h/t to Georgia10 at Daily Kos.

Fred Barnes, in his post as executive editor of the conservative magazine The Weekly Standard, wrote a piece called “Realignment, Now More Than Ever” on November 22, 2004, arguing that the Republican win that year solidified a shift toward the Republican Party.  Yes — one that would last for decades.

KARL ROVE SAID LAST YEAR that the question of realignment–whether Republicans have at last become the majority party–would be decided by the election of 2004. And it has. […]  Rove says that under Bush a “rolling realignment” favoring Republicans continues, and he’s right. So Republican hegemony in America is now expected to last for years, maybe decades. […]

What hasn’t emerged is the much-touted “emerging Democratic majority.” It remains a theory of liberal analysts John Judis and Ruy Teixeira, based on their take on voting patterns of women, urban professionals, and Hispanics. The theory faltered in 2002 and even more this year. […]

Rove, leery of claiming too much for Republicans, said on Meet the Press on November 7 that “there are no permanent majorities in American politics.” This is true, but some last longer than others. Burnham, however, sees little chance of change for years. For Republicans to slip into minority status again, he says, it would take a monumental party split like that in 1912 or “a colossal increase in the pain level” of Americans as happened with the Great Depression. Neither is likely.

Yet, if 2004 was a realignment with Republicans establishing themselves as the political majority for the country, why has this happened?

2004

2004

2008

2008

Well, let’s start with demographic ignorance.  The GOP does not make any effort to reach out to young voters (other than Meghan McCain’s blog); they lost Millennials, the largest generation in American history, 66 percent to 32 percent.  A sizable chunk of the GOP exhibits strong xenophobia; the Latino vote went against them by another 66 percent to 32 percent margin.  Representatives of the GOP, like this Hillsborough County GOP Chairman in Florida, talk about blacks like they’re criminals; blacks voted for Obama by a 95 percent to 4 percent margin.  With the United States gradually becoming more diverse with these demographics expanding, the GOP base is shrinking.

One striking example is what happened in Pennsylvania with McCain’s campaign.  Obama telegraphed trouble (perhaps luring McCain into PA on purpose), getting Rendell to squawk about the problems Obama might have, leaking a poll that seemed to jibe with Rendell’s concerns, and then letting McCain swamp Pennsylvania with too little time left to do any damage.  Digging deeper, McCain did actually flip some counties in Southwest PA, but the problem was that there just aren’t as many older, white, “working class” voters as their used to be.  While McCain turned three counties in Western PA, Obama strengthened his margins in the eastern half of the state, effectively padding his lead.

So, looking back, the Republicans were punk’d.  Yes, they thought they had a realignment in 2004, but they couldn’t have been more wrong.  They let up, Republicans proved they couldn’t govern, and when it came time to evaluate them in 2006 and 2008, they put their “regional party” credentials on display.  What’s disconcerting (if I was a Republican) is that there seems to be no effort at reflection.  Most establishment Republicans I see are indignantly sticking to their schtick, their obsession with the disappearing old, white voters.  It’s just not gonna work.

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