by Robert B. Reich
It's as if they didn't learn a thing from the 2012 elections. Republicans are on the same suicide mission as before -- trying to block immigration reform (if they can't scuttle it in the
As almost everyone knows by now, this puts them on the wrong side of history. America is becoming more ethnically diverse, women are gaining economic and political power, and young people are more socially libertarian than ever before.
Why can't Republicans learn?
It's no answer to say their "base" -- ever older, whiter, more rural and male -- won't budge.
I wasn't particularly happy about all these moves, to tell you the truth. But they did at least give the
You won't hear about "New Republicans" taking over the
And its power is concentrated in mostly rural states -- including most of the old Confederacy, the mountain states and Indiana -- which together exert more of a chokehold on the Republican national party machinery than the old Democrats, spread widely but thinly over many states, exerted on the
These Republican states are more homogenous and conspicuously less like the rest of America than the urbanized regions of the country that are growing more rapidly. Senators and representatives from these states naturally reflect the dominant views of their constituents -- on immigration, abortion and gay marriage, as well as guns, marijuana, race and dozens of other salient issues. But these views are increasingly out of step with where most of the nation is heading.
This state-centered, relatively homogenous
Despite all the post-election rhetoric about the necessity for change emanating from
This structure also blocks any would-be "New Republicans" such as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie from gaining the kind of power inside the party that a New Democrat like Bill Clinton received in 1992. The only way they'd be able to attract a following inside the party would be to commit themselves to policies they'd have to abandon immediately upon getting nominated, as Mitt Romney did with disastrous results.
It's true that by 1992 Democrats were far more desperate to win the presidency -- having been in the wilderness for 12 years -- than today's
The greater likelihood is a steady eclipse of the
In other words, more of the same.
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Why the GOP Can't Learn