Tonight there will be a Republican presidential debate, reminding us that next year’s election is not far off. The many failures of Obama’s policies and his increasingly unattractive persona and behaviors give Republicans reason to be optimistic, but I fear that the headwinds facing further conservative resurgence are strong, stronger than many think.
Many conservatives take comfort in some polls that show more voters self-identify as conservative than liberal, but it’s hard to know what such results really mean, given my skepticism about polls in general because of the degree to which results can be manipulated by design features such as the phrasing and ordering of questions and the sampling methodology. The economy is sinking, foreign policy is a mess, and our liberties are threatened by the Obama administration (the individual mandate in Obamacare comes first to mind), yet last month in a Republican congressional district in western New York state voters in a special election elected a Democrat to replace a Republican. Yes, the Democrat ran on a scary smear of the effects on Medicare of the Ryan budget plan that the Republican House overwhelmingly endorsed, but, but, but, given the Obama record this vote shouldn’t have been close. Republicans are kidding themselves if they think that the electorate is sizably politically conservative.
Examine the realities. Almost half of federal income tax filers pay no tax, and some of those actually get refunds via the de facto welfare provisions in the tax code; another 10 percent or so pay a tax rate of only a percentage or two. More and more Americans are receiving government aid of one sort or another. And look at the escalating thuggery of government employee unions all across the country when faced with any attempt to rein in their excessive and unsustainable compensation and benefits.
Add up the growing number of voters who work for government, the growing number who live off government, and the growing number who pay no taxes to support it, and that could be a majority of voters in states with a majority of electoral votes. That’s the Democrat business model, enhanced by a systematic plan of vote fraud through encouraging and facilitating ineligible voters (e.g., Acorn; anti-voter ID) and cheating in the gathering and counting of ballots (e.g., Florida, Washington state, Minnesota). That’s some headwind. The Republican message is really aimed at adults who do not live off government but yet pay for it, an unfortunately shrinking base -- a development for which Democrats have well planned.
John M Greco