Opinion » Ted Rall

The Leftist Republican Party of the Future

To survive, GOP should out-Democratthe Democrats



Republicans, engaging in the traditional losing party's post-election wound-licking, blame-flinging and anger-at-the-dumb-voters ritual, are facing the awful truth: The American people just aren't into their gay-bashing, race-baiting, woman-hating, Eisenhower-era positions on social issues.

"It's not that our message--we think abortion is wrong, we think same-sex marriage is wrong--didn't get out. It did get out," R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., told The New York Times. "It's that the entire moral landscape has changed. An increasingly secularized America understands our positions and has rejected them."

Exasperated radio blowhard Rush Limbaugh asks, "Condoleeza Rice ... is a pinnacle of achievement and intelligent and well-spoken. ... You can't find a more accomplished person. Marco Rubio. And really, speaking in street lingo, we're not getting credit for it. ... Are these people perceived as tokens?"

"In order to get the Hispanic or Latino vote, does that mean open the borders and embrace the illegals?" Yes.

"If we're not getting the female vote, do we become pro-choice?" Yes.

Liberal pundits are offering advice to their Republican counterparts this week, arguing that if GOP officials and pundits make a few nips and tucks into their Neanderthal platform and tone, they may yet save their white male--dominated party from irrelevance.

Let's set aside the obvious fact that no one does nor should listen to counsel offered by their enemies. Nevertheless, Republicans might be more willing to listen to me than other columnists. After all, I love the GOP just as much as I care for the Democrats--not at all.

The Republicans' big problem is that they think they're me.

I am a pundit. The pay isn't great, but I get to stand up for what I think is right regardless of whether anybody else is willing to follow. My job isn't to be popular. However, if I were tapped to head a major political party, I wouldn't have that luxury.

If Republicans want to win elections, they need to set the stage for a transformational shift as dramatic as 1932, when FDR turned the Democrats into the party of liberalism and progressivism.

Republicans need not wonder why President Barack Obama got 71 percent of the Latino vote; if anything, the shocker is that figure wasn't higher. For decades, right-wing talk radio hosts and other Republican surrogates have been bashing illegal immigration. Now that the Latino vote has become essential to win national races, the GOP can no longer afford its hardline stance on immigration.

On every social issue of note, Americans are moving away from the Republican Party. We are becoming more tolerant of gays and their rights, more supportive of abortion rights, and more open to people of different backgrounds.

Beginning last summer, Republican strategists consciously decided to downplay Mitt Romney's stances on the Republican Party's platform on social issues. Now liberal commentators are joining them, strangely and cynically suggesting that Republicans need to change their emphasis of their messaging--but not the content of their policies.

Style isn't enough. Republicans are doomed unless they radically change to social-issue policies that are in step with the country. If the Party of Lincoln is adaptable and intelligent, it will exploit the opportunity to move, not just left, but to the left of the center-right Democratic Party.

The GOP could make good on its long-standing assertion that it favors a legal path to immigration by proposing that we open our doors to a huge surge of legal immigration.

The Republican Party claims to be the party of small government conservatism; why not say that this is a simple matter of keeping the government out of our bedrooms and out of women's bodies? Same thing goes for same-sex marriage and other rights for people who are discriminated against because of their sexual orientation.

You can't roll out a new and improved Republican Party social issues platform overnight without alienating the crazy Christian fundamentalists and other unattractive sorts who form the basis of the Republican Party. But you can start a transition to a viable future in a methodical way that prepares the Republican Party for the huge demographic shifts that will drive the politics of the country as it moves further and further to the left.

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