Republican Failure

One thing I’ve never understood about the Republican strategy is how limited the analysis of their situation is. In 93 they were riding a shift in voting habits in the south and west. Pure rejection could work because they were up against a president whose popularity was in the toilet in the area that they needed to pick up. Now, not so much.

It is generally better, in my mind, to think of American politics as pre-election coalition building. Where in other countries the coalition will be made at the top after the election when the various parties come together in order to form a government. In the US though each party has a pretty well set base of members. Its only when certain events come about that the coalitions will shift. The Civil Rights movement and Roe V Wade are two of them that helped the republicans. Not because there was a majority pushback on those policies but because if you can keep a certain part of the your coalition and add others then your going to build a larger party. The Civil Rights movement pushed the south into the republican column because of the history of race based voting in the south. The reaction to Roe V Wade, I believe, was an attempt to peel off disaffected evangelicals and Catholics by the republicans and an attempt to solidify Democrats amongst women.

That taking of the south is problematic historically for any party. The democrats were unable to produce consistent vote majorities for a number of years because the political culture in the south is so different from much of the other country. Only with the advent of the great depression which allowed for much of the differences between the south and the north to disappear under the rug for a while allowed the democrats to create consistently large voting blocks.

Unless the republicans can figure out a way to appeal to groups outside of the south without giving a chance for the democrats to be competitive they are in for a long minority.

One thing to think about, the republicans have never been able to take the south to the extent that the democrats did for so many years. Does that make it actually harder for Republicans to create broader coalitions outside of the south? If your party is made up of hard core revanchists in the south without a total lock on their votes can you move away without alienating them?