Sunday, December 14, 2008

Republican Party Looses As Democratic Party Gains

Motivated by deep religious convictions, GOP religious conservatives believe that the true "family values" moral code for society can be found only in religion and that "true moral code" should be enforced by the law of the land. This explains their unyielding efforts to encode in laws and constitutional amendments, at the state and federal levels, government mandates of their particular interpretation of "family values." As religious conservatives have increasingly dominated the Republican party they have forced out almost all moderate and "traditional Republican" elements of the party. Politically moderate white Christians are not necessarily motivated by "family values" issues and liberal white Christians outright reject the concept of encoding "family values" moral code in laws and constitutional amendments.

The modern Republican Party has moved far from the conservative principals defined by the legendary Conservative Republican Senator Barry Goldwater who said:
"By maintaining the separation of church and state, the United States has avoided the intolerance which has so divided the rest of the world with religious wars... Can any of us refute the wisdom of Madison and the other framers? Can anyone look at the carnage in Iran, the bloodshed in Northern Ireland, or the bombs bursting in Lebanon and yet question the dangers of injecting religious issues into the affairs of state? "The religious factions will go on imposing their will on others unless the decent people connected to them recognize that religion has no place in public policy. They must learn to make their views known without trying to make their views the only alternatives."

Goldwater also said: "I believe a woman has a right to an abortion. That's a decision that's up to the pregnant woman, not up to the pope or some do-gooders or the Religious Right.... There is no place in this country for practicing religion in politics."
Lincoln Chafee quit the Republican Party and has become an Independent -- and many Republicans -- such as former Republican Congressman Jim Leach and Republican philanthropist and international lawyer Rita Hauser among others -- have not officially left the Republican party, but did organize behind Obama. Christine Todd Whitman and long term Colin Powell aide Lawrence Wilkerson want their party back. Sarah Palin helped push the Republican Party farther to the right this election – a polarization which could lead to the downfall of the party, insists Colin Powell.
"I think that in the latter months of the campaign, the party moved further to the right. Governor Palin, to some extent, pushed the party more to the right. And I think she had something of a polarizing effect when she talked about small-town values are good."
President Eisenhower's granddaughter, Susan Eisenhower, a realist/strategist, Eisenhower-style Republican has quit her grandfather's party. -- really a "wow" moment-- Read her entire statement issued on National Interest Online, a publication affiliated with the Nixon Center, but here is a clip of her statement:
I have decided I can no longer be a registered Republican.

For the first time in my life I announced my support for a Democratic candidate for the presidency, in February of this year. This was not an endorsement of the Democratic platform, nor was it a slap in the face to the Republican Party. It was an expression of support specifically for Senator Barack Obama.

I had always intended to go back to party ranks after the election and work with my many dedicated friends and colleagues to help reshape the GOP, especially in the foreign-policy arena. But I now know I will be more effective focusing on our national and international problems than I will be in trying to reinvigorate a political organization that has already consumed nearly all of its moderate "seed corn."

And now, as the party threatens to trivialize what promised to be a serious debate on our future direction, it will alienate many young people who might have come into party ranks.

My decision came at the end of last week when it was demonstrated to the nation that McCain and this Bush White House have learned little in the last five years.

They mishandled what became a crisis in the Caucuses, and this has undermined U.S. national security. At the same time, the McCain camp appears to be comfortable with running an unworthy Karl Rove-style political campaign. Will the McCain operation, and its sponsors, do anything to win?
Even as people have become disenfranchised from the Republican Party and shift party party allegiances, the share of Americans who self-describe their political views as liberal, conservative or moderate has remained stable over the years. Only about one-in-five Americans currently call themselves liberal (21%), while 38% say they are conservative and 36% describe themselves as moderate. This is virtually unchanged from recent years; when George W. Bush was first elected president, 18% of Americans said they were liberal, 36% were conservative and 38% considered themselves moderate according to a November 2008 Pew Research Center Report.

While the relative proportion of liberals, conservatives and moderates has little changed the proportion of voters identifying with the Democratic Party has grown significantly since the 2004 election, and the shift has been particularly dramatic among younger voters. Fully 61% of voters ages 18 to 29 identify or lean Democratic and a comparable percentage supports Barack Obama. But Democratic gains in party affiliation among older voters since 2004 have been much more modest. Moreover, support for Obama among voters ages 50 and older is slightly lower than the share of this cohort that identifies with the Democratic Party.

In Pew surveys conducted since August of this year, 51% of all voters say they think of themselves as Democrats or lean toward the Democratic Party, up five points from 46% during the same period in 2004. Meanwhile, the number identifying with or leaning toward the Republican Party has fallen from 45% to 41%. In this cycle, the Democratic Party enjoys a 10-point advantage in party identification, compared with a one-point edge in the fall of 2004.

The greatest gains for the Democratic Party have come among younger voters. The percentage of voters ages 18 to 29 identifying with the Democratic Party has increased from 48% in the fall of 2004 to 61% currently. Democrats now outnumber Republicans by a margin of nearly two-to-one (61% to 32%) in this age group, up from only a seven-point advantage in 2004.

Voters ages 30 to 49, a group that includes the more conservative "Generation X, "also have shifted considerably since 2004. Nearly half (49%) of voters in this age group identify with or lean toward the Democratic Party, up from 43% in 2004. Democrats currently have a six-point advantage over Republicans among voters in this age group.

Overall, more whites continue to identify as Republicans than as Democrats (48% vs. 44%); this is narrower than the 52%-to-40% advantage the GOP held in 2004. Since then, Democratic Party identification has increased four points (from 40% to 44%) among white voters. (see The Incredible Shrinking Republican Base)

Notably, the balance of party identification among younger white voters has reversed, from an 11-point advantage for the GOP in 2004 to an 11-point advantage for the Democrats today.

Southern counties that voted more heavily Republican this year than in 2004 tended to be poorer, less educated and whiter, a statistical analysis by The New York Times shows. Mr. Obama won in only 44 counties in the Appalachian belt, a stretch of 410 counties that runs from New York to Mississippi. Many of those counties, rural and isolated, have been less exposed to the diversity, educational achievement and economic progress experienced by more prosperous areas. ... The Republicans, meanwhile, have “become a Southernized party,” said Thomas Schaller, a political scientist who teaches at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. “They have completely marginalized themselves to a mostly regional party,” he said, pointing out that nearly half of the current Republican House delegation is now Southern... Less than a third of Southern whites voted for Mr. Obama, compared with 43 percent of whites nationally.

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