May 12, 2016 by Chris Kite
Republicans are fretting. Many think the key is in becoming more conservative. As if the party isn’t conservative enough. It has been drifting further and further right since the days of Ronald Reagan. And it hasn’t helped.
The problem isn’t that Republicans are not conservative enough. But don’t tell that to the Tea Party know-it-alls. Don’t tell that to the Republicans that think compromise and working together is a dirty word.
The irony is that victory in a general election was probably there in both 2012 and 2016. Jon Huntsman had the experience and temperament to be President. He was very conservative, but not so conservative that he was blind to the need to work together. John Kasich is also very, very conservative. But again. He isn’t crazy. He doesn’t spout a lot of nonsense. He doesn’t sell the crazy fear of gay marriage, all Muslims are terrorists, and all illegal immigrants are rapists and drug dealers rhetoric that seems so important to a good portion of the Republican party.
I fear Democrats may be going in the same direction with the significant “Bernie or nothing” contingent of liberals. The folks that seem to think the only way to change is a “political revolution” that makes fast and enormous changes to the way things are. Not that that would be a bad thing. But it requires a catalyst, much like we had with The Great Depression. Something horrific to galvanize massive support.
But we don’t really seem to be at that point in time. Give Trump the White House, and we might just get there!
What about Hillary Clinton’s unpopularity? It’s true. Hillary Clinton does have a lot of negatives. That is caused by two things. First, Republicans have been very successful at trying to slap her with scandal after scandal. There has been no meat to any of them, but facts generally don’t bother the right wing extremists. And their constant spewing of non-facts has resulted in more moderate voters buying the spin. And that is why their party is in the shape it is in. The other reason Clinton’s negatives are so high is that she doesn’t seem to be very effective at managing her campaign and her message. Every politician has slip-ups. Every politician says something that makes their supporters cringe and their enemies lick their chops. But the good ones find ways to recover and move on.
The biggest thing that is likely to save the Democratic party this election cycle is that Republicans are a wreck and cannot get their act together. They are much like a three stooges skit where they are all working against each other and damaging the party, rather than working together to move in the same direction.
The Republican party is not lacking in conservatism. It is, in fact, too far right to attract enough mainstream support. And that is what has created a climate that allows Donald Trump to win the nomination by vilifying Muslims, Mexicans, and other minorities.