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Opinion

Opinion

Opinion: Republicans can’t deny demography

November 8, 2012

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— America’s 57th presidential election revealed that a second important national institution is on an unsustainable trajectory. The first, the entitlement state, is endangered by improvident promises to an aging population. It is now joined by the political party whose crucial current function is to stress the need to reform this state. And now the Republican Party, like today’s transfer-payment state, is endangered by tardiness in recognizing that demography is destiny.  

Perhaps Mitt Romney lost the 2012 election on Sept. 22, 2011, when, alarmed by Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s entry into the Republican nomination race, he rushed to Perry’s right regarding immigration, attacking the DREAM Act. He would go on to talk about forcing illegal immigrants into “self-deportation.” It is surprising that only about 70 percent of Hispanics opposed Romney.

As it has every four years since 1992, the white portion of the turnout declined in 2012. In 2008, Barack Obama became the first person elected president while losing the white vote by double digits. In 2012 — the year after the first year in which a majority of babies born in America were minorities — Hispanics were for the first time a double-digit (10 percent) portion of the turnout. Republicans have four years to figure out how to leaven their contracting base with millions more members of America’s largest and fastest-growing minority.

Romney’s melancholy but useful role has been to refute those determinists who insist that economic conditions are almost always decisive. Americans are earning less and worth less than they were four years ago; average household income is down $3,800; under the 11 presidents from Harry Truman through George W. Bush, unemployment was 8 percent or more for a total of 39 months but was over that for 43 Obama months. Yet voters preferred the president who presided over this to a Republican who, more than any candidate since the Great Depression, made his economic expertise his presidential credential.

Voters littered the political landscape with contradictions between their loudly articulated discontents and their observable behavior. Self-identified conservatives outnumber self-identified liberals 2-1 in a nation that has re-elected the most liberal president since Lyndon Johnson and his mentor Franklin Roosevelt. A nation said to be picnicking on the slope of a volcano, with molten anger bubbling just below its thin and brittle crust, has matched a rare record of stability in its central political office: For only the second time — the first was the Virginia dynasty of the third, fourth and fifth presidents, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and James Monroe — there will be three consecutive two-term presidents.

A nation vocally disgusted with the status quo has reinforced it by ratifying existing control of the executive branch and both halves of the legislative branch. After three consecutive “wave” elections in which a party gained at least 20 House seats, and at a moment when approval of Congress has risen — yes, risen — to 21 percent, voters ratified Republican control of the House, keeping in place those excoriated as obstructionists by the president the voters retained. Come January, Washington will be much as it has been, only more so.

Obama is only the second president (Andrew Jackson was the first) to win a second term with a reduced percentage of the popular vote, and the third (after James Madison and Woodrow Wilson) to win a second term with a smaller percentage of the electoral vote. A diminished figure after conducting the most relentlessly negative campaign ever run by an incumbent, his meager mandate is to not be Bain Capital. Foreshadowing continuing institutional conflict, which the constitutional system not only anticipates but encourages, Speaker John Boehner says of the House Republican caucus: “We’ll have as much of a mandate as he will.”  

The electoral vote system, so incessantly and simple-mindedly criticized, has again performed the invaluable service of enabling federalism — presidents elected by the decisions of the states’ electorates — to deliver a constitutional decisiveness that the popular vote often disguises.

Republicans can take some solace from the popular vote. But unless they respond to accelerating demographic changes — and Obama, by pressing immigration reform, can give Republicans a reef on which they can wreck themselves — the 58th presidential election may be like the 57th, only more so.

This election was fought over two issues as old as the Republic, the proper scope and actual competence of government. The president persuaded — here the popular vote is the decisive datum — almost exactly half the voters. The argument continues. As Benjamin Disraeli said, “Finality is not the language of politics.”

— George Will is a columnist for Washington Post Writers Group.    

Comments

JohnBrown 1 year, 5 months ago

What the RINO's* need to do to win elections.

  1. Give up the false idea that lower taxes for the so-called 'job creators' actually would create more jobs. Fact: the Bush tax cuts failed (and continue to fail) miserably.

  2. Be consistent. If you say you are "for small government", then quit trying to make government big enough to force its way between a woman and her doctor.

  3. Be consistent. If you say you are for "individual liberty" then quit trying to force your way between a woman and her doctor just so you can take that woman's liberty away.

  4. Be consistent. If you say "Country First" and are for democracy, then quit trying to limit voter turnout.

  5. Tell the truth. If you are for Social Security vouchers then just admit it.

  6. Tell the whole truth. If you say you have an economic plan for getting the economy back on track, then spell it out.

  7. Tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Don't give us the "you didn't build that" crap, or the "O'Bama eliminated the work requirement on welfare" lies, or the "O'Bama's a socialist" bunk.

Spin, spin, spin. Is that all you've got?

Sheesh.

JohnBrown

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blindrabbit 1 year, 5 months ago

Liberty275: Somebody once told me a story about a duck a walk and a quack.

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booyalab 1 year, 5 months ago

From bondage to spiritual faith; From spiritual faith to great courage; From courage to liberty; From liberty to abundance; From abundance to complacency; From complacency to apathy; From apathy to dependence; From dependence back into bondage.

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blindrabbit 1 year, 5 months ago

liberty275: My Florida comment has little to with me or my opinions! It is the State of Florida that has little respect for the constitution. When your State Officials screw with the election results and/or try to control the results by voter supression tactics, it apparent the Florida has little respect for the rest of the country. Election screw-ups in 2000, 2004, 2008 and now 2012 with the plastic looking Kathleen Harris serving orange juice to the Renquist Court and the scum bag (and likely crook) Governor Rick Scott refusing to address the voting problems is a fiasco.

Funny how Dubya dumped on Harris' senate bid as soon as he got all the benefit he extract from her. Jeb turned his back on her as well. Back to squeezing oranges I guess!

Rick Scott and his Columbia Medical adventure has been sued and officers convicted of millions of dollars in Medicare billing fraud. Columbia was the company that tried to build a hospital in Lawrence about 10 years ago. Luckily that did not happen

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bd 1 year, 5 months ago

I know Putin is happy! : (

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Liberty275 1 year, 5 months ago

Republicans need to start thinking with their brains and not with their fictional religious character. If they remove their god-inspired bigotry from their policies they will be nationally electable.

Unfortunately. to win the primary you have to appeal to the nutballs in the party and that doesn't leave you much wiggle room to move back to the center for the general without being a bald-faced panderer.

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Klumma 1 year, 5 months ago

" FloridaSunshine 1 hour, 10 minutes ago

So glad you addressed this, jonas. I was thinking the same thing when Grumby was disappearedededed...just didn't say anything about it. Thanks for saying what, probably, a lot of us have been thinking. Hope ljw notices..."

Umm...Yeah......Sharp as a marble.

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yourworstnightmare 1 year, 5 months ago

It has been my experience that the GOP can deny anything.

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blindrabbit 1 year, 5 months ago

What about his corncob in the keister walk? Looked kinda anal retentive to me!

1

windjammer 1 year, 5 months ago

I voted for Mr. Obama because I did not like the way Mitty boy flopped his head and blinked his eyes.

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doolindalton 1 year, 5 months ago

Laughable idea. Obama is really an Eisenhower Republican.

2

irtnog2001 1 year, 5 months ago

Republicans hopefully learned that politics and religion don't mix. When I vote for a candidate I don't care about his religion as much as his character and when I go to church I don't want to be told how to vote. This applies to both conservative and liberal religious orders.

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blindrabbit 1 year, 5 months ago

mea culpa Dan Issa should be Darrell Issa, still a crook!

1

blindrabbit 1 year, 5 months ago

If the GOP is to survive into the future here are some issues that need to be addressed. All are serious, some unlikely to happen:

Cause the Party to act "modern" on Civil Rights issues instead of like The Old South. Disallow Florida to participate in the Presidential elections. Get with-in on same sex marriage issues, should be Civil Right and not States Right. Kick the NRA in the keister, and I'm a long time member. For the Party's own good, distance from the likes of Limbaugh, O'Reilly, Dobbs, Trump, Nugent. Trash the Citizens United ruling and influence of Ailes, Koch-a-Kolas, Adelson and Murdoch. Trash the bigoted social issues from the GOP Platform. Realize that women, and minorities are the future election deciders. Dubya not decider any more. Realize that influence of gray skinned old white men is an albatross for the Party. Get with-it on imigration issues , OR ELSE. Review tax issues for all religious organizations that promote a political position. Quit trying to gut Roe v. Wade, It's a Civil Right Issue and not State's Rights.. Indict and try Dubya, Cheney, Tenet, Rumsfeld and Condy on war crimes issues.Iraq war lead-up. Standardize State voter requirments for Federal election, Hours, ,Registration and Voter I.D. Distance Party from Voter Supression appearance issues. Promote Karl Rove as a look alike replacement in Ned Beatty's role in re-make of Deliverance. Realize Dan Issa is a crook. Look up his history if you doubt it.

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Agnostick 1 year, 5 months ago

Republicans need to start denying certain things.

1) Rush Limbaugh

2) George Will

3) Roger Ailes

Deny their existence. Ignore them. And then watch sanity and intelligence and true conservative principles return to the GOP.

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patkindle 1 year, 5 months ago

It is difficult to overestimate the sense of entitlement and feelings of envy or underestimate the gullibility and stupidity of over half of the American electorate.

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Cait McKnelly 1 year, 5 months ago

Reports are coming in that the Republican party is coming apart at the seams. At the center is Karl Rove, who presided over a fund of nearly half billion dollars contributed by millionaire and billionaire contributors. Although Rove's Crossroads PAC did deliver some wins, the vast bulk were losses. Now those contributors are angry and looking for blood.
Like a pack of wild dogs they are turning on each other; blaming Romney and other top GOP leaders. They are also blaming the Dems GOTV expertise. This little comment just ticked me the &^% off.
"The Democrats do voter registration like a factory, like a business, and Republicans tend to leave it to the blue hairs." (Henry Barbour)
Blue hairs? BLUE HAIRS? That's not just ageist, it's sexist. And let's not talk about the hell the GOP put the League of Women Voters through in their voter registration efforts.
With people like that as your leaders, no wonder you lost.

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Liberty_One 1 year, 5 months ago

Every election is a sort of advance auction in stolen goods.

1

Cait McKnelly 1 year, 5 months ago

Quote from a friend:"Romney won the white, past middle age, Christian male vote and basically lost all others. What happens to the GOP in 20 years when all of these old timers pass away? It would seem the GOP's influence and membership are dwindling daily."
Except, it seems, for Kansas. Oh well, "this too shall pass".

2

jonas_opines 1 year, 5 months ago

It seems like the ljworld needs to think about re-coding their thread mechanisms or whatever to deal with banned users. The thread just reattaches somewhere else when the original comment is removed, and now all of us appear to be giving rather reactionary responses to an entirely unrelated post.

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Cait McKnelly 1 year, 5 months ago

Spin spin spin. You'd think Will would fall over from dizziness.
Not ONCE in his article does Will mention women. This is despite the fact that, according to CNN's exit polls, there was an historical 18 point gender gap in the electorate. 55% of the people that voted Tuesday had lady parts. And don't think those women didn't have a whole lot to do with propelling Obama to re-election.
The GOP's War on Women (and don't even begin to think it doesn't exist) has failed miserably. It's mighty damn sad when someone asks, "Hey, did that rape guy win?" and you have to answer, "Which one?". (Oh and by the way, not a single one of the "rape guys" won.)

4

Saoul 1 year, 5 months ago

IRAN'S AHMADINEJAD RIDICULES EXPENSE OF US VOTE

Ahmadinejad hits the nail on the head. Obama was the choice before the vote.

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/A/AS_INDONESIA_IRAN_DEMOCRACY?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2012-11-08-03-40-07

I get it. Just to keep Little Americans thinking their democracy works.

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observant 1 year, 5 months ago

Right wing, christian nutcases are in full rant today.

1

Liberty_One 1 year, 5 months ago

Obama won because he secured the most important voting demographic: The Idiots. Not that everyone who voted for Obama is an idiot. Just that those who are idiots mostly voted for him.

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Saoul 1 year, 5 months ago

Little Americans do not realize how they are being played. From a distance, it is great to watch.

Too bad..so sad..

The U.S. is currently facing a severe shortage of doctors. The Association of American Medical Colleges predicts that by 2020, the shortage will amount to more than 90,000 doctors, including 45,000 patient care physicians. Why such a shortfall? The baby boom generation is getting older and will require more medical care in the coming years. The newly enacted Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will soon require most people to obtain health insurance, leading millions more to seek care. Finally, a third of all doctors plan to retire this decade.

http://247wallst.com/2012/10/19/states-with-the-fewest-and-most-doctors/?utm_source=247WallStDailyNewsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=OCT192012A&utm_campaign=DailyNewsletter

The plan to funnel the destitute to little America will free up the rest of the world to the useful people.

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tolawdjk 1 year, 5 months ago

Obama months? Is this some new calendar?

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 1 year, 5 months ago

" Yet voters preferred the president who presided over this to a Republican who, more than any candidate since the Great Depression, made his economic expertise his presidential credential."

But his "economic expertise" derives from leading a company that has profited from economic shell games and shipping jobs out of the country, enriching himself and his partners, while destroying companies and laying off thousands of workers.

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donttreadonme 1 year, 5 months ago

"intheknow2 hours, 23 minutes ago ... I don't mean morally, either. I don't look to my president to be my moral compass...."

Most people don't either, that's why President Obama was re-elected. If Romney had maintained his Massachusetts centrist positions, then he probably would've won.

But after pandering to the Teabag Party crowd during the primary (ban abortion, restrict contraception, self-deportation, etc...), he lost enough votes to lose the election.

2

Mike Ford 1 year, 5 months ago

I voted twice for Obama because he acted human, Romney and positions was like watching a tilt a whirl. I love the whole double down on the takers nonsense rush and the clowns pushed in defeat yesterday. I've been at a job fifteen years and paid off debt and I've been a Democrat since 1988. The Gop lost because they believe their Democrat stereotypes in the bubble but the reality didn't gel with it.

5

jhawkinsf 1 year, 5 months ago

It's not the individuals. It's the institutions.

I think you'll find that as more and more of "them" assume positions of power and responsibility, they'll behave exactly as their predecessors did. (Define "them" and "us" in any way you choose).

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Gandalf 1 year, 5 months ago

I was watching fox news last night. It was hilarious to watch Oreilly and his guest say the only way the conservatives could win would to be backing off on abortion and women issues. Talk about magical thinking!

3

cowboy 1 year, 5 months ago

You have to ask why would they give up their beliefs to win an election. We can see what they actually do when elected and show their true colors i.e. Brownback , Kasich , Walker et. al .

Have a very good memory as these folks "reconfigure".

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intheknow 1 year, 5 months ago

Obama won because he has the 'it' factor. The cool kids like him. Who doesn't want to be a cool kid or at least liked by the cool kids? So there goes the popular vote. Like lemmings to the sea, there goes the nation. Told what is the newest and coolest way to think and believe. Obama, the modern day pied piper. Congratulations on being so novel.

Well, I don't want a cool guy with the 'it' factor leading our nation. It takes a bit more than talk of hope and change to get my vote. I want a LEADER. This nation needs a parent more than a buddy to step up to the plate and do the hard work of righting this ship. I don't mean morally, either. I don't look to my president to be my moral compass. But I do look to my president to LEAD. Obama had four years to have a crack at leading us and where are we? No better off. Sadly, though, no amount of donning North Face jackets by Romney/Ryan could win over the we-are-so-much-cooler-than-your-mom-and-everything-she-stands-for-crowd. Let's see how cool we feel in another four years.

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