There are two basic strategic problems I see with the current Republican party. First, the party establishment seems completely uninterested in winning the war over ideas. This mistake is indeed the more devastating of the two, as I believe in the end ideas determine reality.
Not in some squishy metaphysical sense but in the cold practical sense that someone must actually write policy and someone must educate the next generation of bureaucrats. If those people all have left wing ideas then you can pretty much bet dollars to donuts that you are going to have left wing government. It may come with enough right wing coating for the public to swallow it but ultimately the public neither authors nor administers the law.
The second mistake is more obvious. The GOP seems uninterested in appealing to the fastest growing demographic groups. Its problems with urban voters are well established and probably deeply rooted. However, its current trouble with Hispanics are of its own making.
Here are some charts I ganked from the Chicago Fed and they focus on the Midwest. However, I know of no particular reason the rest of the country should be any different.
New Urbanism is proceeding full throttle. Michael Steele says he wants to bring the GOP to a “hip-hop urban-suburban” audience. However, suburban doesn’t look like its going to cut it. The country is urbanizing. Whether its “re” urbanizing or continuing a long run trend towards density is a matter of debate. I tend to think this is a new phenomena but that’s an argument for another day.
Urbanites clearly see government in more favorable lights than suburban and rural dwellers for the simple reason that proximity breeds externality. Spillovers of all sorts, positive and negative are more likely in the city and demands for a government capable of handling negative spillovers will increase.
So yes, this is perhaps a fundamental problem for the GOP. This, however, is not.
I hate to go all Comte but these demographics do look a whole lot like destiny. I mean good god man. There are basically no Hispanic senior citizens and a ton of — apparently fertile given the fraction of the population under age 4 — twenty-somethings.
The GOP seems to be doing its best to antagonize this tidal wave but as far as I can tell there is nothing inherently “Democrat” about Hispanics. They tend to be religious, family oriented, entrepreneurial and generally culturally conservative.
Hispanics look to me like the natural future of the GOP yet, the party seems hell bent on making permanent enemies.