November 14, 2012
The Future of the Republican Party Is in Federalist LibertarianismBy Robert Eugene Simmons Jr.
On Election Day, the voters delivered a massive rebuke to the Republican Party in the form of simply not going to vote. The numbers reveal that the liberal media meme of a demographic shift is a complete fraud. As the statistics from the election were studied, it turned out that Republican voters simply didn't show up for the election.
The most interesting fact about the election comes from talking to the actual disaffected voters on both sides of the proverbial, and mythical, aisle. Americans, for the most part, cannot be categorized so quickly. Most don't simply follow along like sheep in the Democrat or Republican party; rather, they pick the party that is closest to their personal views. The pundits who say the people are so easily categorized are outright insulting the intelligence of every American citizen. In fact, most Americans detest politicians in general because of their overreach and rampant corruption.
So, then, why do people vote Democrat or Republican? The brutal reality is that most realize that a vote for a third party is simply a vote for the guy in the other party farthest from their views. Although there are certainly some people looking for "Santa Claus" voting Democrat, not all people on government assistance wish to stay there, or the country would be a lot worse off than it is.
It is perhaps more instructive to examine why voters, excluding those who are simply lazy, don't vote at all. Republican-affiliated people generally don't vote because they are exasperated with middle-of-the-road moderates who sound like Democrats. A cursory examination of Tea Party and other conservative websites will reveal that these voters viewed Romney as little different from Obama and chose not to vote at all. Democrats generally don't vote because they don't like the impact of Democrat fiscal policy on the country but also don't like the perceive theocracy of the Republican Party. In fact, I would say that the positions of evangelicals are fundamental to the reasons why Republicans can't attract Democrat voters.
The reality is that a strategy focused on caving into pandering and handouts will never hand an election to the Republicans, because Republicans will still be perceived by many, and painted successfully by the Democrats, as authoritarian when it comes to social issues. Furthermore, a shift to support of gay marriage, pot legalization, profligate spending, and so on will alienate much of the Republican base and also result in defeat. Such a shift in policy would effectively end the Republican Party. To win an election, Republicans must find some common ground that a majority of Americans share and occupy that ground.
Most Americans would agree that the government exercises far too much control over the lives of American citizens. Even those who consistently vote Democrat often hold their noses at Democrat policies and vote Democrat because they perceive the Republicans as even more intrusive. Republican voters often do the same when Republican candidates promote spending and other fiscally destructive acts, such as Medicare prescription drug plans. They reason that the overreach of government by Democrats is worse than the same under Republicans. On both sides, there is a lot of nose-holding going on.
The solution to the problem lies in Federalist Libertarianism.
Federalist Libertarianism reduces the power of the federal government and moves that power to the states. It is, simply, the way the founders designed the United States. At the time of the constitutional convention, the colonies of America had vastly different cultures that had to be welded together to form a republic. They accomplished this feat not by mandating the moral austerity of the Quakers or the liberalism of the Lutherans, but rather by granting each state its own culture and a very limited federal government to do some things that couldn't be done by individual states, such as foreign policy and defense. Each state was free to form its own culture and one could vote with his feet if he disapproved.
The same principles could be applied today to win elections. Unfortunately, the controlling powers of the Democratic party are shifted way too far to the left to accomplish this. If we stipulate that the "Santa Claus" voters are predominantly Democrat, then the philosophy of Federalism would alienate that base. The Democratic Party is more socialist or communist than libertarian anymore. The Republican Party, on the other hand, has the capability to accomplish this without compromising its base.
A Federalist Libertarian candidate could easily advocate a policy of libertarianism in a way that would appeal to voters. On the subject of legalizing drugs, gay marriage, and other social issues, the candidate can say that such things should be left up to the states and not legislated from the federal government. In fact, most things done by the Feds could be moved to the states, and such a transfer of power would appeal to the Republican base. Furthermore, the moral conservatives could be convinced that they would be able to practice their moral conservatism in their own state without interference from the feds. With the reduction in federal power would come a reduction in the federal budget, deficit, and other core Republican issues.
And this philosophy comes with a built-in answer to the questions of gay marriage, pot legalization, and so on. The answer is, "Well, I have my own personal opinions, of course, but actual policy and law should be left up to the states."
Although there are a number of politicians who could run as Federalist Libertarians, Ron Paul is not a viable option because his foreign policy stances turn off most Americans. (This is probably why he didn't walk away with the nomination this year.) A Federalist Libertarian can be strong on foreign policy, as that is assuredly a federal issue. Rand Paul is a possibility, but the association with his father might be a liability; he would have to differentiate his foreign policy views from his father early on and prominently. Sarah Palin could accomplish this, as Alaskans are by nature libertarians in general.
There are assuredly lesser-known candidates who could accomplish the task as well, but the old guard of the Republican Party, such as Gingrich, Romney, McCain, and the like, could not make a convincing case if they wanted to. This is a task that requires new and younger blood with 1776 ideas.
Although the party kingmakers will likely resist, they must be overcome. If the Republican Party doesn't morph, it will continue to lose elections through lack of turnout and split vote until the socialist voting bloc puts an end to America.