Monday, January 27, 2014

Why the GOP Can't Moderate

Brian Beutler says the Republican Party has backed itself into an ideological corner preventing it from becoming more moderate in

I think it’s fairly evident that Republicans’ increasing reliance on an older, whiter, more conservative constituency has trapped them into a number of non-negotiable policy dogmas. And I think they they bear most of the blame for their own circumstances. It’s an outgrowth of a conscious political strategy. They began taking the country and their party down this road, hoping, as Pat Buchanan famously put it, to “split the country in two and … take the bigger half.” They fused the low-tax, low-regulation agenda of wealthy elites to the worldview of religious conservatives. They birthed the Reagan Revolution, then milked it so vigorously that they’ve become unable to wean themselves from it more than 30 years later.
But there’s more to the story than one losing bet. And I believe the historical backdrop supports the conclusion that there’s no space in U.S. politics for Republicans to undergo a Democratic Leadership Council-style reform. A big part of the story here is that Republicans probably didn’t have much choice but to begin a long trek into an ideological cul-de-sac. Writing at Slate, Matt Yglesias noted that the political sorting the country has undergone over the past few decades was in some ways foreordained by the more organic creation of coherent liberal and conservative ideological intellectual camps in the early-mid-20th century...Thus, nothing that happened subsequently in Republican politics — from the Southern Strategy to its enduring “47-percent” mind-set — was arbitrary. It was built into both the party’s belief system and the professional incentives Republicans continue to face.

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