The Republican’s Extinction Spiral

Certain ants occasionally demonstrate a phenomenon which people have called  “a death circle.”  What happens is that they lose the trail, and end up circling endlessly until they perish.  Here’s what it looks like, along with the explanation:

When viewing this, I was reminded of the Republican Party these days.  Endlessly circling, blindly following a trail that leads to nowhere.

After the 2012 election many Republicans were shocked that they’d lost.  The figures and the messaging they saw said that they would win, while in reality it wasn’t close.

Citing Kael, one of the most prominent Republicans in the George W. Bush era complained: “We have become what the left was in the ’70s — insular.”

In this reassuring conservative pocket universe, Rasmussen polls are gospel, the Benghazi controversy is worse than Watergate, “Fair and Balanced” isn’t just marketing and Dick Morris is a political seer.

Even this past weekend, days after a convincing Obama win, it wasn’t hard to find fringes of the right who are convinced he did so only because of mass voter fraud and mysteriously missing military ballots. Like a political version of “Thelma and Louise,” some far-right conservatives are in such denial that they’d just as soon keep on driving off the cliff than face up to a reality they’d rather not confront.

The Washington Post’s Chris Cilliza points out that they won the white vote by 20%. The problem? It wasn’t enough. The white vote only accounted for 72% of the overall voters on election day. The President took 39% of the white voters, along with almost 90% of black voter, and over 70% of both Hispanic and Asian voters.   As Cilliza points out in a following article, the Republican’s problem – now and in the future – can be summed up with one chart:

Why in the future?  Here’s what the country’s demographics are projected to be in 2050:

The minority groups that carried President Obama to victory yesterday by giving him 80% of their votes are on track to become a majority of the nation’s population by 2050, according to projections by the Pew Research Center. They currently make up 37% of the population, and they cast a record 28% of the votes in the 2012 presidential election, according to the election exit polls.

By 2050, the Hispanic share of the U.S. population could be as high as 29%, up from 17% now. The black proportion of the population is projected to rise slightly to 13%, while the Asian share is projected to increase to 9% from its current 5%. Non-Hispanic whites, 63% of the current population, will decrease to half or slightly less than half of the population by 2050

That has a number of “thinking Republicans” worried:

Some younger conservatives worry that the effects of cocoonism are just as evident after the race as before — and not only in the disbelief that Obama won. The knee-jerk reaction by some on the right to Romney’s poor performance with Hispanics has been to simply say that all will be well with the party if they pass an immigration bill and elevate Cuban-American Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).

But to many next-generation Republicans, this smacks of tokenism and is more than a tad patronizing.

“They just want to put a sombrero on the Republican elephant,” said one Latino GOP operative, who didn’t want to be identified discussing such a sensitive topic.

The thinking was that Hispanics would be a “natural constituency” for Republicans, that they’d be drawn to the social conservative message.   The reality is that Republicans have done as much as they could to alienate that same group, and they continue to do it:

It’s the first week of the 113th Congress, and one House member is already trying to stop children born in the United States to undocumented parents — whom he calls “anchor babies” — from gaining citizenship.

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), an outspoken hardliner on immigration, introduced a bill on Thursday that would “clarify those classes of individuals born in the United States who are nationals and citizens of the United States at birth.” The Supreme Court has consistently held that anyone born in the United States, regardless of their parents’ immigration status, should receive citizenship under the 14th Amendment.

King disagrees, as do 13 co-sponsors on the bill, including Reps. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) and Mo Brooks (R-Ala.).

Yes, he’s trying to pass a bill that not only unconstitutionally blocks birthright citizenship (see: US v Wong Kim Ark 1898), let’s be realistic, it’s not targeting any “illegal white immigrants.”  Which is one more way they continue to alienate a growing voter population.   While some in the party are seriously trying to change the party to attract a more diverse membership, the problem is that they continue to follow the “entertainment conservatives,” who pander to the worst parts of human nature, and in the end, the Republican Party becomes more and more a party of “angry white males” who are a decreasing part of the population.

Like the ants, they’re blindly following a trail to nowhere.  The Republicans are in an extinction spiral, and whether they can find a new path to break out of it is something that looks ever more unlikely.



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4 responses to “The Republican’s Extinction Spiral

  1. see above

    I like the ant analogy but I think lemmings. How tone deaf are they and the first two bills Kill ObamaCare and defund Planned Parenthood, introduced by Michele Bachman and Marsha Blackburn. I always thought stepford wives was fiction. Is it the water or what? The men are no better and now Steve King wants to pass a law that being born here does not grant you citizenship.

    • I liked the ant analogy because, despite ample evidence, they’re still doing exactly the same things that got them to this point. They’re still following people like Rush Limbaugh, the Koch brothers, Hannity, and Glen Beck, among others. It’s a trail that leads in a circle, and they keep circling around, losing members as they go, but they keep circling. 🙄

      • Republican behavior is perfectly rational, from the standpoint of each individual Republican.

        Sure, it’s horrible for the party long term, but consider the “Iron Law of Institutions”– the people who hold power in institutions are guided principally by preserving power within the institution, rather than the success of the institution itself.

        No one in the GOP has the incentives, or perhaps even the inclination, to engage with reality on public policy or election demographics.

        It’s been pointed out that today’s House GOP “consists half of people who think like Michele Bachmann … and half of people who are afraid of losing a primary to people who think like Michele Bachmann.”

        In the 2010 primary in a state of just under 900,000 people, Christine O’Donnell defeated her relatively sane rival for the GOP Senate nomination, Mike Castle, 30,561 votes to 27,021. It doesn’t take that big a group of people to continue to successfully enforce idiocy in GOP primaries.

        Longer term incentives work the same way. Jim Demint went along with the party all along, and now gets a million bucks a year and a chauffeur from the Heritage Foundation. I don’t think that’s the deal that Dick Lugar or Bob Bennett or Bob Inglis or Mike Castle got.

        Folks from an ever-shrinking demographic and worldview can easily maintain a hammerlock on an ever-shrinking GOP.

        • Demint did a wonderful job of helping destroy the party long-term, by purposely recruiting and funding various of the extremes. So now he’s being rewarded for that, because lord knows, he wasn’t a very good Senator. 🙄 What the Republicans who think long-term are realizing is that they’re on a path to becoming a very small regional party, but the problem is that they handed the reins of the party over to the very people who are leading them down that path.

          I think you’ll see the Republicans getting more and more extreme until they start losing previous strongholds, and losing badly. I don’t see that happening until after 2020, though.