clients of the victimology party to get out of that game and simply become Americans (without hyphens). That would indeed be a great improvement.

  2. vnjagvet September 5, 2004 at 6:51 pm | | Reply

    I say “pick up the Sam Nunn Democrats”. Sam was strong on defense, pro small business/entrepreneur, and a fiscally conservative democrat who had no civil rights problems whatever because he had a broad African American constituency in Georgia. He got out while the getting was good. Zell Miller is very close to him philosophically.

    As Casey Stengel used to say, “you can look it up”. And you should.

  3. eh September 6, 2004 at 5:31 am | | Reply

    By all the “adjusting” and “modifying”, it could also be that the GOP is attracting more voters (significantly more? — remember Bush lost the popular vote in 2000) by abandoning its traditional ‘conservatism’ on many issues, effectively narrowing the differences between it and the Democrats.

    It is not hard to also find thoughtful essays espousing this somewhat Faustian view of GOP hijinks, as well as rueing the development.

  4. superdestroyer September 6, 2004 at 9:50 am | | Reply

    remember, demographics is destiny. The groups that vote overwhelming Democrat are growing. The groups that vote overwhelming Republican are shrinking.

    In twenty years the US will be a defacto single party state much like the District of Columbia is now. This may be the last election when Republicans have any chance of winning.

  5. ThePrecinctChair September 6, 2004 at 4:03 pm | | Reply

    I have to disagree, superdestroyer. As these same groups become more and more middle class, weare going to see a shift towrads the GOP.

    And heaven help us if the Democrats ever become th single-party power you postulate. We’ve seen what folks of their philosophy do when they obtain total power. Cambodia. China. Soviet Union. North Korea. Hopefully Americans are smarter than that.

  6. Nels Nelson September 6, 2004 at 4:32 pm | | Reply

    superdestroyer, regardless of how the demographics are trending (interesting Volokh Conspiracy post on this subject today), the losing party will either shift its positions or be supplanted by a new party.

    Isn’t there at least one point on which you disagree with your favored party? Suppose an opposing party emerged, identical to your party in all respects save that it agreed with you on that one particular issue. Wouldn’t you switch parties?

    Of course gerrymandering and byzantine election laws complicate matters, but that’s why we have the 2nd Amendment and, if it comes to it, activist judges, to protect us.

  7. eh September 7, 2004 at 5:25 am | | Reply

    As it is occurring today in the US, demographic change is a matter of immigration, which is a matter of law, which can be changed, i.e. the US need not commit de facto national suicide by allowing itself to become a majority non-white nation of nearly 500 million people around mid-century, which is where we’re currently heading.

    There is no reason at all to believe a significant number of current immigrants will ever join the middle class and/or vote Republican. Objective studies of national IQ data correlate nicely with economic development and prosperity around the world, and help explain why most Latin American nations (also Africa) are poor, despite resources that would seem to offer better: compare Japan, which has one of the highest national IQs (as well as relative cultural homogeneity), to Mexico; compare Iceland to Haiti. Which nations are sending the most immigrants to America? Who are these immigrants? What is their social profile? How have their predecessors faired? These are questions that can be answered, and should be asked. Before it is too late.

    The fact that California receives the lion’s share of the immigrant influx is not unrelated to its current problems: its growing gap between rich and poor, its almost permanent budget crisis, measured school outcomes among the worst in the nation, urban overcrowding and soaring housing costs, bulging prisons, etc. All of this helps explain why nearly 10% of California’s whites left the state between 1990 and 2000.

    Recent surveys showed the most watched evening newscast in the San Francisco Bay Area aired on a Spanish language channel.

    While craven politicians pander for ‘minority’ votes, the demographic heritage and national character of America is being destroyed.

    It is more than sad.

  8. superdestroyer September 7, 2004 at 7:27 am | | Reply

    All,

    The moving to the middle class has not caused ethnic Japanese, Chinese, Jews, or blacks to vote more Republican. Jews and blacks vote Democrat no matter their income.

    Also, the current election laws ensure that a third party cannot develop. Has Massachuetts or the District of Columbia developed parties to replace their ineffective Republicans? No, because the laws are built to ensure only two parties.

    I would suggest that what will really happen is that the Democrats will become dominate but will leave an ineffective Republican party around to have something to campaign against knowing that the Republicans will have no chance of winning outside of a few islands that are dominately republican like a Kansas or Oklahoma could be.

  9. Cobra September 7, 2004 at 12:01 pm | | Reply

    eh writes:

    “There is no reason at all to believe a significant number of current immigrants will ever join the middle class and/or vote Republican. Objective studies of national IQ data correlate nicely with economic development and prosperity around the world, and help explain why most Latin American nations (also Africa) are poor, despite resources that would seem to offer better: compare Japan, which has one of the highest national IQs (as well as relative cultural homogeneity), to Mexico; compare Iceland to Haiti.”

    I don’t understand your statement here. Is this a promotion of eugenics, or a statement that no intelligent or educated person would ever vote Democratic?

    “While craven politicians pander for ‘minority’ votes, the demographic heritage and national character of America is being destroyed”

    This last statement certainly isn’t a plea for “color-blindness.” Maybe you can fill me in on exactly what “demographic heritage” and “national character” is supposed to mean.

    I concur with Superdestroyer. Party philosophy, platform and ideology have more to do with minority voting than economic status.

  10. Stephen September 7, 2004 at 12:21 pm | | Reply

    What is happening now will continue to happen. The Democratic Party is in the midst of a long era of self-immolation. The race and nationality conscious politics of the Dems are destroying the party.

    The evidence is in the past 8 presidential elections and in the Republican majorities in the House and Senate. Even the most traditionally Republican bastions of New York and New York City have been in the hands of Republicans for multiple administrations. In NYC, nobody wants to return to the pre-Guiliani era. Five straight Democratic administrations failed in NYC because they would not stand up to thugs like Al Sharpton. Republicans have proved that this city can be governed and policed.

    In the Asian community in which I live, party affiliation is being re-thought day by day, as the quota system punishes Asians for their success. The black Baptist church I attend is a light unto the future. The gay, sex change obsessed wing of the Democratic party threatens to undo a long-standing alliance. As blacks become more successful, they develop the courage to stand up to the “race traitor” charges.

    No, the Democratic Party has been out of ideas for 30 years. Americans are smart enough to realize this. Screaming “racist” or “race traitor” at those who want to live in the present won’t stop this. The only thing that will stop the losses is for the Democratic Party to actually come up with an idea. If the party continues to listen to the stale racial rhetoric of Cobra and Super, the Democrats might as well forget about winning elections.

  11. Laura September 8, 2004 at 1:23 pm | | Reply

    eh: “…the US need not commit de facto national suicide by allowing itself to become a majority non-white nation of nearly 500 million people around mid-century….”

    Your trend would require the population of this country to just about double in 50 years. Virtually all of this would have to be immigrants, since AFAIK we aren’t replacing ourselves. This would be such a huge influx of immigration that the laws would almost certainly be adjusted long before we reach that stage. There’s already discussion about the pro’s and con’s of taking real steps to close our borders.

  12. Cobra September 8, 2004 at 3:10 pm | | Reply

    Those who TRULY desire a “color-blind” society really wouldn’t be concerned about living in a “majority non-white nation.”

    Or…would they?

    –Cobra

  13. Steve Sailer September 8, 2004 at 10:14 pm | | Reply

    Hmmmhmm, let’s see, William Kristol’s solution for our domestic dischord is to invade countries abroad. Sounds like General Galtieri’s plan for patching up his political standing in Argentina by invading the Falklands.

  14. Laura September 9, 2004 at 11:22 pm | | Reply

    Since I live in a majority non-white city, I don’t guess I’d notice any difference. I’m more interested in the doubling of the population that eh is suggesting. Don’t see it.

  15. eh September 10, 2004 at 5:38 am | | Reply

    [Is this a promotion of eugenics, ...]

    National immigration policy has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with eugenics.

    [... or a statement that no intelligent or educated person would ever vote Democratic?]

    ?

    If you’re interested, I’m sure you can find statistics on this.

    [Maybe you can fill me in on exactly what "demographic heritage" and "national character" is supposed to mean.]

    Think Founding Fathers. Before about 1970, when the 1965 Immigration Act began to really kick in, the US was 90% white.

    [I'm more interested in the doubling of the population that eh is suggesting.]

    You can view official US Census Bureau population projections here:

    http://www.census.gov/ipc/www/usinterimproj/

    Tables in the PDF files break the numbers down by race and ethnicity.

    [Since I live in a majority non-white city, ...]

    This one?

    http://www.lapdonline.org/get_involved/most_wanted/most_wanted_top10.htm

    [Don't see it.]

    I hope you’re right.

  16. Nels Nelson September 10, 2004 at 11:44 am | | Reply

    eh, if I believe that 4/3 = 2, and that less than half constitutes a majority, will the rest of what you’re saying start to make sense as well?

  17. Cobra September 10, 2004 at 3:13 pm | | Reply

    Eh writes:

    >>>”While craven politicians pander for ‘minority’ votes, the demographic heritage and national character of America is being destroyed.

    It is more than sad.”

    And his response to my question:

    [Maybe you can fill me in on exactly what "demographic heritage" and "national character" is supposed to mean.]

    >>>”Think Founding Fathers. Before about 1970, when the 1965 Immigration Act began to really kick in, the US was 90% white.”

    Interesting. Could please elaborate some more on your beliefs? And in the interest of keeping this thread on topic, I would like to know how many other Americans out there you think share your opinions, and finally, which political party do you feel best represents your positions?

    –Cobra

  18. Laura September 10, 2004 at 7:07 pm | | Reply

    eh: No.

    Cobra: “[W]hich political party do you feel best represents your positions?”

    Why are you asking him that? You hope he’ll say Republicans, right, so you can tar us all with the same brush?

  19. Cobra September 11, 2004 at 11:36 am | | Reply

    Laura,

    Why no, of course not! I’m just being a good blogger, and sticking to the TOPIC that John started in this thread.

    –Cobra

  20. eh September 13, 2004 at 1:02 pm | | Reply

    Yes, “tar”.

    http://www.vdare.com/fulford/southern_poverty_center.htm

    And — get this — in my spare time I’m mean to old ladies, children, and dogs.

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