If I were a Republican, I would be very concerned for the future of my party. I would question how my party has forgotten the core elements that once made it so appealing. Presently, being conservative and being Republican can mean two entirely different things.
What happened to the party that stood firmly upon the one core concept that the government should stay out of people’s lives as much as possible?
This core concept has been completely disregarded by the GOP in their vehement opposition to gay marriage. Beyond party platform, opposition to gay marriage has become a reckless political agenda. A 2012 Gallup Poll shows that 53 percent of Americans support the legalization of same-sex marriage. More alarming to the GOP though, is that 73 percent of members of the 18- to 29-year-old demographic support same-sex marriage. Aside from the complete hypocrisy of a “conservative” believing that the government can tell someone whom they are allowed to love, the GOP’s anti-gay stance is one that will hurt them in coming elections.
If I were a Republican, I would question why a party founded on staying out of people’s lives is obsessed with controlling the reproductive rights of women. When will the GOP realize that their war on women is one that women will inevitably win? As we saw in this last election cycle, it turns out women actually get upset when prominent Republicans mention “legitimate rape,” refer to women who defend their right to take contraception as “sluts,” or promise that, if they were elected president, they would only nominate U.S. Supreme Court Justices who advocate on overturning Roe v. Wade. Who knew? It’s almost like women actually took a stand to the concept of a bunch of men telling them what’s best for them and their uteruses.
Maybe this has something to do with the gender voting gap in the presidential election rising from a 12-point difference between men and women in the 2008 presidential election to a staggering 18-point difference in 2012. As if that statistic wasn’t enough, swing states such as Ohio, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania — all states that ensured Obama’s electoral victory — were the states where the gender gap was strongest. After all, when the most well-known female members of the GOP are Sarah Palin and Rep. Michelle Bachman, can you really blame women for running desperately to the left?
The worst part about the GOP’s complete disregard for women in the 2012 election is that they haven’t done anything to reverse this suicidal trend. Along with countless Republicans still opposing equal pay for equal work — and when I say “countless,” I actually mean Republican senators voted unanimously against the Paycheck Fairness Act in 2012 — many prominent Republicans opposed the reauthorization of the “Violence Against Women Act” last month. Those Republicans included Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.). These men are widely considered the “rising stars” of the GOP, and Rubio was even chosen to give the Republican response to this year’s State of the Union. If one of these men is on the presidential ticket in 2016, does the GOP really think women will simply forget the egregious stances these men possess?
From suppressing voters to protecting tax cuts for the wealthy, it’s not surprising that the GOP has gained the reputation of being the party of rich, white men. Obviously, this stereotype isn’t entirely true, but can you really blame the American people for giving Republicans this typecast? After all, when men like the Koch Brothers and Sheldon Adelson — the three mega-donors of the GOP — are treated like royalty within the party, aren’t the average Americans eventually going to question where the GOP’s allegiance lies?
Unfortunately, the solution to the GOP’s grim and outdated future doesn’t seem very attainable. The problem lies mostly in the ridiculousness of the GOP’s primary system. As we saw in this past election, any candidate who can even be considered for the Republican nomination has to throw him or herself so far to the right that once the general election begins, most moderates are turned off by the candidate’s radical views. Although candidates certainly have to prove their liberal credentials in the Democratic primary, it’s not nearly as damaging as the Republican counterpart. Due to this extreme weeding-out process, any socially moderate Republican is kept far from ever gaining the Republican nomination. Republicans such as Jon Huntsman or New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg — two men that would probably bring in many moderate voters — don’t stand a chance at surviving the grueling process because Republican primary voters will chastise any of their socially-lenient stances.
The Republican Party has become out-of touch and outdated. It needs to rethink what its core ideals are or it will continue to lose presidential elections. Unless it begins to recognize its faults, the GOP will continue to ostracize more and more American voters.
Patrick Maillet can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.