Is the GOP Doomed To Survive?

Republican candidates evidently cannot save the GOP. But the voters sure can. And in some respects, the Republican salvation may be underway already. Too bad the candidates will never figure it out.

The Republican Party does not know how to save itself from extinction.

How about that for an attention-grabbing opening statement, eh? But events of the last three weeks show that Republican voters pretty much know what needs to be done, while the actual politicians they elect stand in the corner of the panic room screaming and flapping hysterically.

This might strike you as bad news, but relax—the Republicans are not going out like their Whig ancestors. In fact, the Grand Old Party is going to survive much like it always has since 1860; it’s the Democrats—who continually get taken over by a new generation of whackjobs—who should be worried.

There are two things that are going to happen in the GOP’s favor that (a) will materialize from the voters as always and (b) the Republican party figures cannot comprehend in their stubborn ignorance.

But first the bad news. The GOP stands an excellent chance of being defeated in 2016 by the whirlwind politics of the Democrats. Look—let’s face it—the Democrats know how to win elections. The Republicans have lost 5 of the last 6 popular votes, and the Senate has remained in Democratic hands since 2006.

So why haven’t Democrats won the House? Well, that’s actually part of the good news: why is it that Americans hate hate hate Congress but continue voting Republicans into the House? Because Americans do not hate their representatives. They hate yours. Actually, they hate everybody else’s. But they love their own rep.

Real quick: despite poll after poll revealing that Americans loathe Congress as a body, they actually like their own rep. In other words, they may have a 14% approval for the House, but the local rep probably enjoys 70+% approval. Why? He’s from there. He gets it. The wacky Democratic districts vote in wacky Democrats. The libertarian districts vote in the libertarian guy. The centrist Republicans vote in centrist Republicans, and so on. You wind up with an inchoate mess of competing and hostile personalities, but their Rep? Well, he or she is one of us. Gobble gobble.

And that is the first reason voters will save the Republican Party. They are doing it already: the GOP gained representative seats, and there are more Republican governors now than at any time since the 1920s.

Republicans may lose the presidency in 2016 and 2020, but will begin winning innumerable local elections. This even jives with exit polling: as a group, more Americans seem to like big government and self-destructive spending sprees and a stupid economy; as individuals, most Americans want smaller government and less spending and deep cuts. And they are doing it by voting in increasing numbers for local Republican candidates.

Over time, Republicans could dominate state legislatures, retain dominance over the governorships, and continue to lead in the US House. Cities and counties might remain led by Democrats, but eventually the Republicans will be making most statewide decisions.

Will this work? You are already seeing it: the States are banding together in increasing numbers to block Obamacare exchanges. States are adopting right-to-work positions to squeeze or decimate public unions. States are moving fast on a variety of social issues. Schools are under pressure by school boards to reform or perish.

Yeah, but will this really work? Indeed—how do you think the Democrats went from being mayors and county board presidents and the odd Senator or President? They began cornering local elections in the 1960s and 1970s. We know the strategy has been means-tested. Eventually, in decades, the Democrats should have an ineffectively small pool of clown candidates running for federal offices—precisely as the Republicans are stuck fielding election after election today. We just don’t have enough good choices.

So the first way the Republican voters will save the Party is by acting and voting locally to win the ground war.

The second way? You’re actually doing it right now—you’re reading a socially and politically conservative opinion site on the Internet.

Presently, the news media is are the pocket of the Democrats, even though most Democrats won’t admit it. But the liberal news media consist of network television and newspapers. Republicans and conservatives already own the growing cable and satellite news television market (the ratings for Fox News are generally higher than all other networks combined), and network television (ABC, CBS, and NBC) are finding their news operations increasingly expensive.

Newspapers are suffering from declining readership at alarming rates: news magazines are all but vanished, and fewer and fewer of the surviving newspapers exist in a useful format today. Most newspapers are little more than wrappers for sales ads.

Meanwhile, conservative and pro-Republican news websites are enjoying monumental growth and success. And news radio is almost exclusively conservative with healthy and growing ratings.

The point is that in less than a decade, conservatives could easily have the upper hand in messaging and content: newspapers will dwindle to obscurity, and while liberal or Democratic websites will remain, they will not have the social impact we already see on the right. Americans will increasingly, and inevitably, get their news from conservative sources: the Internet, cable and satellite television, and news radio.

This is hardly a reason to cheer up: movies, television shows, pop songs, and so on will always challenge and likely dominate culture for a while. Conservatives will long find themselves at a war to win the hearts and minds of the next generation.

But at least the next generation will be treated to a wide variety of non-liberal, non-Democratic news sources. And this will slowly (slowly!) educate the voters. That might not seem that great, but think of it like this—it will educate the voters by the tens of millions. Maybe a hundred million by 2024.

And so the Republicans will be saved once more by circumstances beyond their control. Which is fitting, because they tend to screw themselves by circumstances well within their control.