For a liberal woman of color like myself, last Tuesday Nov. 6 was an amazing night for me. Not only was President Obama reelected but also ballot initiatives such as the legalization of marijuana passed in two states, and marriage equality and medical marijuana passed.
Additionally, 19 female senators were elected and one of them is openly gay (Tammy Baldwin from Wisconsin). In Arizona the first openly bisexual House member was elected.
Tuesday night was indeed a good night for liberals like me. It was a horrendous night for conservatives though. In the words of Rachel Maddow, “the Republicans got shellacked on Tuesday.”
This was by no means the close election that many in the media said it was going to be. President Obama won 332 electoral college votes and won the popular vote by 50.6 percent.
Three demographics are working against the Republican Party—single women, younger voters and people of color. In the electorate, older white people have shrunk while people of color have grown.
Welcome to the new United States of America.
It’s not as though conservatives do not realize this. On Tuesday, Bill O’Reilly lamented “traditional America,” claiming that this new America is for people who want things from the government.
But that is their first mistake. You cannot court a new aspect of a base if you still believe that people of color and single women are looking for things from the government. When you dig deeper in the “just looking for things from the government” argument, you find that there are two stereotypes many people in both parties believe: that people of color are securing their welfare and that single women are harlots because they just want abortion and birth control in order to sleep around.
You cannot build a new coalition with these two racist and sexist arguments. Conservatives and Republicans need to understand that people of color and single women are looking for help from the government like freedom, the right to housing, good jobs, job security and safety, and the right to have control of their own bodies without a whole bunch of men telling them what they can or cannot do.
Younger voters want politicians who understand that climate change is not a hoax or a joke and they want people who are actually going to do something about it. They want politicians who see their gay friends first as human beings who have the right to love whoever they want to love. They also want to make sure that they are going to be able to afford to pay for that all-too important college degree without drowning in debt or asking their parents to pay for their tuition or for their future business endeavors.
The GOP needs to understand that these are not attacks on success or on individualism. In country as hyper-individualistic as we are, no one ever feels good being put in a position where they have to admit that they cannot support themselves or their families on their own. The government should be there to help people pull themselves up by their bootstraps, especially when they never had access to those bootstraps to begin with because of the role that government has played to deny them to some people.
Realistically, this is not an argument that many in the GOP can wrap their heads around because they have believed their own propaganda. The same party that was home to the sixteenth president, who attempted to keep the Union together and free human beings who were owned by other human beings because of the color of their skin, has turned their backs on these people. Bit by bit they began to adopt the attitudes of Dixiecrats whether it was by design or as a result of that design. Can the party of Lincoln, which at one point had a large African-American base, redeem itself?
No, it cannot.
I seriously doubt that the GOP is going to be able to realign themselves by 2016 because their realignment rests heavily on their base. After four years of moving further and further to the right, the Republicans are going to have a difficult time returning to center right.
Therefore, my prediction for the GOP in 2016 is bleak, but the future of another ideological faction within the Republican Party seems bright: libertarianism. If they organize well enough and are properly funded, libertarians have a chance at becoming an alternative party for many disgruntled Republicans who want to go back to the roots of Republicanism.