Sunday, March 24, 2013

Echoing Points

According to a lengthy report released by the Republican National Committee, the “Grand Old Party” needs to make some changes if it wants to start winning presidential elections again. But, like all things, a change in the status quo is going to be easier said than done. Republican primary voters have been demanding a high level of ideological purity from their candidates, spurred on by popular, activist, media personalities. As what it takes to be a viable “April” Republican drifts further and further to the political right, it becomes more and more difficult for anyone who can win in that arena to be a competitive “November” Republican.

“The Republican Party needs to stop talking to itself,” [the report] says. “We have become expert in how to provide ideological reinforcement to like-minded people, but devastatingly we have lost the ability to be persuasive with, or welcoming to, those who do not agree with us on every issue.”
Republican Review of 2012 Losses Calls for Many Changes
However, as with any system that doesn't work, you have the fact that in some ways, it does work - and the people for whom it works are unlikely to embrace changes that have costs for them, while bringing benefits to others. Especially when they to don't feel that they need to.

One of the complaints that Democratic lawmakers and activists have had since the last presidential election is that “elections matter.” But the Republicans have put a lot of time, money and effort into making sure that they didn't, and they aren't about to let go of it. Despite the fact that, nationwide, Democratic candidates for the House of Representatives won 1.4 million more votes than their Republican rivals, the fact that after the 2010 elections, the Republicans were the ones often drawing the district boundary maps meant that the G.O.P. was able to maintain their majority of seats.

This most recent process of gerrymandering (the name should be considered a grave insult to the whole of order Caudata) has produced congressional and state legislature seats that are reliably Republican. And the tendency of Democratic voters to live in densely-populated urban areas makes it easy for those drawing the district lines to group them into a few overwhelmingly Blue districts, while retaining the rest of the state to be divided up between themselves.

This process has likely contributed to the creation of a Republican base that feels little need to open up. The seats their lawmakers hold are safe, and those of the Democrats are even more untouchable. Given this, it seems reasonable that the Republicans will continue to converse with themselves in their echo chambers. Because it is the people who are those echo chambers with them whose votes they rely on to stay in office. Unless those people are convinced that the Oval Office can only be gained with changes, and that is worth those changes, they won't pressure their candidates into a different direction.

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