The 2012 Election and the Elephant Outside The Room
First off, I’m not going to particularly support the Democratic or Republican Party. There’s very little I like about either party and a lot I don’t like about both. I consider myself right-wing and sympathetic to conservatism and “traditional values”, but I’m not onboard with the Republican Party as it exists today or Mitt Romney. Please don’t get the wrong idea that I’m going to suggest that the Republicans will offer the ultimate solution to the world’s problems.
I’m a big fan of Patrick J. Buchanan. I think he’s one of the most frank and honest talking heads out there. Whether or not you agree with him, everyone knows that he isn’t going to mince words or sugar coat anything. After watching the election play out into Barack Obama’s favor, I couldn’t help but to think about his 2011 book Suicide of a Superpower. The basic premise of the book is that as America’s demographics change, the country is going to change. Buchanan predicts that as the country basically gets less white, less affluent and more urban that the Republican Party will no longer be viable at the national level.
I figured this election would be close (and it was), but I thought Romney had a really good chance. Let’s not pull any punches here – Obama hasn’t quite lived up to most of the people who supported him in 2008’s expectations. Given the state of the economy I figured that there would be a good chance that a “silent majority” would vote in Romney, hoping that his plan for the economy would be better than what we’re getting from Obama. Romney did well in the popular vote and with all of the usual suspects (Great Plains, Deep South, Western States), but pretty much got his ass handed to him in the electoral college. Given the state of affairs, the Republicans should’ve easily had this one.
I don’t think that the Democrats are exactly winning ideological battles, but I think that the Republicans are losing them. Meanwhile the sheer number of people who typically vote Democrat grows via immigration, higher birth rates among minorities, growth of cities and through the country getting gradually poorer. Some of the mainstream news articles I read and radio programs I heard chalked up Obama’s victory to a shrinking white electorate and a growing minority electorate, notably the Latino vote. The Republicans attempted to court the growing Latino vote by severely softening their stance on illegal immigration or fawning over legal immigration to no avail, which Buchanan thinks has been a nail in the Republican Party’s coffin – not only are they not getting the votes they were attempting to get, they’re alienating the people who would normally vote for them by changing their position (i.e. me).
Although I didn’t feel like I really had a horse in this race (I voted for Gary Johnson and caucused for Ron Paul – I knew they weren’t going to win), I felt a little unnerved when Obama was reelected. Sometimes conservatives pine about returning America back to the idyllic and prosperous 1950’s or perhaps hark back to restoring a constitutional republic (see: Tea Party circa 2009, Ron Paul, libertarians, etc.) but it felt like the door to that pipe dream on a national level was closed, as it now seems highly unlikely that Republicans under the current circumstances can get into the White House. I’m not under any delusions that the contemporary Republican Party would be able to change America’s course, but at least they give lip service to these ideas and kept some flicker of hope alive at the national level to those of us who lean that way.
I think the Republican Party will continue to be viable at the local level and in the Senate (where yeah, the system is skewed in their favor), but there’s going to be a lot of angry white guys in the red states who are going to feel like they no longer have a say in who’s going to be the president.
So here’s what I HOPE happens: The Republican Party goes back to being the party that REALLY represents small government, fiscal responsibility and personal liberties. They focus on working at the state/local level to put as much distance between Washington and their constitutients. They do what they can to allow the red states be red while not interfering with the blue states being blue. Republicans in Congress and the Senate just occasionally run interference on Democrats infringing on the red states’ constitutional right to be red. If it plays out this way, I think that would be a pretty good outcome for everybody. That’s how the US is supposed to work – each state and locality calls their own shots within the broad parameters of the Constitution.
Here are some things that I THINK will happen: By the time of the 2016 election, there will be serious talk in states like Illinois, Michigan and California about splitting up based on economic, political and demographic circumstances. I don’t think it will actually happen by 2016, but it will come up. I know it does in California from time to time. The map of the election results in Illinois is pretty telling – Chicago, East St. Louis and a few counties around the Mississippi went blue and everything else was solidly red. I know I would be pissed off if I were a Republican in Carbondale and my vote for president didn’t count because of the people in a city I didn’t have a lot of connection to in my state. The city of Chicago is in deep shit financially and the state of Illinois isn’t doing so hot either. When Chicago comes to the state looking for help, people in central/southern IL aren’t going to be happy about bailing them out, if they even can.
I think that by the 2020 presidential election, we will hear mainstream talk of secession from some western and southern states. I’m not going to say there will be secession by 2020, but I am saying that there will probably be open talk about it and not just from a few on the fringe. We’ll see a lot more confederate flags and references to the American Revolution. It’s basically going to be like the Tea Party circa 2009, but this time for real and at a larger scale in the red states.
If you want to prepare by stockpiling guns and ammo, I guess that’s cool but I think a better route is to simply build community and surround yourself with people you can depend on – and be the kind of person that other people can depend on through your skills, attitude and compassion for your neighbors.
Oh, another thing I hope will happen: At the end of the day everyone respects everyone elses’ right to live the way the want to live and have the kind of local government they choose as a community/state. This election has been very nasty – I think part of that has to do with the fact we have more outlets (Facebook, blogs, Twitter, commenting on articles, etc) to bicker without having to be face to face with the other person. I think that if we genuinely acknowledge and accept our sociopolitical differences in the US and collectively rally around the fact they exist, diversity really could be our greatest strength here. It’ll be a great day when people in Berkeley stand up for the rights of people in Fargo to live the way they want to live and vise-versa.
I have a feeling that the next four years are going to be very rocky for the United States and I don’t envy Obama for being in the captain’s chair right now.