The Bright Coast

Progressive Thoughts from San Diego Alums on Law, Politics, and Culture

Mommy, What’s A Republican?

Posted by demkid on April 27, 2009

If things keep going the way they are, the Republican Party could soon become as obsolete as rabbit ears and phone sex.  According to a new ABC/Washington Post poll (main story here), only 21 percent of Americans identify themselves as Republicans, the fewest in over 25 years.  This number is striking, and it really gives credence to arguments made by people like Meghan McCain, that the GOP is becoming more and more of a fringe party that totally ignores important groups of the electorate, like young people and minorities. 

So what does this mean for American politics if the Republican Party continues to shrink?  Fights between liberals and moderates in the Democratic Party?  I’m not so sure that would be the best thing in the world.  I think a loyal and moderately strong opposition party is necessary to keep things in check and move the dialogue forward in Washington.  I fear that moderate voices would be drowned out completely if the liberal wing of the Democratic Party was able to act with little or no constraint.  At least, where the President is concerned, moderates like me give him high marks for job performance in his first 100 days.  75 percent approve of the job he’s doing, and I hope this number remains high.  A President with strong appeal to the middle can help diminish left-wing activism in his own party.  This is clearly a good thing, as we’ve seen where fringe activism has gotten the GOP in recent years.  If the Democrats are perceived to be out-of-step with most Americans (moderates and independents), they too could soon be on the way to 21 percent. 

Note: Other interesting findings in the poll show that President Obama is in a good position 100 days into his presidency.  No matter what many in the GOP think, a good portion of Americans (62 percent) call him “about right” on the ideological scale.  This represents the highest rating in 30 years.  50% of Americans think that the country is on the right track, up from 19 percent just before Obama’s inauguration, and it’s the highest level in 6 years.  Americans also trust Obama more than Republicans in Congress when it comes to handling the economy by a 61-24 margin, the biggest advantage for a president since 1991.  Most intriguing to me though, is that the ugly GOP/Cheney/Right Coast argument that President Obama is making this country “less safe” has no traction with Americans: just 21 percent (funny!) agree with this assessment, where the rest say his policies are either making the country more safe or that they make no difference.  There’s a lot of other good stuff in the poll (especially when it comes to international affairs), but I’ll let you take a look at it yourself.


5 Responses to “Mommy, What’s A Republican?”

  1. Bob said

    Media poll. Biased. Next.

  2. brightcoast said

    Did the poll happen to say how many Americans identify themselves as a Democrat? It seems to me the dual party system has been weakened, and perhaps people are less comfortable labeling themselves rather than voting the issues…

  3. […] Mommy, What’s A Republican? […]

  4. Bob J. said

    As a longtime Republican and occasional Democrat, I have hopes that Sen. Specter’s shift to the Democratic caucus will be helpful, in the long run, to the Republicans. At some point one of several things have to happen: either A) the Republicans must come to recognize that the base of the party, and in fact the base of any American political party, is in the center of the political spectrum, and that they must move away from the political Dead Zone of the extreme right, or B) the Republicans have to figure out a way to scare the hell out of America so that people will flock to the right in hopes of gaining “safety” (hey, it worked for Dubya!), or C) the Republicans will, voluntarily or not, fold their tent and blow away, and a new party will have to arise – one that is, one hopes, willing to control of the political center with the Democrats.

    Perhaps if the Republicans can learn these two phrases they’ll start to get out of this Dead Zone of their own making : Fiscally Conservative and Socially Moderate.

    Or perhaps “The Party of Ronald Reagan” can learn his most enduring lessons: Stake Your Position, Compromise, Declare Victory, Move On.

  5. Sam G said

    Just like the Repubs when they had control, Dems will inevitably abuse thier power and overstep thier mandate.

    They can’t help it, no party can. The question is how much good Obama & team can do before the legislative pigs get out of the corral.

    Dems will lose a lot of seats, perhaps even one of the houses, in the next election. No way they can hold on being blamed for every American misery, both real and imagined.

    I think Republicans will come back with an agenda that centers almost entirely on fiscal conservatism and gives greater lip service to libertarianism.

    Socially, it will probably tone down the anti-gay marriage, anti-internationalism rhetoric.

    I think the successful model is Gov. Huntsman of Utah, a socially moderate fiscal conservative. I don’t know if he’ll be the candidate(he’s out of Utah and another plain white Mormon), but I think his stance on issues reflects the only successful strategy to cut back into the moderate/independent vote.

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