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March 19, 2013

What Is Holding The GOP Coalition Together?

People have a tendency to think that things that have been around for awhile have always existed and will always exist. That's not true for anything, especially not politics.

After yesterday's release of the RNC's 2012 "autopsy" I think it's time to consider that the current GOP/center-right coalition no longer exists. On immigration and same-sex marriage the committee was essentially saying, the base of the GOP needs to move on to survive.

But who is going to agree to that and why would they?

Plenty of people will say that Romney was "forced on us" by "the establishment" and others reply "no he was elected by the party". I agree with the latter. But people in that camp need to remember, in order to win Romney had to move right (so did McCain before him) on immigration. Now the party is saying, tough we can't be there any more.

I think it's fair to say that the GOP is "forcing" immigration reform on the party. Now, you can show me polls saying Republicans support immigration reform and amnesty but that's not what they ran on. You can't claim to have a mandate after you pull a bait and switch.

On same-sex marriage, Republicans who actually bother to vote in primaries and in most referendums have voted to protect the traditional definition of marriage. Yet now the party is saying, sorry, that's gotta go.

Smaller government isn't even a unifying theme anymore. Look at the Huckabee/Santorum social-con wing of the party. They aren't for smaller government. Maybe those two will support less spending in some places but they clearly see a larger role for government in some areas of people's lives.

Rand Paul called for eliminating the Department of Education in his CPAC speech, while Marco Rubio talked about reforming how federal dollars are spent.

Paul and Rubio are also great stand-ins for the foreign policy debate the GOP is having.

And we can go on and on.

Obviously a big national party is never going to agree on everything, but what's the issue that gets 75-80% support? Tax cuts? Entitlement reform? Maybe but those aren't electoral winners. Gun rights is but that's an issue that crosses party lines. Opposition to ObamaCare? The House just passed a Continuing Resolution funding it.

Perhaps Jay Cost is right, Obama winning 51% of the vote isn't cause to throw everything out the window. Or maybe Romney and McCains 47-48% of the vote is the ceiling for the current GOP.

Where are the extra votes going to come from?

The "we need amnesty because Hispanics are "natural conservatives"" crowd at least have an idea. It's an idea not based in fact (it actually ignores the facts) but a bad plan will usually trump no plan.

The current GOP coalition hasn't always existed and new ones will come along.

Right now people think we can do addition by subtraction. They are willing to throw 'the other guys" overboard in hopes of bringing in new voters in greater numbers than we might lose. We need to find a way to add by adding.

It's time we accept that our problems require more than tinkering and do major surgery. If those of us opposed to amnesty don't come up with a better plan, it will happen and we'll be in even deeper trouble.

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posted by DrewM. at 11:57 AM

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