Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Historic Opportunities – some waste them others embrace them


Yes, political parties are in the business of winning elections. But parties that can’t think two elections ahead are not likely to remain viable for too long. For decades now, it’s been established that the Republican Party has a major problem appealing to minorities and women. The rise of Donald Trump now gives the GOP the historic opportunity of reversing that trend, by repudiating rather than endorsing Mr. Trump, even at the cost of forfeiting the coming elections.

Indeed, during their upcoming convention, GOP leaders could still decide to denounce Trump and choose a different candidate for President. That will require changing the rules, but so what? Changing some rules and rejecting Trump on account of his xenophobia, racism and misogyny could mark an important first step towards addressing the trust gap separating GOP from minority and women voters. Risking losing the coming elections in order to make this gesture of goodwill might just be worth it. After all, the Republican core principles emphasizing small government, states’ rights, fiscal conservatism, individual responsibility and the need for strong national defense are ideas that have long had appeal in minority and women circuits as well, and were not the things that undercut the party’s appeal among them. White male privilege was the problem, and now the GOP leadership has a historic chance to rectify it.

As things stand at this stage, however, they seem bent on wasting it. By refusing to see beyond the current elections and its challenges, GOP leaders seem unable to see the forest for the trees. For what what’s a point of winning an election but losing the party? That is, if Trump can even deliver the victory. 

The most likely outcome, however, is that the Republicans will end up losing both, even if they all rallied behind Trump. Women and minorities will have their say. Enough of them will be voting for her to tip the scales in her favor. As the Republicans seem bent on wasting their historic opportunity, the Democrats are embracing theirs.