Saturday, May 9, 2009

GOP going extinct? Not quite.

The recent streak of bad luck that the GOP has had is causing some to question: is the Republican Party dead?

TIME magazine calls them an endangered species; Democratic strategist James Carville claims that there will be forty years of Democratic rule. Long-time Republican Sen. Arlen Specter is now a Democrat, and less than a quarter of all Americans consider themselves Republican or Republican-aligned.

The party of the elephant is having an identity crisis, struggling between becoming a right-of-center party or adhering to strict, ideological beliefs. The former pushes aside the die-hards; the latter, moderates and independents.

But is the party really that close to extinction? All signs point The reasonably-sized Tea Party protests indicate that there is a sizable number of Americans who still aren't sold on the Obama strategy of spending our way out of the economic crisis. It should also be noted that just four years ago the media was painting a similar portrait for the Democrats, predicting that Republicans would be in power for a long time to come.

Why does this matter to a liberal like myself? It's important because we need to understand what kind of opposition we are going to have in the future. Are we going to face a Republican Party that's closer to the center, or one that caters exclusively to the base? If the GOP goes centrist, it'll be more likely that we can cooperate with its members to pass meaningful legislation. But if it turns harsh right, we may be up for a fight. Then again, if it goes that far right, the party may self-destruct, caving in on its dwindling members who leave the party disgusted with its actions.

Whatever the result, the Democrats must be wary of one thing: they must not overreach. Right now, we are doing fine as a party, and for the most part Americans are happy with the ideas that President Obama has presented to them. However, should Obama and the Democrats begin to push past the agenda they were elected to fulfill, we could see a backlash of moderates moving back to the center-right.

Fortunately for Obama, he was elected by a broad-base coalition of Americans who want many things fulfilled, an agenda that matches Obama's own.

No comments:

Post a Comment