When I was browing real clear politics a minute ago, a headline jumped out at me. "The GOP is Leaving Black Voters Behind." My immediate reaction was that this headline was backwards... black voters have left the GOP behind, probably more or less permanently.
This actually meshed pretty strongly with something I've been thinking about lately. Currently, former Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee seems to be on TV a lot arguing against gay marriage. You have a few rare republicans who are okay with gay marriage, like David Brooks, and a lot who keep silent, but the most vocal opponents seem to be from the religious right. The democrats aren't really for it either, at least not those seeking national elective office, but they aren't really going out of their way to say it's a threat to society the way the Republicans seem to be. The overall message from republicans is: If you are gay, we don't want your vote.
You can shrug this off, I guess. Homosexuals are a relatively small segment of the population. Losing their votes is no big deal.
The same is true of atheists. Libby Dole was able to run her "Godless" ad because the political cost no doubt seemed small. There aren't that many atheists in North Carolina as a percentage of the population. Who cares if they don't vote for you?
Also, the right has spent a lot of the recent years in a froth about illegal immigrants. Fairly or unfairly, this translates into an anti-hispanic vibe. Who cares? Illegal aliens can't vote, and just how many hispanics are there as a percentage of the population? You can certainly run the country without their support.
Then there are blacks. One could argue that republicans have a very high-minded view of race. It doesn't matter what group you belong to or the color of your skin; there doesn't need to be any special treatment for minorities because all individuals have the same rights, and the GOP is the party that values individuals over the collective. And, hey, the GOP has appointed blacks to cabinet positions and the supreme court; they aren't racist. And, bluntly, I don't believe they are; still, as a group, they seem to have decided that black people aren't worth targeting as voters. And, so what? They aren't the majority population. You can certainly win without them.
I actually could have been a Republican at one point. Republicans in 1994 went into office promising fiscal responsibility and reform, things I embrace. Yet, even then, the Republicans were deeply tied to people on the religious right who were publicly making the argument that true Americans were Christian; atheists need not apply. So, I remained in the libertarian ranks, and watched with grim satisfaction as the republicans self-destructed.
The GOP seems only to want the votes of the white protestant majority, plus maybe a few Catholics. The rest of the population is just to weird and different to deal with. And any given subgroup is too small to worry about when you write them off.
Except, if you write off enough of these small groups--atheists, gays, blacks, hispanics, muslims, liberals, and NPR listeners... pretty soon you've got a majority of people opposed to you.
What is the GOP's plan? Whose vote, outside of protestant whites, do they still want?