Monday, November 19, 2012

Ward Room: The Party of Lincoln -- Again

In the wake of Mitt Romney's loss for the Presidency almost two weeks ago, we have heard or seen lots of analysis of why the Republican party didn't gain the White House. It involves the demographic changes this nation is seeing. In fact we can see evidence of this in the previous post as far as Illinois goes.

So here's the anaylsis (again) from Ed McClelland:
There’s an argument in the movie Lincoln about whether the Republican Party was intended to be a progressive or a conservative outfit. Francis Preston Blair, who boasts that he founded the party in his living room, insists that it’s conservative and anti-slavery, but shouldn’t be taken over by radical abolitionists. President Lincoln, who is trying to persuade Blair to support a constitutional amendment banning slavery, obviously wants it to be progressive.

For the first hundred years of the Republican Party’s existence, Lincoln’s vision was ascendant. Republicans were in the forefront of the great social issue of the 19th and 20th centuries: abolitionism, environmentalism, women’s suffrage, civil rights. The Democrats, a confederation of Southern whites and Northern Catholics, were the socially conservative party. William Jennings Bryan, who lost three presidential elections on the Democratic ticket, ended his career by defending creationism at the Scopes Monkey Trial. Even in the 1970s, most of the judges who signed on to Roe v. Wade were Republican appointees. And President Ford supported the Equal Rights Amendment.

By then, though, the Republican Party had begun to change, into a party of reaction, whose purpose was resisting the social movements of the 1960s: civil rights, feminism, pacifism, environmentalism. The Republicans basically switched bases with the Democrats, becoming the party of the South and Northern white ethnics -- a coalition assembled by Richard Nixon, whose “Southern Strategy” made the Republicans the dominant party of the 1970s and 1980s.

Mitt Romney’s defeat demonstrated that this iteration of the Republican Party has run its course. The changes that began in the 1960s have become ingrained in American life. Campaigning against them marks the Republicans as a party of memory, not a party of hope or progress. Even conservative commentator Wayne Allyn Root admitted, on the Fox News website, that the Republicans have lost the culture wars, and need to give up on a political solution to the abortion issue.

Seriously, the real answer is to run candidates who are fiscally conservative and principled, but socially moderate and modern. The GOP needs candidates that say “Roe v. Wade is the law of the land. I will uphold it, even though my personal views are pro-life. And I will ALWAYS support exceptions for rape, incest, and when a mother’s life is in danger. Period.” The issue is off the table -- forever. What's left? The economy and jobs -- winning issues for the GOP.
That explain why an image of the Lincoln movie poster is shown in this post. This analysis makes sense to me in fact.

I consider myself pro-life, but my position isn't exactly ban all abortions. Social issues don't matter to me at this point primarily because I have a different set of issues. Jobs being one of them. I may not be able to stake a solid claim on abortion primarily because I'm not going out of my way to have children and have never been in a situation where there had been an unwanted pregnancy. Though for abortion all I can say is that hey whether the child is unborn or not it's not THERE fault that they're in the situation their in. I try to remember that.

Another piece of analysis is that Republicans must find a way to attract people of other ethnicity into their party. It doesn't matter if they're Black, white, Mexican, Puerto Rican, Chinese or whatever. Also how do they attract more women to their party?

There is some soul searching to do there, where to start? Start with their history as the party of Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States?

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