By David Beilstein
COUPLE things grab the mind regarding the political autopsy republicans are performing on themselves following a stinging defeat, Tuesday, Nov. 6.
Much of this centres on changing demographics in America – Republicans have to find a way to siphon off more Hispanic votes, goes the wisdom of this age. The ancients warned about reasoning like that. Defeat causes demoralisation and demoralisation creates panic and flailing without thought.
Republicans and their voters are shell-shocked. Polls indicated an emerging Romney victory and historical political data predicted an Obama loss – possibly by a lot. This was not out of Republican desire for victory – or feelings – it was based on what typically happens when an incumbent president attempts reelection with the poll numbers Obama had.
But emotion and sentimentality obfuscate sound judgment. If the Republican Party desires to preserve a semblance of classical liberal formulations – turning those convictions into sound policy – it would be unwise to court Hispanic voters in a vacuum according to National Review’s Heather Mac Donald,
It is not immigration policy that creates the strong bond between Hispanics and the Democratic Party, but the core Democratic principles of a more generous safety net, strong government intervention in the economy, and progressive taxation.
America is broke. The more impoverished varying income levels become, the less America can afford every single item listed above by Ms Mac Donald. It is progressive taxation and it’s effects – steadily climbing if Democrat’s have their way – that atrophies the safety net Hispanics are depending on.
Strong intervention in the economy, also, created the financial collapse – in the process setting the environs for severe market dislocation amongst millions of Americans. Market dislocation has impacted Hispanics and Black Americans more than other demographics. Moreover, progressive efforts to insert strong government intervention in the economy also created the Obama economy – an economy where the gap between the rich and the poor has grown.
See California for details. Islands of the very wealthy and large populations of underprivileged whites, blacks, Hispanics, etc., litter the state.
And they voted to raise taxes on themselves. Oops.
If this is what Hispanics want in terms of political action, Republicans would be wise to oppose it. Compromise here, to win votes, and Republicans will simply be at the helm of worsening economic conditions for more Americans. In opposing such jackass statist policies, Republicans would not be opposing race; they would be opposing political theory that does not work.
Unless President Obama does what Bill Clinton did – welfare reform, reduction of tax burdens, reduction of corporate tax rates, and reduction in federal spending, the economy will not improve much. Wide scale joblessness will persist; dependency too, and anemic GDP growth will become routine.
The majority voted to continue that on Tuesday. Bad news.
Ms Mac Donald continues,
A March 2011 poll by Moore Information found that Republican economic policies were a stronger turn-off for Hispanic voters in California than Republican positions on illegal immigration. Twenty-nine percent of Hispanic voters were suspicious of the Republican Party on class-warfare grounds – “it favours only the rich”; “Republicans are selfish and out for themselves”; “Republicans don’t represent the average person” – compared with 7 percent who objected to Republican immigration stances.
The recent GOP big mouths huffing and puffing about the unpopularity of their immigration policy with Hispanics are clueless according to this data.
Class warfare works. The Democratic Party has successfully taken a mantra that used to lose in the face of landslides and has made it work effectively. Part of this effectiveness is, I believe, based upon economic doldrums taking place during popularly maligned Republican administrations in relatively short windows of time (Bush I and Bush II), effecting larger and larger voting blocks. Whereas Democrats, under Bill Clinton, and who was only president 12 years ago, had a roaring economy many Americans benefited from.
Communication problems abound. Barack Obama won the wealth vote:
In an election that often focused on debates about class warfare, President Barack Obama was favored over multimillionaire businessman Mitt Romney in eight of the nation’s 10 wealthiest counties.
John F. Kerry won the wealthiest counties against George W. Bush too. I have never heard Republican candidates for elected office use this against Democrats. While Republicans should have no problem with wealth – they should be able to communicate these facts routinely, offering a clarion rebuke to Democratic Party mischaracterisations festering in Hispanic enclaves.
It also would not hurt for Republicans to begin to illustrate Democratic policies are not creating economic equality for Americans (especially Democratic voters) – but economic decline. A grass roots demonstration. Classical liberalism must be taught all the time – not just during elections. President Ronald Wilson Reagan spent decades preparing for his 1980 landslide, honing his message and his presentation. He did not simply argue policy positions to voters. He educated them too.
Somewhere someone pointed out over at Reason magazine, communications, optics, and rhetoric all matters. People have seen the quotes from Ronald Reagan – from Barry Goldwater too. Obama digs into so many worthless platitudes it should not be hard for Republicans to be snappy when it comes to explicating classical liberal philosophy.
Republicans could use some personality too; personality consistent with its political convictions. It would be nice to have seen major Republican figures praise Colorado’s decision to legalise marijuana as a victory for state’s rights – using that also to highlight Obama’s attacks upon federalism.
Sure, Colorado voted for Obama – but there were political lessons to be taught there. Clearly, following Tuesday’s result, voters need to be educated about what exactly classical liberalism is. And basic political economics (and there consequences) need to be retaught.