Decline of the GOP

This is an excellent analysis of where the GOP stands in the Philadelphia Suburbs.  It’s not good.  Not good at all.  Bucks County, the county I live in, is now the most Republican County, and we traditionally haven’t been.  Chester County is even in trouble:

It was once one of the most Republican counties in the state.  It gave Nixon 64, 57, and 68 percent of the vote in 1960, 1968, and 1972 respectively; 61 and 70 percent to Reagan; and 67 percent to the elder Bush.  Those large margins are gone, though it was the only one of these counties to vote for George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004.  2008 was a historic reversal, as McCain ran 7 points behind Bush’s 2004 performance, becoming the first Republican presidential candidate to lose in Chester County since 1964.

The interesting thing is, Tom Corbett, who is on the short list as a possible candidate for Governor, did very well in the suburbs.  The GOP’s losses in some formerly Republican counties, like Delaware and Montgomery, are probably not reversable.  I think Bucks and Chester counties can still be saved for the GOP, but they have to front good candidates.  As much as I like Pat Toomey, I think Corbett is a much stronger candidate for Governor in 2010, and I hope he runs.

The rest of Pennsylvania needs to be very concerned about this development, because if the Philadelphia Suburbs start voting with the city, they will dominate Pennsylvania politics like downstate New York dominates upstate.  That will not be good for a lot of the values central, and western Pennsylvanians hold dear.

UPDATE: I think this commenter pretty much has it right:

1) We must remember these counties are largely Republican bastions to this day at the local level.  Republicans control the commission/council in all four county along with a majority of the county row offices.

2) Republicans in these countries run on a different message than their national counterparts: good government.  These counties are some of the best ran in the country.  The same story can be said for local government.  Lower Merion has a local tax rate below the state average while maintaining great services and schools.  These people might be social liberals or moderates, but they are generally good government fiscal conservatives.

He goes on to suggest why the brand of Republicanism touted by people like Sarah Palin don’t go over well here.  I would actually suggest Palin could sell herself here, since I think she has strong “good government” credentials.  George W. Bush’s brand of big government conservatism was a disaster for the GOP in this area.  There was little “good” about Bush’s governance from our point of view here.  I think people here will coalition with social conservatives, but it has to be a coalition.  If the Republican Party continues being the party of big government social conservatism, the Philadelphia suburbs will be solidly Democratic within a decade.

2 thoughts on “Decline of the GOP”

  1. Palin, judging from her record, is more of a Western conservative than an Alabama-style social conservative. She has shown no interest in pursuing her social views through legislation. Of course, the press didn’t mention that.

    What you describe has important repercussions for more than Pennsylvania. A voter demographic report came out last week that shows that in the last four years, the population has shifted heavily away from small towns and the country to the suburbs. What you describe is a microcosm of the nation, and Republicans would do well to pay attention.

    There is, after all, a huge difference between screaming “No homosexual marriage!” on the campaign trail (insert your favorite social issue, and yes, including the 2A) and soft-pedaling it, then voting against when it comes up.

    But the adults seem to have left the children in charge of the GOP and conservatives in general since 2006. The few adults in the party are castigated as “RINOs” so until conservatives decide to grow up and face reality, we’re looking at Democrats in power. Let’s hope all of the SHAMNESTY! screamers enjoy all of the tax raises they have to pay.

  2. May I humbly suggest that the Republican party would fare much better anywhere it ran through the simple expedient of running conservative candidates instead of “liberal lite” RINOs. The voters can tell the difference.

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