“Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.” — Pete Townsend
The conservative playbook has been revealed. Of course, they have been playing this game for a long time, but they are accelerating their plan in Texas and throughout the country. The plan is simple. They want to suppress the vote any way they can. There are a number of reasons for it and none of them are heartwarming ones.
Locally, the GOP knows they are fighting a two-front war they are destined to lose. First, their policies are becoming less and less popular as time moves on. They have a core demographic that will always buy into the low tax/cultural war combination they have been selling, but public opinion polling data suggests those percentages are literally dying out.
If Fox News ratings are any indication, the demographic data reads like a Luby’s early dinner special. Growing up, I remember the Luby’s in Victoria bragging that the average age of people dining in was over 60. I’m not sure why that was something to brag about. Similarly, the Fox News viewing audience is not only getting smaller, but it is also getting older. That means it’s getting smaller as viewers literally die watching.
Of course, this isn’t to say that the programming is literally killing viewers. It’s simply a fact of history. On a long enough timeline the survival rate drops to zero. If your viewers grow old and you don’t replace them with younger viewers then you have a net result of lost viewers. The same phenomenom is happening in the GOP. Sure, there are young conservatives, but most of the younger crowd doesn’t buy into the culture wars and individual progressive planks have proven to be popular even if the movement as a whole isn’t overwhelmingly popular.
So, factor number one is clearly moving in the wrong direction for the GOP. Their policy positions are increasingly unpopular and it is only a matter of time before progressives lock into a system of messaging that resonates. That by itself is reason enough to embark on a voting suppression.
They are also losing a demographic battle independent of their policies. Texas in particular and the United States in general is becoming increasingly diverse. You should never assume uniformity of opinion in different demographic groups, but people of color and women are increasingly shunning the Republican party. The demographics alone threaten to turn Texas blue. If Texas turns blue then the GOP won’t see the White House again.
As it stands, the GOP has won the popular vote for the presidency only once since 1988. They know they can’t survive nationally as everything currently exists. So, they either have to rehabilitate their image or they keep people from voting. Every time it looks like they are ready to embark on improving their image it seems they move in the opposite direction.
The solution is two-fold. You have to render the filibuster as moot. Either that means eliminating it or it means watering it down. If the Senate is able to pass the House’s bill on voting then it’s game over for the GOP as its currently constituted. They will have to compete in the marketplace of ideas. That means either doing a better job of selling their vision or changing their vision.
I’m the wrong person to tell them what I think they should do. I detest labels, but I’m probably as committed a progressive as one can be. However, I’m sympathetic to the plight. The conservative argument in its purest form makes sense. I don’t agree with it, but it makes sense. They will need to reevaluate whether they want to move forward in the vain of the pre-Reagan Republican tradition or whether they want to dive headlong into the culture wars.