let's face it, the highly religious, the ones we here have the biggest problem with, is the base of the Republican Party. given this, news of its imminent demise should thrill most Atheists. and make no mistake, barring a gargantuan shift in policies and rhetoric, they are absolutely on the path towards extinction.
it's common knowledge that the GOP is an old, white party. while not an absolute, that is an accurate enough description of the Republican Party today. two trends to keep in mind here. one, old people tend to die at a faster rate than young people. two, white people are shrinking as a percentage of the electorate. they are running out of supporters, and it's happening quicker than many thought.
take yesterday's election. President Obama won over 90% of the black vote and 70% of the latino and asian vote. Romney did well with seniors and whites overall. meanwhile, the country is getting browner. the GOP may end up becoming a whites only club, a nativist and pale collection of isolationists who choose to ignore the changing demographics of the country. worse, they may choose to keep it this way. if they choose this path, their extinction is all but guaranteed. their option would be to abandon their social issues, immigration policies, and economic austery programs and to open up their tent through real policy change.
anyone wanna bet which way they go?
for Atheists, either way is a win. if the GOP becomes irrelevant then the power of the religious right goes with it. if they truly make changes to make more people inclusive and begin to part with their religious base Atheists will celebrate. yesterday's election is better for Atheists than most people would think.
"He could - if he gets his way - run up government levels and the deficit so high that it will transform the country down the road."
Jim, you weren't paying attention during the mid-1980s. The Repubs, knowing they had too few votes in Congress to cut the social programs, started borrowing--intending to bankrupt the government and thus cut the social spending.
Evidence? The record borrowing by Reagan, Bush 41, Bush 43. Add Bush 43's wiping out Clinton's surplus.
The Dems? The Repub attack machine's "tax and spend" charges terrified them into silence.
Finally, aided by Repub excesses, they regrew a backbone. Obama was slow to grow his.
Tom - You have stumbled on to the true problem here - politicians from either party do not like to say no to spending, that is where they get their power from - giving things to people.
That is why the only way they can agree to reduce the increase in spending is through things like the military base commission (a 3rd party commission decides which military bases to close) and mechanisms like the sequester, where they don't have to actually vote on specific spending reductions.
If I were the Repubs - I would give Obama what he has demanded - a tax rate increase on the 2% and nothing else, by passing a bill to extend the Bush era tax cuts for the 98%. The president already said he would sign it. Let the sequestration cuts go into effect, no additional "stimulus" spending, etc. If the economy tanks, it will be harder for Obama to blame the Repubs (of course he still will) as he has made his whole public case based on fixing the deficit by "taxing the rich folks a little bit more". When the cuts start to bite programs the Dems like they will be forced to actually negotiate. I don't know if the Repubs will go for that, I am just saying that is what I would do.
It is actually funny that for the past 10 years the Dems have always said "the Bush tax cuts only favored the rich". So then why not let them all expire ? Suddenly it appears that everyone was given a tax cut ?
Note the "Clinton surplus" was created by 1) strong economic growth due to innovation like the internet, high tech stuff and 2) the cold war peace dividend (decreased military spending).
Obama wants to take us back to the Clinton era by returning tax rates to what they were, as if higher taxes is what created the strong economy. Clinton was a centrist and picked a good time to be president. The country and the world has changed - demographic changes in USA (growing % of retired people), and growing economic powers like India, China, Brazil, SE Asia. We are in for some rough sledding in this country, no matter who is in charge.
I would also note that moderate and liberal Republicans have abandoned the GOP, primarily for the Libertarian Party (the real libertarians). The Libertarian Party is now considered a major party, as it qualifies on all fifty states' ballots.
The Modern Whigs are also waiting in the wings (founded by active duty and veterans during the Iraq War over both major parties co-opting the war to score points).
Parties have collapsed before (notably the Whigs, after the liberals abandoned it for the then-new Republican Party). That liberal Abraham Lincoln was a Republican president, but a Whig Senator from Illinois before that.
If the GOP refuses to accommodate the people of the country, it will become irrelevant as its more forthright members abandon ship.
I registered Libertarian about thirty years ago to help put the party on the California ballot, but I had no illusions that the party would become a major party.
How many candidates does a party have to run/elect before it qualifies as a major party?
Surely more than Ron and Rand Paul.
I understand that before the Civil War, three anti-slavery parties united to form the Republican Party, with Lincoln heading it.
One history of the party says its formation from several not-very-compatible parties explains why, around 1960, the far right started expelling moderates. That began the decline to the mess the Party has become.
Does anyone have another explanation?
The late 1960s Repubs screwed up when they took in the racist southern Dems, who opposed the Civil Rights laws.
Or did the Dems brilliantly dump their southern racist members on the Repub Party?
The Republican Party is an odd collection of social conservatives and fiscal conservatives and small businesses. The Democrat Party is also a strange collection of groups. Minorities, fearful of the "rich and powerful", women fearful of losing abortion rights, environmentalists fearful of the sky falling, and public unions (government workers/teachers) fearful of losing their benies, and then the youth vote which has become somewhat more skeptical of hope and change, as they are not finding jobs.
Big business supports both parties, while Hollywood generally supports Democrats. It seems that non public unions are declining in numbers and are moving somewhat toward the Republicans because they are realizing that unions are not too useful when the economy is flat or declining. As to the southern, racist members being brilliantly dumped ?? I doubt the Dems of the time were that far sighted.
The country continues to realign itself and as one party gets too powerful, the pendulum swings the other direction.
I did not say it was impossible the GOP could go extinct, just that I've heard it before and it was proved untrue then. After 2008 it was said and in 2010 Republicans picked up 63 seats in the House, 6 Senate seats and the majority of state legislatures and governorships.
And Republicans have their problems, public opinion is changing on same-sex marriage (A good thing from my perspective) and social cons will be slow if not impossible to change with that opinion. And they have nominated crazies that killed sure bets, like in Missouri and Indiana.
But Dems are just as crazy on economic issues, they want to regulate the economy to the point of choking it, they demand higher taxes but won't budge on spending, and spending is the problem. Letting the Bush tax cuts expire won't come close to significantly cutting the deficit. Entitlements are out of control and Democrats won't cut them. They want another stimulus that would eat up two years worth of the Bush tax cut expiration.
But Democrats are far better at spinning, I've seen Dem congressmen come out and pine about how much they are willing to compromise, even going beyond 50/50 on their part, even though they are unwilling to budge in the slightest. Republicans don't have a clue how to tell their side in a way that connects with the voters.
But if we continue down this path we will become Greece, not in the next four years, or the four years after that, but it will happen. Watch for another downgrade in the next four years if spending is not addressed.
You nailed it. Obama wants to continue to increase Federal spending without regard to the economy or the deficit (lip service only). The Republicans do not do a good job of telling the story, at least at the Federal level. They do a much better job at the state level. Maybe that is because the problem is more transparent and easier to grasp at the state level where they have to balance their budget. At the federal level the enormous problem is hidden by the ability to borrow without any restrain (at least that is what Obama wants - that the debt ceiling can not be questioned or restrained by the Congress).
I agree, we are headed in the direction of Greece long term - the huge difference is, there will be no one to bail us out. It will be a train wreck and everyone will be hurt. Anarchy is not too strong a word for a predicted outcome.
Jim, you, like many republicans these days, seem to not understand much of what you write about. the debt ceiling, for example, does not allow for increased spending - it only allows us to pay for what we've already spent. it is not a tool for negotiation. the GOP wants to use the threat of default, thus diminishing the full faith and credit of the US, as a way to get what they want. this is not something to play with.
the Greece comparison is idiotic beyond belief. i almost feel stupid for even discussing it, but i guess i must. their total economy is $300B. ours is $16T. we have the ability to print our own currency. they do not. we collect trillions in taxes, have robust industry, and an economic engine beyond compare. they are a tiny country with a tourism industry. they are reliant on other nations to conduct monetary policy. we are independent.
we aren't going the way of Greece. it's a conservative talking point, devoid of reason. like the talking point about us not having a revenue problem, and even if we did, raising taxes only pays for about 8 days of government. well then, if it's so meager why put up such a fight? the fact is we bring in 16% of revenue and spend 24%. both sides need to be brought toward 20%. it's obvious. now here's where republicans get crazy. they believe, down to their bones, that lowering tax rates will help us get to 20% through magical growth that will come from lowering taxes. no serious economist believes this. there are some, but not many. it's similar to how they can find a scientist or two that believes global warming is a myth or that the age of the earth is 6000 years old.
the GOP is out of good ideas. at best they are currently an opposition party who can do some good by keeping the Democrats in check. at worst they will adhere to ideological purity and do their best to wreck our country. i'm betting that America is too smart to let them.
Whether we have a spending problem or a revenue problem is purely a matter of ideology - liberals say we have a revenue problem, conservatives say we have a spending problem.
What most people would agree we have is a deficit problem. If we are going to increase tax revenue, I would prefer to see it go to deficit reduction. That would require putting a lid on spending growth or decreasing spending at the same time we are increasing revenue.
Republicans have put on the table a big compromise - limiting tax deductions. That would increase revenue without increasing the tax burden on small businesses. Obama has rejected this without offering anything. The issue of tax RATES is different than tax revenue. England raised tax rates on millionaires recently and the revenue actually dropped. Rich individuals change behavior when the rates go up, it is harder for small business to do the same. Note - no Republican is suggesting new tax cuts, just leaving the current rates in place.
I agree that the Greece analogy is not a strong one - EXCEPT for the fact that they promised more in entitlements than they could deliver (early retirements at full benefits, etc.) In that regard we are heading down the same path. Social Security can be fixed, but Medicare, Obamacare, and the new Medicaid increases can not be afforded UNLESS we get robust economic growth, 2% does not get it done. Increasing tax rates will not boost the economy. Even Obama said this two years ago. The difference now than in the past is the demographic bubble - fewer workers to support increasing percent of seniors.
I repeat - I believe Obama does not care about the deficit or whether we have strong economic growth. He just wants to win a political point. As you say - if raising tax rates on the wealthy doesn't raise much revenue, WHY would he insist on it. Why - to toss a bone to the base and to divide Republicans. If I were him, I would take the tax revenues the Repubs have offered and offer something in return - some spending cuts that will never happen. But I care about the economy. He could come out as the hero. But instead - he will overplay his hand. What does HE have to lose really ? He already won re-election, and is in the process of purchasing his post president residence far away in Hawaii.
i'll try to respond in full to this tomorrow. but let me say that that was a lucid and rational argument, much of which i agree with. consider me surprised, based on your previous comments. i disagree about Obama's desires as depicted in your last paragraph, but i have few issues with the rest of your response.
Matthew - I look forward to your reply. You also said previously "the debt ceiling, for example, does not allow for increased spending - it only allows us to pay for what we've already spent. it is not a tool for negotiation. the GOP wants to use the threat of default, thus diminishing the full faith and credit of the US, as a way to get what they want."
I do agree with you here as well. However when the Democrat led Senate does not even try to pass a budget, it leaves the Republicans few options to try to rein in spending. Actually neither party truly cuts spending, A "cut" is usually just a lower rate of growth in spending, but I am sure you know that :)