I think it’s a serious question, and one that needs an answer. Is the GOP rapidly descending into irrelevancy, or is this just the normal rise and fall of the political tide? After all, both liberals and conservatives have thought that the other side was done before. In fact, doom for either the Republican Party or the Democratic Party has been predicted numerous times for each.
But is something different this time? After all, people from my generation — those that just voted (or could have voted) in their first election, and those for whom 2016 will be the first — don’t exactly rush to register as Republicans. Although a large number of people my age seem to be stupidly apathetic, those that are not take a dim view of Republican mandates on your personal life, like the person you can marry or women’s health.
I don’t think that the Republican Party will survive another decade if it doesn’t change to suit the times. Sure, it’ll still be around, and it will be very powerful. However, depending on how the next four years go, I think the demographic shifts in the United States will ensure that something libertarian rises up — aside from certain niche groups, people are tiring of the morality debates. Over the last ten years, support for equality and other typically progressive causes such as marijuana legalization has risen dramatically. Republicans claim that they lost the election by not talking enough about the economy, and that’s precisely it.
The central demographic for the Republican Party doesn’t have a real opinion on the economy, because they don’t know anything other than what Fox tells them about Obama’s spending. They’re just parrots. What they really like about the Republican Party is the divisiveness. Republicans use fear and emotion to recruit votes, and if you’re looking to run a campaign based on the economy, it can be harder to use fear to do it successfully (although they are really trying hard to find a way).
People are tired of Republican hate.
In ten years, I think we will see the Libertarian Party rise up to compete with the Democratic Party, or perhaps the Republican Party will become even more libertarian than certain parts of it already are. If so, at least the left will win the battles surrounding equal rights for everyone.
Another interesting possibility is that the Libertarian Party will gain power as Republicans lose, creating, for a period of time, a three-party system where the Democratic Party retains the most power, with the other two vying for position in second and third.