Year in and year out, the Republican Party has counted on the support of a certain group of individuals of our society to win elections. The historic election of President Obama changed the Republican playbook. No longer can the Republicans employ the politics of stupidity. Their conservative “base” is simply not enough to deliver electoral victories. Much like the Democratic Party of the early 1980’s, the Republican Party of today finds itself lost in the wilderness and in search of the crumbs that would lead them back to power.
Wedge issues continue to dominate the Republican platform. Prayer in school, Gay and Lesbian rights, stem cell research, abortion, immigration policy, gun control, and the display of religious symbols can no longer divide the electorate sufficiently to affect an electoral result one way or another. Any politician, regardless of party affiliation, who makes any of these issues the cornerstone of their campaign, is relying on the “moron factor” of his/her constituents. The reality is that this political tactic simply does not work any more. No politician can overturn Roe v. Wade single-handedly, nor do they have the power to personally rescind constitutional amendments. Voters have finally realized this. The debate over LGBT rights and immigration are the only wedge issues that remain legislative susceptible to politicking. This too may soon change.
The American electorate has evolved exponentially during the past two decades. We have become a plurality of voters who refuse to fall for the wedge issue debate. It is amazing that these issues have lasted so long and have pushed the electorate to vote against their own economic interests in the process. The country is in the grips of a new progressive reorientation which no doubt has left the Republican Party gasping for air. This is evident in their present day politically nomadic state.
Will wedge issues eventually cause a split within the Republican Party? Probably. Libertarianism is not the answer for the disaffected base. As these issues become less relevant to the American electorate the Republican Party will continue to lose ground. And that is some thing we liberals can all be thankful for.
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