You are using an outdated browser.
Please upgrade your browser
and improve your visit to our site.
Skip Navigation

Comment Of The Day!

Over at the Stump, Noam argued that while the Republican party should shift to representing "Sam's Club voters" (economics for the working class paired with social conservatism), the current GOP can't make the transition because of its fat-cat supporters. Instead, he sees the current Republican party fading away, with a new coalition developing to represent this group.  

But commenter JSmith125 doesn't see the GOP going away any time soon:  

In a country that's had the same two major parties for 150 years, it's a little odd to hear that either of them will "basically cease to exist" -- as opposed to being taken over by a different political tendency or movement. If it's hard to imagine the Republicans as the Sam's Club party, it was also once hard to imagine them as the Southern anti-civil-rights party, and yet there you have it. Over the course of a generation or so, an American party can come to represent virtually the opposite of what it once did, all while still retaining its old name.

The analysis therefore shouldn't focus on whether something called "the Republican Party" will continue or not, but on what the future of conservatism holds and/or on whether "Sam's Club conservatism" will ever be electorally viable. I haven't read "Grand New Party," but I suspect that it understates the degree to which social and not just economic conservatism is a drag on the current GOP. The media narrative that says that Americans are basically social conservatives has been solidly in place since the Reagan years, but it doesn't square with such indicators as collapsing opposition to gay rights, persistent support for abortion rights, and in general the failure of conservatives to put the brakes on post-1960s cultural and sexual liberalization, women's rights, racial equality, rock'n'roll -- all the progeny of the old "counterculture," which has turned out to be one of the most successful movements in American history.

Of course, average people are still "conservative" and always will be, but what counts as conservative is vastly different from what it was in 1955. To call for a Republicanism based on social conservatism is to aim your sights at a fixed point while your target continues moving on downrange. Switching metaphors, it means you will inevitably find yourself behind the curve, and sooner or later that's going to lose you elections.

--The Editors