Over the last few years, Tod Kelly has written several articles, in these very pages, on the death of the Republican Party. Sometimes it has been due to the Tea Party, sometimes due to social conservatives. He has shown us poll data proving that the country isn’t in line with the beliefs of the party; indeed, that the very members of the party are no longer in support. That social conservatism, which has been animating the party according to some, is dead with the very party it is based in.
I find this to be, at its core, a delusion. “Why,” you might ask, “when there is so much data supporting Tod’s point?” Well, because in the end, there is only one data point, one poll that matters. That is the original poll, from the original polling place: the elections of the last few years.
Over the last few years, Republicans have picked up a majority of governorships, a majority of Senate seats and control a majority of state houses. Indeed, the R’s have even taken over such D strongholds as Massachusetts and Maryland. Republican’s also picked the governorship of Illinois, along with holding Wisconsin despite a massive push from the left to oust Governor Walker. At the same time, they did lose Pennsylvania.
In fact, looking back at the data from the last election, it is clear that the Republicans ran the table, picking up 11 state legislatures that were previously held by Democrats. During this same election, on a national level, the Republicans picked up enough Senate seats to control both sides of the legislative branch.
To circle back to the Pew poll, after digging through it, I find distinct measures of how much the right is not happy with the Republican Party, but not why. And at the same time, we have seen in recent years a skewing of polls, both here and abroad, toward the left.
None of this is to either agree or disagree with social conservatives. I generally find them as politically loathsome as I find progressives. In other words, often perfectly nice people, with perfectly idiotic ideas.
But to paraphrase Mark Twain, “Reports of the death of the party are greatly exaggerated.”