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Friday, March 23, 2007

The GOP: A Permanent Minority?

posted by on March 23 at 10:55 AM

Andrew Sullivan pores over the Pew report that prompted this story in the L.A. Times and finds lots of bad news for the GOP:

I spent part of last night absorbing the latest comprehensive Pew report on trends in public opinion over the last decade. It’s a devastating indictment of the Bush-Rove strategy for conservatism and the Republican party. They may have created the most loyally Democratic generation since the New Deal with the under 25s. But check the other findings out. Party identification is now 50 percent Dem and 35 percent GOP. The country is now divided in two over the question of whether military strength is the key to ensuring peace; in 2002 62 percent were hawks and 34 percent were doves. Religious intensity is falling; acceptance of gay people is risin. The younger generation is the most secular of any. Support for the military has never been stronger—people don’t blame the troops for the war…. Since Bush has been president, there has been a sharp decline in the number of Americans favoring “old fashioned values about family and marriage.” In the last ten years, opposition to gay marriage has dropped ten points and support has risen ten points. There has also been a striking twelve point increase in support for affirmative action over the past decade—all of it among whites.

It turns out that Karl Rove has gone a long way toward securing a permanent majority in American politics … for liberals and Democrats.

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Posted by clogged_pores | March 23, 2007 11:00 AM

Well, I guess the stew of religious authoritarinism and social Darwinism the GOP has been cooking has finally begun to burn.

Posted by E. Steven | March 23, 2007 11:04 AM

Well, I guess the stew of religious authoritarianism and social Darwinism the GOP has been cooking has finally begun to burn.

Posted by E. Steven | March 23, 2007 11:04 AM

Oops, sorry for the double post.

Posted by E. Steven | March 23, 2007 11:05 AM

You're welcome, America!

Posted by HRC | March 23, 2007 11:13 AM

it really is amazing how the gay issue is a non-issue for the under 30 set. for example, if you check sports wedsites for stuff on tony dungy and his anti-gay attitude, most of the main ones, like espn and si, so readers that are supportive of dungy.

check out deadspin though. mostly read by young people, the websites editor and something like 98% of it's readers were not just making fun of dungy, but making fun of anyone who thinks that gay marriage is bad. by the time us young folks are hitting the middle ages, gay marriage will be looked upon as a boring issue.

Posted by konstantconsumer | March 23, 2007 11:15 AM

love those stats. as a left-leaning-but-refuse-to-align-with-a-single-party guy, it does my heart good that support for troops is high and support for Bush's leadership is down!

it is a slow road, but we will get there...

Posted by ddv | March 23, 2007 11:17 AM

Very optimistic, but beware. Howard Stern rapped about this once last year. He said when he was a kid, he couldn't wait for his generation to take over. Weed would be legalized, no one would be bitching about abortion, The gays would be left alone, and, most importantly, the religious kooks that were everywhere would be properly marginalized.

But unfortunately, something happened. The boomers lost their balls along the way, or bought into that ol' timey religion, or simply sold their souls to the Corporations. Who knows, maybe Sullivan is right. I hope he is, but I have learned not to underestimate how dumb & gullible Americans can be.

Posted by Mike in MO | March 23, 2007 11:29 AM

So the last six years weren't a complete waste.

Posted by monkey | March 23, 2007 11:39 AM

Mike in MO is absolutely correct.

The problem is that Republicans say they stand for small government, strong national defense, fiscal responsibility, family values (Really? Whose family? Whose values?) blah blah blah, but then their actions produce the opposite result. Their party has become institutionally dishonest, hypocritical and just plain nasty.

Most Americans aren't much better. They want lower taxes, yet demand more services and have helped transfer the largest amount of wealth to the smallest number of people since the Gilded Age through regressive taxation.

This damning article in from the New Yorker about how self-contradictory and illogical the public has become is a must read. Warning: You should have shot ready when you've finished this one, you'll need it.

"...after analyzing the results of surveys conducted over time, in which people tended to give different and randomly inconsistent answers to the same questions, Converse concluded that “very substantial portions of the public” hold opinions that are essentially meaningless—off-the-top-of-the-head responses to questions they have never thought about, derived from no underlying set of principles. These people might as well base their political choices on the weather. And, in fact, many of them do."

Posted by Original Andrew | March 23, 2007 11:50 AM

Mike, I tend to agree with you. I'm only 22, and I already have noticed my own political views mellowing as I get older. I'm still solidly liberal, but I've backed away from socialism and found the far left pretty damn shrill. That said, there's a big difference between our generation and that of the boomers. While we have our own war, we have been careful (unlike the young, liberal boomers)not to resort to tactics that alienate moderates. You see very few people on the left spouting off about Amerika these days. That's a good thing.

Posted by Ryan | March 23, 2007 11:53 AM

Pay attention to what they do - and how much they hate our American values of Truth, Justice, and the American Middle Class Way of Life - not what the Liar Reds say.

Posted by Will in Seattle | March 23, 2007 12:00 PM

Well, the Reps will just have to create a new coallition, won't they? The good news is that it won't ressemble a lot the present coallition, and it might be much more liberal, especially moral-value-wise.

Posted by Mokawi | March 23, 2007 12:33 PM

Hmmm, most loyal Democratic base since the New Deal? Damn, now if we could just find a President like FDR we could be set for a come back.

Posted by Andrew | March 23, 2007 12:43 PM

No, the next generation isn't going to be a magical cure for everything. But it will be more liberal than the previous one, just like every generation since the industrial revolution has been. That's why the right has been so freaked out about gay issues. They know this was their last chance to do something about it.

Posted by gfish | March 23, 2007 12:51 PM

@15 - just like they stopped mixed marriages ... oh, wait, eventually the nation moves on ...

Posted by Will in Seattle | March 23, 2007 1:54 PM

Democratic liberalism is much more moderate than it used to be. Even if Americans are turning away from Republican "policies" (which are really nothing more than giveaways to their cronies), any really liberal, Great Society programs would still be a hard sell.

Posted by keshmeshi | March 23, 2007 3:20 PM

Nah, Kesh, we'll all have nationalized medicine one day.

Posted by Will in Seattle | March 23, 2007 4:22 PM

And gay marriage? and legalized MJ for all (not just medical)?

Will, I hope you're right, but I doubt we'll live that long (and I'm not that old).

Posted by Mike in MO | March 23, 2007 5:28 PM

What, are you like 60?

I predict it will be somewhere in the 2020's, actually.

And then everyone will get on with their lives and come up some other stupid non-crisis to hue and cry about.

Posted by Will in Seattle | March 23, 2007 5:38 PM

My best friend's dad told us when we first voted that most people are Democrats when they're young, and most turn Republican as they get older.

I don't plan on doing this, but it is true that a lot of people end up becoming much more financially and socially conservative as they get older.

So yeah, I think in general some issues will be better once my generation grows up and has more influence, but I don't think the country is going to swing far left by any stretch of the imagination.

And frankly, I'm far less concerned about universal health care and legalized marijuana than I am with reforming Social Security so I don't have to pay half my income to support the baby boomers.

Posted by Megan | March 23, 2007 8:34 PM

"My best friend's dad told us when we first voted that most people are Democrats when they're young, and most turn Republican as they get older."

In my experience, that's not true: Most of my parent's friends were solidly Democrat, and stayed that way.

But, of course, I am older (42) and was born to older parents (my dad was 45, my mom was 40 when I happened along, quite by accident) so they were children of the depression, and had seen the results of Republican control, and how the Democrats bailed everyone out.

To me, the GOP has always been the party of greed and willful ignorance. The dullards who would forever pound at the square peg, thinking with each pound that it would suddenly, magically fit in the round hole. The people who yearn for an American that never existed outside of the covers of the Saturday Evening Post or an Andy Hardy movie. (I would say Capra, but his films - while idealistic as well - were pretty solidly Democrat)

I have no time for the GOP. I get frustrated with the Dems all the time, but at least there's a veneer of civility and - in my opinion - a core of good intentions. It's just the monied hangers on that mess it up.

Posted by catalina vel-duray | March 24, 2007 9:10 AM

Descartes wrote in loose translation, "If you are young and not liberal, you have no heart. If you are old and not conservative you have no brains." He was not trying to praise or damn either set with the statement, just telling it like it is. It is the work of youth to push society and test its moral pronoucements. It is the work of the elders to defend and remember the lessons of the past.

Posted by Michael Caine | March 24, 2007 12:39 PM

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