September 23, 2012
The US Republicans have a core problem in a country that continues to divide ever more clearly into a nation of the rich and a nation of the poor. The problem is not contemporary conservatism's attempts to fuse anarchic free-market politics with traditional fixed values. It is the long term decline in public support, which means that there is not a Republican electoral majority.
Andrew Hacker in the New York Review of Books says that:
Since the close of Reconstruction, the GOP has been seen as the party of the top bosses—there’s really no other way to put it. Theirs is a long lineage of the one percent. So its candidates try to amass majorities by diversions ranging from race and firearms, to abortion and immigration. The party also makes a place for persons below the median in income who seek to enhance their status by allying with the well-to-do.
The GOP will need a surge of outside recruits if it hopes to win this year. Romney’s campaign has chosen to make the economy his principal plank, claiming that he brings talents for creating jobs.
Another strategy is Republicans realize that their best prospect for winning is to downsize the electorate, particularly people who have low incomes and are not white. Downsize here means to chop whole segments of the citizenry from the electoral rolls. They also have a financial edge and a majority on the Supreme Court.
Will that help to make up the GOP's decline in public support in a nation state where that all things bright and beautiful are associated with the word private whilst terminal squalor and toxic waste is associated with the word public? Money rules in the US and it lets fall into disrepair nearly all of the infrastructure—roads, water systems, schools, power plants, bridges, hospitals—that provides the country with the foundation of its common enterprise.