If Nate Silver is right, it could be a surprisingly good night for President Obama. My favorite political oddsmaker has Obama’s chances of victory at 91%, with potentially 314 electoral votes. If this turns out to be the result, the Republican Party is going to have to do some major soul searching, because if they could not defeat a Democratic incumbent with unemployment at 7.9%, then must reconcile themselves to permanent minority status. In California Republicans represent just 28% of the population and as the diversity of our state becomes the national norm, the party of Old White Men will decline into irrelevance.
This decline explains some of the more egregious tactics of Republicans in the last six months. A party spends its efforts at disenfranchising the opposition party only when it cannot win elections on the strength of its platform. When you are no longer willing to speak for the young, the gays, the people of color, your only way to victory is the Jim Crow way. I’m old enough to have been involved in the Civil Rights movement in 1962 and 1963. The forces in the White Citizens Councils who would make sure that Blacks could not vote surely must have known that their days in power were numbered, but they didn’t care. They were going to fight for their “way of life” until the very end. Rick Scott, Governor of Florida, is no different than George Wallace in 1963 yelling “Segregation Forever”. The Tampa Bay Times editorial says it all.
Gov. Rick Scott, the Republican-led Legislature and the Republican Party of Florida have done everything they can to discourage you from voting and participating in democracy. Don’t let them get away with it.
The other aspect of the Dying Republican Party is the constant dog whistle of thinly cloaked racism that pervaded the Romney campaign. It’s all of a piece: from the early lies of Obama eliminating welfare requirements to the 47% remarks about people who would never take responsiblity for them selves, to John Sununu’s wish that Obama would learn how to be an American, to Donald Trumps incessant birtherism, right up to Paul Ryan’s closing statement that an Obama victory threatens “Judeo-Christian” values.
It’s a dangerous path, it’s a path that grows government, restricts freedom and liberty, and compromises those values, those Judeo-Christian, Western-civilization values that made us such a great and exceptional nation in the first place.
A Romney loss will cause the hard right to double down and say he wasn’t conservative enough. But the truth is that Paul Ryan’s pinched view of the American future is a minority view. And that minority will be even smaller in four years as many of the fiercest partisans die of old age.