The Republican National Conventional appears to have turned voters off. That’s the result of a CNN/ORC poll that asked, “Does what you saw or read of the Republican National Convention in Tampa make you more likely or less likely to vote for Mitt Romney?” The “less likelies” were ahead of the “more likelies” by ten percentage points.
It’s too soon to know how much post-convention bounce went to President Obama, but all indicators so far point to some kind of bounce. And the Dems put more unapologetic liberalism on display at that convention than I have seen in a long, long time. Some rightie blogger wrote that it was the most liberal convention since McGovern’s, and he may have been right. Of course, I see that as a feature, not a bug.
Yes, the 1972 convention probably hurt McGovern more than it helped him, but that was 1972. This is 2012. A lot has changed in 40 years. Most notably, 1972 was the all-time peak year for real wages for working Americans; wages have been on a long, wavering decline ever since.
Since at least the late 1970s and 1980s Republicans have been pushing the snake oil of tax cuts, deregulation, and slashing “entitlements” as the cure-all for whatever ails the economy, and it seems to me that scam has about run its course. Even people who don’t follow politics all that closely are catching on, it appears. And after years of right-wing ideology dominating our nation’s political discourse, the Dems talked about citizenship, for pity’s sake, and it was a breath of fresh air.
At Daily Kos, Laurence Lewis wrote about the Republican death spiral.
The Republicans have no future. From climate change to national security to the economy to social justice and human rights, the list of issues on which the Democrats and public opinion are moving forward while the Republicans are stagnating if not attempting to move backward is endless. They can’t win on the issues. They can’t win on their freak show personalities. They can’t win using the principles of democracy and republic. The only hope for the Republicans is to lie, cheat and steal, and they are attempting exactly that. And to a party that now is habitually and congenitally opposed to basic scientific realities, lies aren’t incidental to their political strategies, they are in fact the basis of their world view. To a party that is openly bigoted against the diverse demographics that the rest of the nation not only celebrates but has become, voter suppression and the undermining of democracy isn’t but a political means to an ends, it is the inevitable desperation of the soon-to-be extinct. Their last and only hope is that they can buy a last election or two, and encode into law, and legislate from the bench into the Constitution an end to democracy itself.
This is right, which is why we cannot be complacent. The November election could still be close. A lot of states will remain snowed under by ultra-conservative legislatures and governors. A shrinking minority of right-wingers could very well keep progress in check for several years to come.
But the Buddha said — his last words, in fact — all compounded things will decay. It’s clear to me the wave of “movement conservatism” that picked up momentum from Goldwater and Reagan is now in its decaying phase, even as its takeover of the Republican Party is complete. Were it not for the media-“think tank” infrastructure keeping it alive, it probably would be gone already.
Now the Republican Party, which has bet all its chips on “movement conservatism” living forever, is in big trouble. It is being bankrolled by a small pool of mega-wealthy cranks and led by ideologues who cannot think, see, or feel outside of a very small box. And those two factors will prevent the GOP from adapting gracefully to a changing political ecosystem.
In short, we may soon see the dinosaurs die off and be replaced by scrappy little mammals.
Again, I don’t expect wingnutism to disappear in a puff of smoke the day after the November election. But by 2022, IMO, the GOP will have either shoved “movement conservatism” back to the fringe, or it will be dissolving into history to join the Whigs. And if one of those two things hasn’t happened, it will mean that today’s Republicans were successful in scuttling democracy itself.
Update: See also “For the Romney campaign, itâ€™s forever 1980.”