Thursday, January 21, 2010

A Deeper Look At
Party Identification

by Neil Newhouse - May 4th, 2009 - Public Opinion Strategies

... data shows that fully 16.8% of all voters in the electorate say they used to consider themselves Republicans, and no longer do.

Nothing in polls explains the problems within the Republican Party which traditionally leaves them the minority party. The data simply clarifies the scope of the challenge and provides hints which must be decoded to ever overcome the perceptions that limit Republican power. I would certainly start with the problem that 17%, fullly one third of the votes Republicans need to elect candidates, have LEFT the party.

The challenge is to make sense of the reasons why the consistently largest political group, conservatives (40%), favor a Republican Party that is always less popular than the Democrat Party which is identified with the consistently smallest group, liberal-socialists (20%). How can that make sense?

The data indicates that suburban women are more attracted to the Democrat Party by a huge margin even though they overwhelmingly see themselves as conservative or moderate. The reasons Republicans lose moderate women would be worth knowing. Until Republicans can find a political agenda that attracts moderate women consistently, they will always find their political power to be transitory and fragile.

I do not agree with Karl Rove and George W. Bush that a Christian based turn to socialism, which they call "compassionate conservative" and I call "compassionate communist", is the answer.

I think our challenge lies in the extreme intolerance of the social conservative family values campaign (especially the pro-life movement) and the hypocrisy of Wall Street in selling monopolism (or as others have called it crony capitalism) rather than true capitalism. Both make Republicans seem harsh and indifferent to the consequences of their beliefs to the weak in our society. Bush and Rove chose to soften the issue of the economic theories of Wall Street monopolism by expanding big government welfare to protect against the loss of individual freedom which comes from Wall Street domination of our economy.

My choice would be to attack both of these issues by addressing the flaws of extremism in the current practices in both these two areas.

First, where Wall Street is concerned, until the Republican Party abandons the political favoritism of "capital gains" taxes allowing the rich to pay lower tax rates than the middle class workers, their appears no justice in their constant harping on reduced taxation. What we need to do is to find a credible way to end the mergers and acquisition driven growth of corporate monopolies and oligopolies. Capitalism works through competition. Wall Street hates competition and works to end it. This attitude also fosters the corruption that damaged Republicans the last time they were in power. The Republican Party must embrace real capitalism and foster competition or the nation (and the party) is harmed, not helped, by their agenda.

This requires that we end forever the special favoritism of capital gains tax rates that reduce taxes on investors while allowing higher rates on small business income. This will not happen until we get a broad based acceptance of the error in seeing what Wall Street does as capitalism... when it is anything but capitalism.

Second we must get a fairer definition of abortion enacted into law. The nation overwhelmingly rejects the idea of permitting abortion after viability, yet the pro-life movement refuses to "settle" for getting this passed and forced into law by the simple process of re-defining the point when a child becomes a human from the current birth to a new point, that of viability. Other steps could whittle away at the huge number of abortions if pro-life supporters would get on board. They reject this and demand their agenda of a total ban They refuse to settle for anything less. To date that has resulted in nothing significantly reducing the number of abortions ever getting passed. It has also left most women with the impression that Republicans are intolerant bigots hostile to their rights.

We need moderate women in the Republican Party. If we don't change our views we will lose any majority gained as quickly as we did the last time.


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