Conservatives are so cute! At least when they try to figure out why no one likes their party. It just never occurs to them that it might be, you know, their policies. Look: conservatives like their policies. It is the party of the rich that does the work of the rich. And a bunch of Christians and racists. Conservatives don’t talk about the racists for a couple of reasons. One is that it is who they are. Another is that they don’t believe in racism. Except reverse racism, where the powerless make the powerful cry. But that’s just part of doing the work of the rich. Let us say no more about racism!
But Christians? There’s something there. And Jonah Goldberg thinks he understands why Asians are not voting for the Republican Party. Back in December he wrote, The GOP: Not a Club for Christians. That’s an aspirational title, because Goldberg fully admits that the Republican Party really does act like a Christian group:
Now Goldberg doesn’t take offense to this, because he understand that he is one of them. After all, he’s the speaker. But what about a Jew or a Buddhist or a Muslim who just happened to be in the audience? He might feel like an outsider.
There is something to this, but again, this is just tinkering around the edges. The real problem is policy. But even on this issue, Goldberg shows the biggest problem the conservative movement has going forward: rigidity. He writes, “The challenge now is to figure out how to talk in a way that doesn’t cause decent and dedicated Christians to pull in like a turtle, while also appealing to non-Judeo-Christians and the nonreligious.” Even apart from the fact that all he’s talking about is “appearance,” this just isn’t going to happen. As I’ve argued before, Christians in the United States do not want equality. “Happy Holidays!” is not good enough because it doesn’t explicitly claim that Christianity (unlike all those other religions) is the Truth.
But its even worse than this. The Republican commitment to evangelical Christians dates back to Ronald Reagan. There has never been a good marriage between the libertarian and social conservative wings of the party. In fact, they, more than any other groups, ought to belong to different parties. And the Republican Party really can’t move forward in a meaningful way until they resolve this conflict. That requires offending a fair percentage of “decent and dedicated Christians.”
And that’s what I started with. There are three major categories of people who vote for Republicans: rich, social conservative, and racist. I think the third category is quickly fading—or at least I want to think that. The social conservatives still dominate who votes for the Republicans. This is why the Tea Party started in opposition to corporate welfare and the bank bailout but ended as a bunch of deficit scolds who get abortion absolutists elected.
But I repeat: conservatives really are adorable as they scurry around looking for something easy they can do to fix their demographic problems. To misquote Churchill: “Republicans can always be counted on to do the right thing… After they have exhausted all other possibilities.” I’m thinking 4-6 years, but even longer if the Democrats screw up and hand them the White House in 2016. Until then, it will be more attempts to game the electoral college, pretend to be “compassionate,” and welcome other faiths.
Scurry along, little party!