They Only Look Dead

Former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld

Former Massachusetts William Weld, avatar of  New Generation Left?

A host of political pundits contend that the demographic changes unfolding in this country don’t bold well for the GOP.

Speaking as someone brought up in the GOP tradition and old enough to have witnessed many of the party’s travails within the last 40-plus years, I’m not ready to count it out. I’ll even invoke E.J. Dionne’s title for the book he wrote in the 1990’s demonstrating that the Democratic party’s flagging fortunes were only short-lived: “They Only Look Dead.”

I draw a measure of inspiration from “The Coming Democratic Schism,” wherein The New York Times’ Thomas B. Edsall discusses the comparatively strong free-market, libertarian proclivities of the Next Generation Left, the term commonly ascribed to the majority of Millennials. Reading this, I couldn’t help but reflect on how their views parallel those of former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld, touted in the 1990s by the then-nascent libertarian wing of the Republican party as the avatar of a new Republicanism.

The business of the GOP, despite the party’s flirtation with Christianist segments of the electorate within the last few decades, is about unfettered markets and individualism.  In the end, the brighter lights within the GOP, faced with these demographic shifts, will abandon the party’s long-term cultural warfare strategy and identify ways to connect with this rising and critical segment of the U.S. electorate.  If they don’t, the party deserves the fate that some pundits predict for it.


About Jim Langcuster

A Southern late-Baby Boomer whose post-retirement focus is on building a post-racial, post-Confederate Southern regional identity. If the election of 2016 underscored one thing, it is that this country is intractably divided and that radical devolution of power to localities and states is the only way to save the American Union.
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