As the Republican Party gears up for the Primary Elections, the party will need serious help or else it could be facing a possible extinction. The Republicans have for many years claimed successes based on its platform’s adherence to traditional, conservative moral values. While in the past the party’s public association with old, Caucasian, rich businessmen has helped them dominate in the political arena, as more Americans embrace progressive ideals, this same connection has become a stigma that could lead to their undoing.
A recent Gallup poll shows a record number of independent voters this year. The number has increased significantly over the last three years and now sits at a whopping 42 percent. The study also found that the increase in independent voters is mostly from former Republicans.
More than any other group, voters without specific religious ideology are quickly turning from what has long been considered a predominantly Christian party. Prior to 1990, Republicans had still managed to garner up to 43 percent of the non-religious votes. However, since 2008, Republicans have been losing them in a two to one margin. David Campbell and Robert Putnam, sociologists and authors of American Grace, have attributed this shift to, “the Republican Party’s tightening alignment with Christian conservatives.” With non-religious voters now consisting of 12 percent of the electorate, it’s a huge loss to the conservatives today.
The youth of the nation is another area of serious concern to Republican Party candidates. An extensive study from the College Republican National Committee found many unaffiliated young voters associated the Republicans with ideas such as, “closed-minded, racist, rigid [and] old-fashioned.” Even young members of the Republican Party itself admitted that they are losing ground on major issues such as gay marriage, and that as long as their party persists in clinging to old ideology they will be continually fighting an uphill battle.
Without flexibility and change, extinction is a very real possibility the Republicans could be facing. Unfortunately for Republicans, in spite of being the party responsible for freeing the slaves and consistently cutting taxes, the Democrats continue to be considered the champion of minorities and the poor; a large portion of the voting electorate. Extremely wealthy Republican hopefuls such as Bruce Rauner has done little to erase the notion that the party is anything but a breeding ground for ambitious fat-cats.
The only major issue Republicans seemed to have in their pocket was healthcare. The abundant dissatisfaction with the new healthcare system had many believing that the 2016 elections would see Republicans winning by a landslide. However, an NBC News poll last October found that the government shutdown that spurned many Americans was blamed on the Republicans more than the Democrats. The Republican Party was even considered more responsible for the shutdown than the President by a 22 percent margin. This is due primarily to their stubborn resistance against Democrats to the new law. Because of this turn of events, even Boehner has stated that repealing Obamacare is no longer a direction the party should be heading.
Growing discontent among previously loyal voters and repulsion among new voters has Republicans scrambling to find new ways to win over supporters. Without a complete overhaul of the Republican’s platform, the mass exodus from the party is not likely to change tides. As the primaries draw near, it will take a candidate of strong character and much charisma to rally the disenchanted voters of America. Otherwise, the grim prospect of the Republican party is that the Grand Old Party may become the Grand Old Extinct Party.
By: Katie DeMet