A friend of mine posted a link to a story about Senator/Loon Ted Cruz winning a GOP presidential straw poll and panicked about what bad tidings this might portend. I might share his trepidation if I thought a GOP straw poll – or indeed, the GOP itself – had any bearing on the future of this nation, which, along with the Republican Party, is lumbering inexorably to irrelevance and, ultimately, collapse. I can’t get hot and bothered one way or the other about whatever pinhead the Republicans decide to toss into the morass this next time around.
Now, I can hear some of you thinking that I have no business prognosticating about 2016, as I was so very, very wrong about 2012 that you can use me as your own personal Dick Morris – i.e. whatever I predict will be the opposite of what will actually happen. To that, I can only say that before I became emotionally invested in Mitt Romney, my dispassionate initial predictions proved to be eerily prescient. Allow me to repeat what I wrote on the day after the Iowa caucuses:
Mitt will win the nomination – maybe quickly, more likely after a long slog – because the Republicans don’t have anybody else. Bachmann’s gone, but Rick Perry is apparently staying in the race, which is nice, because Perry and Gingrich may be able to dilute Santorum’s likely South Carolina win and weaken him for the slog.
And then Mitt loses to Obama, mainly due to the fact that a Mormon can’t win a general election. I state that not to be a victim, but rather as a recognition of reality. The Mormon thing matters, and nobody wants to talk about how much. But both Iowa and South Carolina provide plentiful evidence that there are oodles of evangelical voters who would rather suffer through four more years of Obama than legitimize the LDS Church by putting someone from such an alien cult into the White House.
This is, in fact, what happened, but it was more than this. The Mormon thing kept Republicans from falling in love with Mitt, but what ultimately defeated him was the demographic lock that the Democrats have on the Electoral College, which now makes it virtually impossible for a Republican to win.
This is a relatively recent development – remember, George H.W. Bush carried California in 1988 – but those who think it might change in time for 2016 are deluding themselves. With California’s 54 electoral votes in the bag before the race even begins, the Democrats just have to keep from blowing it on colossal scale, while the Republicans have to run the table with no margin for error. True, George W. ran the table – twice! Not bad for a supposed dunce! – but each of his victories was way too close for comfort. Even his decisive popular vote victory in 2004 only yielded a 286-251 electoral vote win. Since then, Republicans have lost Florida, Virginia, and Ohio, and they don’t look likely to get them back. Demography is destiny, which means the GOP is destined to the historical scrap heap.
This is the demography, incidentally, that prevents Tea Partiers from supporting even the most common sense immigration reforms. Since the National GOP is now only the party of white men and married white women, Tea Party types think the way to survive is to keep fewer people from coming into the country who aren’t white men/married white women. It’s a practical, not personal, sort of racism, but that doesn’t make it any less rancid. And it’s an implicit admission that Republicans are incapable of expanding their appeal beyond their already-imploding status quo.
Keep in mind, however, that these demographic trends don’t necessarily prevent the GOP from winning on the congressional level, as low midterm turnout among minority populations and old-school gerrymandering have carved out enough Republican districts to stave off their inevitable decline for a couple more decades. Indeed, the GOP will likely control both houses of Congress after the midterm elections, which will mean, in practical terms, um… pretty much nothing, except that the Democrats will be able to demonize Mitch McConnell in a Newt-Gingrich-circa-1996 kind of way to leverage 2016 success, although they may not, because they won’t need to.
So here’s 2016, two and half years early. After the Democrats quickly choose their nominee, Republicans will squabble messily and embarrass themselves, and hoary non-issues like evolution and contraception will be discussed to make the GOP look stupid, which, granted, isn’t hard to do. Then the damaged Republican nominee will run against Hillary and lose miserably, and the nation will reward the Clintons with a do-over so they can steal more White House furniture, pardon more fugitives, and remind us all that they are the sleaziest couple to ever infest the Oval Office, although all those who openly acknowledge that sleaze will be dismissed as haters and whiners. Meanwhile, entitlement spending will balloon, Medicare will likely go bankrupt, America will continue to embarrass itself at home and abroad with both incompetence and corruption, and our national metastasization of statist bloat will continue unabated.
Let freedom ring.