Wednesday, May 13, 2009

James Carville's New Book Predicts GOP Will Spend The Next Forty Years As A Minority Party In American Politics

A new book by Democratic strategist James Carville, "40 MORE YEARS: HOW THE DEMOCRATS WILL RULE THE NEXT GENERATION" predicts one of the greatest American political realignments since the Roosevelt era in response to the Great Depression for the Democrats, leaving the Republicans with a minority party status for at least this next 40 years.

Interestingly, some Republican strategists are now privately concurring with the basic thesis of Carville's new book as well.

Carville does believe that a few pretty good GOP candidates might be able to still capture the White House once in a while over the next forty years, or that in 2010, the Republicans could make some minor gains in congress, as Carville believes it might be impossible for the Democrats to have three big elections in a row go in their favor. Yet, he still sees enough of a trend among young voters and minorities such as Hispanic, Asian and African American voters voting Democratic that it spells overall policy problems for the GOP whose values and positions on issues are from the economic or social views of many voters. As a whole, the Republican Party has simply become too conservative, and too much a party of some White voters from conservative regions of the country such as parts of the South or parts of the West to really be a true national party.

Even back around 1968, a Republican such as Richard Nixon could count on some regional strength from all regions of the country. However, in New England for example, very few Republicans now represent that region and reliable Republican states such as Maine and New Hampshire have now leaned strongly Democratic for years, unlike the past when they would traditionally lean Republican. In the West, Oregon and Washington once both leaned Republican as late as 1972, but then Oregon was nearly evenly split in 1976, when Gerald Ford just barely won the state. But in recent years, Oregon has leaned solidly Democratic. and the in the state, the Governor and both chambers of the legislature are run by the Democrats, and both U.S. senators and all but one member of congress, Greg Walden, are now Democrats as well.

Part of the difficulty for Republicans is that they really lack a charismatic figure like a Reagan right now, who was able to present a strong message as well as to act as a strong messenger. On the other hand, the Democrats have one of their best and most charismatic figures ever in President Obama right now. And Obama seems to make a real connection as appealing to the average person although he is a highly educated intellectual. The Democrats have the perfect message and messenger at this time, while the Republicans really lack both important aspects.

Part of the problem for Republicans as well is the increasing conservative trend of the party, where mainstream Republicans such as retired General Colin Powell were denounced by Dick Cheney and others for merely mentioning that he believed the party should move to a more centrist vision. Even Newt Gingrich. who was the architect of the highly successful "Contract With America" that helped Republicans to take control of both congress and the senate during the Clinton years, seems to have moved past seeking to build an electoral success with voters towards increased conservatism as well.

Many Republican leaders such as Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin also seem to want to champion only a small very conservative faction of voters, and to take their party down to a path of a disastrous 1964 Barry Goldwater type defeat. They seem to wholly reject consensus building politics. By comparison, Democrats may not be without some blame by voters as well, however they manage to make enough of a positive connection on enough issues such as economic ones to satisfy enough voters to probably end up on the top end of most future elections for decades.

The unfortunate fact is that some Republican leaders are acting like some painter who did not plan ahead, and slowly painted himself into a smaller and smaller corner, with no viable way out of a real unfortunate disaster. If anything, that's not very smart politics. That's also nothing like the consensus politics that some Republicans such as a Dwight Eisenhower or Richard Nixon once used to win the White House, and it's even less like the charisma of a Ronald Reagan who promised a return to greatness for America if elected.

For a growing number of apparent political factors, the basic thesis of political consultant James Carville's new book may indeed be correct. Democrats may well be in the very best position of the two political parties to be in the driver of policy as well a most of the electoral successes. The social and political demographics are simply not running in the Republicans favor right now. Unless the Democrats can blow their opportunity to rule big time, then the Republicans really have very little to look forward to in the near future. But for now, their attacks seem largely petty and like mere pinpricks compared to really effect issue building.