Culture Wars/Current Controversies

R.I.P., GOP: Last Hurrah of Nixon’s ‘New Majority’?

By Pat Buchanan

Looking back all the way to America’s Civil War, there have been three  dominant presidential coalitions.

The first was Abraham Lincoln’s. With his war to restore the Union and his  martyrdom, Lincoln inaugurated an era of Republican dominance that lasted more  than seven decades and saw only two Democratic presidents: Grover Cleveland and  Woodrow Wilson.

The second coalition was FDR’s, where he and his vice president Harry Truman  won five consecutive presidential elections. Only Gen. Eisenhower could break  that streak.

The third was Richard Nixon’s New Majority, cobbled together after his narrow  1968 victory, where he annexed the Northern Catholic ethnics and Southern  Christian conservatives of FDR’s coalition to win 49 states in 1972. Ronald  Reagan would follow up with 44- and 49-state landslides and see his vice  president win 40 states in 1988.

That New Majority is now history. In the five elections since 1992,  Republicans have won the popular vote once—in 2004. And while Mitt Romney is  slightly ahead in polls today, reaching 270 electoral votes will be no easy  task. The electoral map is becoming problematic.

But foreign policy “realists,” libertarians and the  anti-interventionist right, all of whom are urging us to stay out of any new  war, seem more in tune with the times—and the country.”

According to GOP Chairman Reince Priebus, the party has a 3-2-1 strategy.  While holding all the states McCain won, the party must first recapture three  red states that Barack Obama carried: Indiana, North Carolina and Virginia.  Next, Romney must carry the two major battleground states that Obama won last  time: Ohio and Florida. Third, add one more state Obama carried in 2008, like  Colorado. Then the GOP is home.

Yet with the exception of Indiana, none of those six states seems close to  secure. And the GOP must win them all. And now Missouri, after Todd Akin’s “legitimate rape” gaffe, has moved from Republican red into the undecided  column.

The good news: With Paul Ryan on the ticket, Wisconsin is in play, and Mitt’s  birth state, Michigan, is getting a second look.

Yet consider the uphill struggle the GOP faces in a year when the election  should be a cakewalk.

Though he has four straight trillion-dollar deficits and 42 months of 8  percent unemployment to his credit, Obama appears to already have four of the  seven mega-states—California, Illinois, Pennsylvania and New York—secure and is  more than competitive in Ohio and Florida.

Looking to the future, what is the Republican strategy ever again to win New  York, Pennsylvania, Illinois or California, other than due to some national  calamity or new depression?

Where the Democratic base seems secure, the GOP base, the South from the  Potomac to the Pedernales, is seeing Democratic encroachments—in Florida,  Virginia and North Carolina.

Moreover, while the Nixon-Reagan coalition was united on the mega-issues of  morality and patriotism, today’s GOP is fragmenting on everything except the  imperative of removing Obama.

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