False Hopes

Numerous articles have appeared recently celebrating the GOP victory in this month’s elections and predicting future electoral success for Republicans. The reasons offered for the prediction usually run along the following lines:

  • The voters are thoroughly and permanently fed up with the mess that Obama and progressive Democrats have made of the economy, foreign affairs and the federal bureaucracy. The American people are so disillusioned that they intend to entrust the fix of the mess to the Republicans for an extended period.
  • Save Obama, the leaders of the Democrat Parity are old, tired, dispirited and out of ideas. At the same time the GOP has a surfeit of young, energetic and passionate candidates who are brimming with attractive ideas.
  • Contrary to intuition, it’s the demographics. While the Democrats have a lock on the minority, female and youth votes, the Republicans are laying claim to the loyalty of white, male and senior voters. Moreover, the former are concentrated in major urban areas in a few states. Those states (California, New York, Illinois…) are large with a significant tally of electoral votes, and so provide a huge advantage in presidential elections. But the GOP core voters are spread throughout the nation and provide an equally compelling (if not greater) lock on county and state elections, as well as for the House of Representatives and even the Senate. And though the minority vote is growing, it is offset by the also enpanding senior community.

There is a lot of truth to this analysis. But there are also some strong caveats. For example, there is no question that a great many Americans have had enough of the malfeasance, incompetence and dissembling of the Obama administration. But it was not so long ago that the public was equally fed up with a Bush administration that had the country mired in two bloody and seemingly endless wars in the Middle East. The bloom wears off every administration, and memories can be short.

Regarding the second point, yes, Hillary is a frumpy old hag, Elizabeth Warren is only two years younger, and Joe Biden is a doddering old fool. Moreover, the last few elections have catapulted to prominence quite a few young and impressive Republican Governors and Senators. But that sort of age discrepancy can change in as little as half a decade.

Finally, the demographic argument is more difficult to assess. Is the minority population growing faster than the country is aging? The GOP had some success peeling off the Asian vote from the Democrat ranks in the last election. Can that continue? Could it be expanded to the Hispanic community (as many in the GOP believe)? What about the black community? And are seniors really in the bank for the GOP?

These are legitimate questions and the uncertainty of the answers definitely should give pause to anyone arguing for a solid GOP majority. There is an even more compelling reason for those predicting a GOP majority to step back. It is the following.

The election and re-election of Barack Obama as President of the United States is proof positive that Obama’s primary goal – the fundamental transformation of the US – had indeed already occurred before he took the oath of office. To wit:

  1. Obama was the least qualified person ever to be elected president.
  2. Obama’s mentors and life guides were all radical leftists; moreover, this was known to the electorate.
  3. Obama made no secret of his contempt for American history, traditions and ideals. He was a “constitutional scholar” who viewed that sacred document as fundamentally flawed.
  4. During his first term, he: added 60% to the already bloated federal debt; crippled American business via Dodd-Frank and extraordinarily stringent regulatory rules; essentially nationalized the healthcare industry (more accurately, he converted it into a public utility); betrayed US allies and coddled America’s sworn enemies; and repeatedly lied to and deceived the American people (Obamacare, Fast & Furious, Benghazi, IRS, etc.). And yet, the American people re-elected him.

Here was/is a man who denigrates the founding ethos of our nation: limited government, separation of powers, free market capitalism, American Exceptionalism, strong morals grounded in religious faith. Nevertheless, the American people freely and willfully elevated him to the presidency; and then compounded the crime by reaffirming that choice in 2012. Given that, how realistic is it to expect that there is an emerging GOP or conservative majority arising among the same people?

The Progressives began their long march through the US culture, economy, education and politics a century ago. They scorched the landscape and the result is that over the last two generations, they have taken control of all the opinion-molding organs of American society: the media, public education, foundations, seminaries, higher education, libraries, museums, federal bureaucracy, etc. Miraculously, many have resisted the leftist indoctrination and brainwashing – as the results of the just concluded elections reveal. But the left’s chokehold on the nation’s cultural institutions has not been broken. Until it is – if it ever is – talk of an emerging majority that adheres to the classic American ethos, which has been under a withering progressive assault for generations, is rather unrealistic. It may take another hundred years to restore the United States to its founding deals. Foolish talk of a nascent conservative electoral domination only obscures the understanding of the long, arduous and critical task that lies ahead for what is left of conservative America.

This essay also appeared in The Intellectual Conservative