The Shrinking Republican Base
David Frum has an interesting piece up at CNN analyzing the Ornstein and Mann argument that the Republicans are the cause of gridlock. Frum argues that the Republicans are causing gridlock because it is their constituencies that have the most to lose from solutions to the long term deficit problems.
The Republican voting base includes not only the wealthy with the most to fear from tax increases, but also the elderly and the rural, the two constituencies that benefit the most from federal spending and thus have the most to lose from spending cuts.
All those constituencies together fear that almost any conceivable change will be change for the worse from their point of view: higher taxes, less Medicare, or possibly both. Any attempt to do more for other constituencies — the unemployed, the young — represents an extra, urgent threat to them.
Of course, these constituencies are also becoming smaller (Frum doesn’t say it, but these groups are also more likely to be Caucasian), a point that David Brooks notes favors President Obama.
…the Democrats’ demographic advantages are kicking in. The population segments that are solidly Democratic, like single women and the unchurched, are expanding. The segments that are more Republican — two-parent families and observant Catholics — are shrinking.
Brooks also fails to note that Caucasians are shrinking as a part of the electorate. Basically the GOP is fighting against time, can they impose their 19th Century vision of America before the 21st Century demographic trends make them a permanent minority.