There’s been a lot of talk in the comments about how Republicans need to do this or that so that their political outlook will match up perfectly with whatever pet issues the commenter finds appealing.Â This is no way to build a coalition.Â The question at hand is what the Republican coalition looks like now, and how to build it back to a majority coalition.Â Right now, the Republican Party is a coalition of:
- Religious and value voters
- Nationalist conservatives, or national greatness conservatives
- Fiscal conservatives who want smaller government.
Each of these categories is, itself, contain a bunch of subcoalitions.Â But these are the basic categories I’ll enumerate for this exercise.Â Jettison one, you no longer have a majority.Â Bush essentially lost the coalition by catering heavily to 1 and 2, throwing a few bones to 3, and doing his level best to pretend 4 isn’t that important.Â Bush basically cut taxes, and then told 4 to take a hike.Â The other problem is that 4 are often not keen on 1’s social agenda, and many have migrated to the Democraic Party, no real bastion for 4s issues, but when 4 sees no difference between the parties, they will vote on social issues.Â This is how Republicans have lost the Northeast and the coastal West.
But here’s the rub: the folks in 1 vote, in huge numbers.Â Their turnout machine is unparalleled.Â Mike Huckabee was a long shot, but with basically only the religious vote, he managed to take several southern states in the primaries.Â John McCain is a solid 2, and for those that think paleoconservatism is the path to the future, McCain won the nomination with pretty much only the 2 vote, and enough 3 and 4 who are still left, because Romeny didn’t really inspire.Â You don’t win elections without 1 and 2.Â So to quote SayUncle: It’s time to put on our big boy pants, and come up with a platform that keeps the coalition together.
The religious voters in the Republican party need to understand that they live in a secular country, and that younger voters aren’t as religious as their parents.Â Those are just the breaks.Â You can’t legislate your way out of that.Â Amending constitutions isn’t going to fix it.Â But by the same token, the 2s, 3s, and 4s of the coalition need to accept some value issues in the Republican platform in order to get the religious vote to turn out and work for the coalition.Â If the 4s want to build a coalition without 1s, they have to create a turnout machine that surpasses that of the religious vote.Â Unfortunately, that requires more work than most 4s are willing to put in.
Once you get involved in electoral politics, it becomes readily apparently why libertarians have no seat at the table: they don’t bring anything to it.Â That’s what has to change if they want a bigger voice.