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Monday, February 22, 2016

THE DECLINE OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY

I've long wondered why the Republican Party has through most of my professional career dominated nationally, but not in my home state of Hawaii.  Why Republicans are almost nonexistent here is pretty simple.  At one time this was a paternalistic state, with the sugar industry and related business partners dominating the politics and decision-making.  Rich people and Caucasians were the Republicans.  Then came World War II, then over the next decade, local Japanese veterans returned as heroes, with the GI Bill educating them.  That led to a a monumental reversal, with Democrats gaining control, which has continued to the present.

  • Asian  38.6%
  • White  24.7%
  • Native Hawaiian  10% (including Pacific Islanders)
  • 8.9%  Hispanic
  • 1.6%  Black
However, nearly 24.7% claim to be of two or more races, which is triple that of the next highest, state Alaska at 7.3%.

If the Nation had the above racial breakdown, the country would be  overwhelmingly Democratic.  The USA today?
  • White  63.7%
  • Hispanic  16.3%
  • Black  12.2%
  • Asian  4.7%
In the USA, white does not mean you are a Republican, but only a small percentage considers itself rich.  So why do Republicans dominate the U.S. Congress, Supreme Court, State Legislatures and State Governorships (31 versus 18)?
  • The 1964 Civil Rights Act gave legal protection to minorities.  Caucasians reacted by leaving the Democratic Party, particularly in the South.
  • In 2014 10-year Democratic Representative John Barrow of Georgia lost to Republican Rick Allan.  Barrow was the last white Democratic from the South in the U.S. House of Representatives.
  • In 2015 Louisiana Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu lost her re-election to Republican Bill Cassidy.  She was the last Democrat to hold any statewide office in Louisiana and the last Democrat in Congress to represent the Deep South.
  • U.S. Senate:  54 Republicans out of 100.
  • U.S. House:  247 Republicans out of 435.
  • Republicans are governors in 7 of the 10 largest states.
  • Democrats control both houses of the state legislature and governorship only in 7 states, with 24 for Republicans.
Control of a state means control over re-districting and the opportunity for gerrymandering.

Republicans better promote family values and aim for lower taxes.  Everyone identifies with those.  They are a lot more religious, and 80-90% of Americans identify with God and the Afterlife, with a Gallup poll showing more than 90% believing in God.  Every Democrat in Congress is smart enough to indicate a belief in God, but Republicans do this much more sincerely.

While official campaign funds seem reasonably close, the more effective lobbyists with bigger bucks include the military industrial complex, fossil fuel companies and pharmaceuticals.   I know, they offered me a lot more than struggling lobbyists when I worked in the Senate.  The Supreme Court now allows the rich to be especially generous and provided a non-accountable back door to campaign financing.  It is not clear how much these inputs are impacting the national scene, but it must be significant, and Republicans benefit the most, by far.  But, aha, whether it will be a Barack  liberal or Hillary liberal, with two more Associate Justices nearing the end of their lives, the Supreme Court will shift to Democratic Party wishes over the next eight years.

So why am I suggesting that there will be a decline in Republican dominance?  Well, the Supreme Court, for one, but, also:
ANWR Exploration: REPUBLICANS: 91% supported; DEMOCRATS 86% opposed
Coal to liquid: REPUBLICANS: 97% supported; DEMOCRATS: 78% opposed
Oil shale exploration: REPUBLICANS: 90% supported; DEMOCRATS: 86% opposed
Offshore exploration: REPUBLICANS: 81% supported; DEMOCRATS: 83% opposed

  • Republicans pooh-pooh the significance of global warming.  Republican Senator Jim Inhofe, chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, the most powerful American in Congress on the environment, calls this The Greatest Hoax.  However:
    • No solid evidence of global warming:  
      • Republicans 48%
      • Democrats 9%
    • Global warming is happening
      • Republicans  45%
      • Democrats  86%
  • Republicans question the validity of evolution (surely, we can't today be that ignorant):
    • Humans have evolved over time
      • Republicans  43%
      • Democrats  67% (kind of low, actually)
  • Republicans want to spend more on war, not listening to former Republican President Dwight Eisenhower.  We don't have a Soviet Union anymore to threaten us, and terrorism can be handled by Navy Seals and drones without more $13 billion aircraft carriers, which are obsolete anyway, and the projected $1.5 trillion F-35 fighter plan of the Department of Defense.
    • Too much spending on military
      • Republicans  20%
      • Democrats  51%
    • Too little spending on military
      • Republicans  15%
      • Democrats  49%
  • Republicans abhor using funds to aid the needy.  There are a lot more voters who are needy than really rich people.  So obvious, but click on this poll to understand the details:
  • Republicans want to keep immigrants out of the country.  There is the Donald Trump version as an extreme, but comparing Republicans versus Democrats:
    • 63% of Republicans view immigrants as a burden.
    • 62% of Democrats believe immigrants strengthen our country because of their hard work and talents.

David Brooks of The New York Times had an op-ed today entitled A Little Reality on Immigration:
  • Donald Trump built his campaign on a wall along the Mexican border (attention grabbing but unworkable), but that is not far away from the current Republican orthodoxy.
  • To show conservative credentials, Republicans want to deport undocumented aliens.
  • The flow of illegal immigrants peaked in 2005 and has since been dropping.
  • There are more Mexicans LEAVING the U.S. than coming in.  A wall would keep them in.
  • Since 2008 more immigrants have come from Asia than Latin America, and this disparity is growing.  Further, these Asians are more highly educated than the average American.
  • Immigrants make American streets safer.  
  • Republican immigration attitudes are pissing off the brown population.
  • Immigrants have a hugely positive effect on our GDP.
  • Republicans are more and more becoming white older Americans, who identify with Trump.
  • In 2044 America will become a majority-minority country.
Click on this article for details so you can link to sites that confirm these statements.

The catalyst for the decline of the Republican Party will be Donald Trump.  If he wins the Republican ticket to the presidential race, they will begin to lose control of Congress.  If they sufficiently mistreat him, he will run as an Independent and totally screw them up.  Bernie Sanders seems less inclined to play the Ralph Nader role in the ruining of Al Gore.  Will the Red, White and Blue elephant become a White elephant?

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