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2012 the end of the GOP in the U.S.? Not hardly!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

It seems that after every Presidential election, there’s some who predict the demise of the losing party.  This year this often hopeful predication seems even more prevalent than usual.  A little historical perspective is in order.

In 1964 the GOP ran a “radical” candidate, Barry Goldwater.  He got shellacked, even though his libertarian-oriented platform seems rather bland by today’s standards — certainly more centrist than Ron Paul’s positions. Naturally the nation’s pundits often confidently predicted that this defeat spelled the end of the GOP.

Did the Grand Old Party fold up and disappear?  Apparently not.

Let’s compare the Goldwater massacre with Obama’s election.

In 1964, incumbent President Lyndon Johnson trounced Republican Barry Goldwater, receiving a remarkable 61.1% of the national popular vote. Johnson beat Goldwater by an amazing 22.6% margin.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_presidential_election,_1964

In 2012, incumbent President Barack Obama defeated Republican Mitt Romney, gaining 50.8% of the national vote — winning by a 3.3% margin.  A solid win, but not exactly a landslide victory.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_presidential_elections_by_popular_vote_margin

Now consider the political composition of the U.S. House and Senate after the 1964 election, compared to today.

In 1965-67, Democrats dominated the U.S. Senate by a 68-32 margin.  They ruled the House of Representatives by a similar margin — 256 Democrats to 176 Republicans.

While the outcome of some close 2012 House and Senate elections may vary current figures, it appears that the Democrats have a 54-45 majority in the Senate.  However, the GOP holds a solid 234 to 199 advantage in the House of Representatives — and all of those House elections were held in 2012.  Moreover, the vaunted “Obama effect” in 2012 cost the GOP only 6 net positions out of the 435 House seats.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_presidential_elections_by_popular_vote_margin

Moreover, the GOP holds 30 of the 50 state governorships (or 57 states, if Obama is to be believed).

So do those 2012 numbers sound “taps” for the GOP?  I think not.

Don’t get me wrong.  The Republican Party has SERIOUS problems. Many of the “inclusiveness” criticisms of the party are valid — other complaints are not, but such is life.

My point is that nationally the GOP is very much a viable, competitive party.  And I expect the Democrat legislators to suffer the usual “off year” election losses in 2014, further strengthening the GOP brand and image.

Remember:  Four years after Goldwater’s crushing defeat, the “dead” GOP won the 1968 Presidential election (with Richard Nixon, unfortunately, but that’s another matter).

And BTW, California IS doomed.  I see no hope.  (Just thought I’d throw that in.)

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4 Responses to “2012 the end of the GOP in the U.S.? Not hardly!”

  1. Hypocrisy questioned says:

    Three difference between 1964 and 2012 in order of importance:

    1. Vietnam War – Why the Republicans won in 1968
    2. Demographics – Why the Republicans lost in 2012
    3. Tea Party – Why the Republicans will have trouble recapturing the center.

    One bonus fact:

    The majority of voters in the 2012 House elections actually voted for the Democratic candidate. Only gerrymandering kept the House in Republican control.

    Do not underestimate what happened in the 2012 election and do not count on lower turnout to change the tide in future elections. The unintended consequence of the Citizens United decision was to give the unions much more power when it comes to driving voter turnout.

  2. Jack says:

    Next time the GOP should put up a Republican Candidate and hold a serious convention, instead of putting up a Democrat lover (Clinton) against an incumbent Democrat. The GOP is killing themselves.

  3. Good response, Hypocrisy. Flawed, but good response.

    Your core assumption is that, without Citizens United, the unions would have had no boogeyman to inspire the troops. Not likely. There’s ALWAYS boogeymen — both side use ‘em to advantage.

    And indeed, the voter turnout in 2012 was significantly lower than 2008. Obama got about 5 million fewer votes than 2008. The Citizens United decision came down in 2010. Some inspiration!

    Moreover, the unions would have raised and spent the same amount of money regardless of Citizens United — the joy of their coercive dues collections. Unions rule!

    Yes, we agree that the GOP has serious problems — starting with demographics. But my point that the GOP is still quite competitive nationwide still stands. 30 GOP governors verify that fact.

  4. Hypocrisy questioned says:

    Richard,

    I guess I wasn’t very clear on my point about Citizens United. Before this Supreme Court decision, unions were only permitted to use their general fund money for communication with active members. They were limited to PAC funds if they wanted to do true electioneering. Citizens United freed them to use any and all their money for politics. This is the added power I was referring to.

    I do agree that having 60% of the Governors is a hopeful sign. It will be interesting to see if that number holds up in the next few elections.

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