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The Republican Party and Buggy Whips November 5, 2008

Posted by Kate Ryan in National Politics, Presidential Politics, Republicans.
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As I nurse my post-election hangover – which is a real hangover because I ended up breaking out the rum and cokes last night to calm my nerves – I can’t help but ponder what Obama’s great victory means.  Not just to me and all of us who supported him, but particularly to those Americans who did not.  And by them, I mean Republicans.

The election yesterday should be a seminal moment for the Republican party, an epiphany, a wake-up call.  The party needs to really look at itself and decide what it is going to be going forward.  Some election facts should serve as its guidebook, and first among these facts must be a realization that the American electorate is looking a lot different than it used to.  For one, it’s browner.

When I watched the Republican National Convention, I was stunned at the uniform whiteness of the crowd.  I later read that less than 3% of the delegates to that convention were people of color.  That is certainly not representative of America.  If current trends continue, by 2030, over 50% of Americans will not be white.  Obama managed to capture over 60% of the Latino vote and over 80% of the African-American vote.  Republicans will want to dismiss this fact as merely an anomaly – people just voted for Obama because of his color.  They do so at their peril because of the next election fact – young people.

The Obama team managed to get voters under 30 to the polls in unprecedented numbers.  By and large, young people are not affected by race.  They are also relatively unaffected by gender, sexual orientation, and other “hot-button” social issues.  They are more educated and more secular than their parents, and in 20 years, they will be the largest group of voters.  If the Republican party can not find ways to attract and keep young voters, they will go the way of the Whig party, and die off as a brand. 

In the 1991 film “Other People’s Money”, Danny DeVito plays a corporate raider in a proxy fight to take over a small New England company.  At the final shareholders meeting, he tells a story about a company that made the best buggy whips in the world.  This company was so confident in the quality and integrity of their buggy whips, they dismissed the new invention – the automobile – and failed to change to meet the threat.  In the end, it did not matter that their buggy whips were the best, they became an anachronism and went out of business. 

Well, right now the Republican Party is producing some damn fine buggy whips and if they can’t recognize that the freight train rumbling toward them will crush them, then they deserve to fail.

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1. George Bush On Best Political Blogs » The Republican Party and Buggy Whips - November 5, 2008

[…] The Republican Party and Buggy Whips As I nurse my post-election hangover – which is a real hangover because I ended up breaking out the rum and cokes last night to calm my nerves – I can’t help but ponder what Obama’s great victory means.  Not just to me and all of us who supported him, but particularly to those Americans who did not.  And by them, I mean Republicans. The election yesterday should be a seminal moment for the Republican party, an epiphany, a wake-up call.  The party needs to really look at itself and decide what it is going to be going forward.  Some election facts should serve as its guidebook, and first among these facts must be a realization that the American electorate is looking a lot different than it used to.  For one, it’s browner. As I watched the Republican National Convention, I was stunned at the uniform whiteness of the crowd.  I later read that less than 3% of the delegates to that convention were people of color.  That is certainly not representative of America.  If current trends continue, by 2030, over 50% of Americans will not be white.  Obama managed to capture over 60% of the Latino vote and over 80% of the African-American vote.  Republicans will want […] […]


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