On January 1, 2013 one third of Republican congressmen, following their leaders, joined with nearly all Democrats to legislate higher taxes and more subsidies for Democratic constituencies. Two thirds voted no, following the people who had elected them. For generations, the Republican Party had presented itself as the political vehicle for Americans whose opposition to ever-bigger government financed by ever-higher taxes makes them a “country class.” Yet modern Republican leaders, with the exception of the Reagan Administration, have been partners in the expansion of government, indeed in the growth of a government-based “ruling class.” They have relished that role despite their voters. Thus these leaders gradually solidified their choice to no longer represent what had been their constituency, but to openly adopt the identity of junior partners in that ruling class. By repeatedly passing bills that contradict the identity of Republican voters and of the majority of Republican elected representatives, the Republican leadership has made political orphans of millions of Americans. In short, at the outset of 2013 a substantial portion of America finds itself un-represented, while Republican leaders increasingly represent only themselves.
So begins an important new essay by Angelo Codevilla in Forbes:
The idea that the Republican party may be courting the fate of the Whigs is being talked about in a few places. This piece adds to that discussion, with Codevilla’s usual profundity and insight. It’s not a third party movement that is being foreshadowed by the selling out of their base voters by the Republican establishment. It is the real possibility that the Rockefeller branch of the Republicans have so alienated so many of their voters that the party itself has suffered an irretrievable breakdown and will soon succumb to a poltitical death, as did the Whigs in 1845. The death of the Whigs gave birth to the Republicans. The death of the Republicans can give birth to a new party as well, consisting of about 2/3 of present Republican voters, possibly 1/5 of Democrat voters who still lean conservative, libertarians and about half of all independents. These are the “orphaned voters” Codevilla is talking about in his essay. They are currently unrepresented by either of the two political parties.
If Codevilla is on to something, the orphaned voters could constitute a majority voting block. The trick will be to get myriad different groups to bind together because they realize that while they might have different pet causes they can only get what they want by sticking together. This has been the genius of the Tea Party movement. The Tea Party movement has formed around the issue of low taxes and limited government while eschewing social issues. This was done with the understanding that getting involved in social issues would be divisive and weaken the cause of low taxes and limited government, the issues upon which they all agree.
A coalition of disparate groups around a few central issues they agree on will not assure that each one gets everything they want, but all would get perhaps the most important thing they care about, which is individual liberty, autonomy and the ability to live day to day without the government interfering with so much of their lives.