Last week I received an email blast from the Chairman of the Republican National Committee, Reince Priebus, and it began:
I need your opinion: who would you like to see as the Republican presidential nominee in 2016?
Curious, I clicked the link and glanced at the names of 32 potential candidates from which I was asked to choose three. Then, feeling disheartened, I remembered a piece I wrote back in May of 2012 for PJ Media, a conservative leaning web site asking the provocative title question:
“Could George W. Bush Be the Last Republican President?”
Unfortunately, not one name on that list of GOP leaders dissuaded me from answering, “Yes.”
When I first posed this question six months before the 2012 presidential election the comments were generally harsh and the prevailing opinion among my largely Republican readers was that ANYONE including a “ham sandwich” could defeat President Obama in November.
Now in 2014 with non-stop chatter about the 2016 presidential election, I feel compelled to revisit my controversial question of 2012 and the original ten reasons for trouble. In fact, several have worsened and for those reasons a “2014 update” has been added.
1. Rapidly changing demographic trends favor the Democratic Party.
(2014 update: In the 2012 presidential election Obama won 71 percent of Hispanics, 93 percent of African-Americans and 73 percent of Asians. But Obama only won 39 percent of Whites compared to 59 percent for Romney.)
2. An education system controlled by liberals that churns out young liberals.
3. A population with an ever- increasing dependence on government in the form of entitlements and subsidies.
4. A mainstream media that is overwhelmingly comprised of journalists are biased towards Democrats and liberal causes.
5. The influence of Hollywood, which makes it cool to be a liberal Democrat.
6. The growing power concentrated in local, state, and federal government worker unions, whose members actively campaign against Republicans on the taxpayer dime.
7. A culture where non-traditional social and sexual behavior has become mainstream.
8. A hatred for Republicans in general and a tendency to blame the party for “the mess we’ve inherited.”
(2014 update: Obama has played the “blame Bush” and “blame Republicans” card like a champ throughout his presidency. Will Democrats subtly continue using this theme now applied to “class-warfare” economic issues as reasons not to elect a Republican in 2016?)
9. A Republican Party that is growing increasingly white, old, Southern, and male, which alienates majorities of younger voters, Hispanics, African Americans, gays, teachers, young professionals, atheists, unmarried women, and even suburban married women.
(2014 update: Obama won women by 55 percent compared to 44 percent for Romney. In a recent Gallup poll, Republican voter identification was 25 percent; Democrats were at 31 percent and Independents 42 percent.)
10. The Internet and the growing social media phenomenon that strongly tilts in favor of Democrats.
(2014 update: Democrats have mastered the technology of advanced data-gathering and successfully used it to cost-effectively identify voters and motivate them to cast ballots. Just comparing Obama’s 2012 high-tech “Project Narwhal” to Romney’s “Project ORCA” should bring tears to the eyes of any loyal Republican. And at this writing the super PAC, Ready for Hillary, with the help of Obama alumni, is busy building an even more advanced voter-data system.)
Then, after listing the ten reasons in my original piece from May 2012, I launched into a depressing discussion of electoral votes: “Currently with 270 electoral votes needed to win, the states that are either likely or lean Obama total 253, while Romney’s likely or lean states total 170.”
From there I bemoan the nine remaining toss-up states:
“Together these nine states total 115 electoral votes of which Romney must win 100 if he is to reach 270. Consult your nearest statistician for the odds of the happening.”
(Update 2014: Obama’s 2012 Electoral College tally was 332 compared to 206 for Romney. There is a severe Electoral College problem plaguing Republicans going forward, addressed in my Daily Beast piece last year.)
Now even more trouble lies ahead for the Republican Party as Democrats have set their sights on turning Texas and other purple/red states “blue” using aggressive Hispanic voter registration.
Could this be the single greatest threat to the future of the GOP? After all, Hispanics are voting Democrat by wide margins. Thus, Republicans fear losing this important voting block similar to how they lost the African-American vote.
Last week, The Latino Post ran a piece with this headline: The National Council of La Raza, Mi Famila Vota Education Fund launch “Mobilize to Vote 2014.”
"Approximately 8.6 million Latinos in the United States are eligible to vote, but have not yet registered; every month, nearly 64,000 young Latino citizens turn 18 and become newly eligible," the press release says.
The article continues:
It is also in the Southwest where Latino voters could make the biggest impact. Democrats in Texas are anxiously waiting to see if a significant turnout in the Hispanic vote could turn the red tide in the electorally-powerful State of Texas.
For the record, “Texas turning blue” is every Republican’s worst nightmare and last year numerous articles in both the mainstream and conservative media posed this deadly question: Can Hillary Turn Texas Blue?
If that were to happen in 2016 than it is “game over” and the answer to my title question would likely change from “Could George W. Bush be the last Republican president” to a more historical statement: George W. Bush WAS the last Republican president.
But perhaps Obamacare, a stagnant economy, and distrust of Big Government will be the issues that turn the electorate toward the GOP presidential candidate in 2016. At least that is the optimistic thinking among Republican leaders.
In my original piece, I reach the unhappy conclusion that President Millard Fillmore who served from 1850–1853 as the last Whig Party President might some day share a historical footnote with George W. Bush as the last presidents elected from their respective parties. That is, if current trends continue.
Meanwhile, Reince Priebus, bless his heart, had better get to work reversing these trends and dwindle down his list of 32 potential candidates and maybe even add some others, because, for the sake of this nation, the answer to my title question must be a resounding “No.”
Finally, Mr. Chairman, just for fun on my survey I wrote in Donald Trump because he has just as much chance of winning the 2016 nomination as most of the names on your list.