Thursday, October 27, 2016


Political Mayhem Thursday: After Nov. 8, What Happens to the Republican Party?

This presidential election has gone poorly for Republicans. Many of them looked on aghast as Donald Trump defeated a number of accomplished and intriguing candidates to be their standard-bearer, and then recoiled again with each mistake and awful revelation.

Now, some pundits are predicting doom for the Republican party-- not just the loss of one or both houses of Congress, but a Whig-like crackup along the fracture lines that have become clearer over the past several years.

I think Trump will lose, badly, and that the Senate will shift to Democratic control. It won't be the end of the Grand Old Party, though; far from it. Instead, Republicans will look to the 2018 election when they will have built in advantages as 25 of the 33 seats up for grabs in the Senate are currently held by Democrats or Independents who caucus with them. Among these Democratic seats are slots in Indiana, West Virginia, North Dakota, Missouri, and Montana, all of which have strong Republican tendencies.

But boy... those two years between the 2016 and 2018 elections are likely to be super-ugly. The Clinton administration will try to get legislation passed and judges confirmed while the window is open, and Republicans will try to obstruct things at every turn as they hold out for reinforcements in 2018. You think it was contentious under Obama? Just wait.

Am I wrong?

I assume you mean that the Senate will shift to Democrat control.

If the Senate Rs stick to their pledge to block any Clinton appointment to the Supreme Court, I think the party will be in steep demise. Problem is that the legislatures of many states have so gerrymandered the districts for the House and for the state legislatures that they have guaranteed a significant majority in those bodies for the R party, come what may.

What we need is either a SCt ruling or a constitutional amendment (good luck) to set requirements for redistricting to make the districts as compact as possible while observing existing county and city boundaries, natural barriers like mountain ridges and rivers, and ignoring party and ethnic distribution, and keeping equal population. No more gerrymandered safe seats.

There is a district that snakes from near downtown Austin, TX to the city limits of Fort Worth, a distance of over 180 miles. Five congressional districts have a part of Travis County (Austin), including a district that includes part of San Antonio. It is gerrymandering at its worst.

We also need the court to order that if the state requires ID to vote, the ID must be available in every county, accessible by public transportation or the state must provide the transportation, and offer alternatives like an affidavit with neighbors or other witnesses able to certify that the person meets the citizenship and residency requirements.
Yes Mark, I think that you are wrong. I may be overly optomistic but I believe that the Republican party will return to being a more progressive and positive political party. They will oppose the current rejected party of obstruction and "no" who will be represented by a fringe alt right movement.
This Republican party will be an attractive and vibrant challenge to the far left. They will steal the left's thunder by supporting well managed government projects which will appeal to their base. They will seek to be less the party of the wealthy which will leave President Clinton the champion of the powerful.
Hillary Clinton, who in my mind, fits the mold of a moderate progressive Republican. Her policies seem to be driven more by facts and less by heart. She is a friend of the powerful and is prone to be hawkish. She is a fiscal conservative.
Hillary Clinton has a history of accomadating the other side. She will govern with the help of moderate republicans and they both will prosper.

There will be two noisy minority groups left out. Like myself, there will be those on the left who would like to see more "heart" and those on the far right who would like to see Hillary in prison.

I agree with Waco Friend that gerrymandering is a terrible problem. Some states have tried to fix and there are serious efforts in other states to do so as well. Without competitive Districts, the races for most seats in the House of Representatives are decided in the primaries, but a small percentage of voters. Candidates must appeal to the extremes in order to get nominations. A lot of elected "Tea Party" Republicans aren't really as conservative as their voting records indicate. But if they step out of line, they get attacked in primaries. And middle of the road people don't participate as actively in primaries. I'm sure its the same on the other side of the aisle. There's no value in campaiging for a party nomination as a centrist interested in compromise. Committed ideologues want blood and guts!!

And for that reason I don't see the GOP going away right away. Political parties are not run top down, they're run by local organizations. And there are thousands of people across the country, if not tens of thousands, whose livelihoods depend upon political work. Consultants, printers, web designers, data manipulators. They don't get paid by some central operation in DC, but by the local people in their communities. Local committees elect their own to Congressional District Committees and State Committees. And in turn the State Committee, or a Convention, elects National Committeemen and Committee Women. Who shows up to vote in these intra party elections? Committed political zealots. Not ordinary voters who are sick of the rancor and divisiveness. The people who control the parties WANT divisiveness and rancor.

Perhaps Evan McMullin can build a Mormon Republican Party in Utah... but that's unlikely.

My long term guess is that the GOP shrinks to a smaller, religious-based, white party. The Democrats grow... and get cocky and arrogant. A split in the Democrats between those who believe in socialism and those who simply want social programs. Or maybe over foreign policy could give an opening to the Republicans. Or maybe a new party.
Dad, I hope you are right and I am wrong! That would be a relatively positive outcome compared to what I described...
Mark, I hope I am right too.
Recent polling finds 55% of Americans approve of President Obama's performance. More interestingly, about the same percentage (54%) think that the country is going in the right direction. This is a dramatic shift and good news for moderate Democrats and moderate Republicans. This tuns out not to be a change election.
This is a big shift in our country's confidence and bodes well going forward.
Both party's centrist candidates are doing well in this election.
Fear and anger will have less effect on our decisions. Moderation could be a big winner.
Spike is right. But for the moderates to get more influence they need to show up at their local parties meetings and say these extreme ideas and no compromise attitudes won't work. And most people of moderate temperament don't have the time or desire to do this.
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