Friday, November 9, 2012

Republicans must embrace concepts they hate - like evolution

What follows is my Op-Ed piece in today's Orlando Sentinel.  Enjoy...

As a registered Libertarian, I do not often find myself voting for Republicans in presidential races. I do, though, often scratch my head and wonder why the Republican Party seems determined to arrive on the political endangered-species list.

I will confess that on Tuesday, for the first time in 12 years, I voted for the GOP to run the country. I am, after all, a free-market economist, and President Obama has not represented anything close to a belief in, or understanding of, simple freshman-level economics.

What Obama does understand — all too clearly — is that America has changed, and with it, the political landscape. The president perfectly unfolded an even larger tent to cover the folks the Republicans scare away.

Let's look at it.

First and foremost, there is the idiotic stance Republicans have taken on the issue of immigration. When will they ever learn how to do math? It is simple. Hispanics now make up 13 percent of the country and, for the first time ever, accounted for 10 percent of the voters.

The GOP keeps thinking, "OK, Hispanics are largely family-oriented Catholics who oppose abortion, so we should be attractive to them."

No, Hispanics are human beings who want jobs and opportunities to take care of their families. They have decided that they cannot do this in their native lands, so they rationally head for America — legally and illegally.

When Hispanics see how mean-spirited many Republicans and tea party folks are about their arrival in America, they naturally conclude that the Democrats will create a more favorable environment from which they can economically flourish.

Second, America has changed socially faster than Republicans can comprehend.

The country cares less and less about gay people getting married. Americans are not that bent out of shape over children born to single mothers. Abortion rights are popular as is the notion of legalized marijuana.

Moreover, when Republicans scream about national defense, the nation largely yawns. In essence, the voters told Republicans, "Osama is dead, and we aren't too concerned about the safety of Israel, but we do not have a job."

Finally, there is the long-awaited arrival of what we economists call the tipping point. The fiscal tipping point is when 50 percent of a population no longer pays income taxes, and 50 percent receive some form of taxpayer benefits every month.

Once a nation arrives at those key points, it becomes virtually impossible to get people excited about tax cuts or spending reductions.

We are now at the famous 47 percent mark on taxes and just more than 44 percent of Americans receive money from the forced confiscation of other people's money.

Yet, with all of this in front of them, Mitt Romney and other Republicans continued to talk about the self-deportation of Hispanics, the threat we face from Iran and tax cuts.

It is time for members of the Grand Old Party to wake up and embrace another concept they hate: That is Darwin's theory of evolution.

The political ecosystem has radically changed in our nation. If conservatives do not adapt to this change, they will face extinction in election after election.

Toward that end, I suggest some simple, common-sense modifications to their platform. Embrace immigration, shy away from radical proposals to the social-welfare network, and stop talking so much about social issues. This will be hard for them, I know.

Losing elections is harder. Isn't it?


  1. This is a smart essay, Jack. Maybe some Republicans who read the Sentinel will take it to heart. Thanks for a good read.

  2. That you, Russ. It is funny, even as a Libertarian I am beginning to see that my party needs to change too. The country is not what we want it to be so we need to embrace reality and learn to navigate through it.

  3. My mom voted for Obama not because she loved his ideas, but solely because Mitt Romney was anti-immigrant. The op-ep piece in the Wall Street Journal is right, "Immigrants should be a natural GOP constituency. Newcomers to the U.S.—legal or illegal—tend to be aspiring people who believe in the dignity of work and self-sufficiency, and they are cultural conservatives." Until they change their stance on the issue, the Republicans can be certain that days like Tuesday will become the norm.

  4. This was an excellent blog and I agree with you completely. It was well thought out and very well written.
    I also agree with Fabricio that people vote for a candidate for a specific reason, whatever it may be. If a party gives you no reason to vote for them or their outdated social ideas, you do tend to vote for the other guy.
    I was actually quite impressed with Jon Huntsman during the primaries and would have considered him a centrist candidate.

  5. That's the problem with republicans, they tend to talk about issues while democrats talk about emotions. It is much easier to rouse the electorate with emotions instead of cures. Pander to the masses if you want to be elected.

  6. I would be very careful, especially with the immigration issue.

    I agree that the view of Hispanics some Republicans hold has to change in some ways, but there is another aspect that has to be taken into account before making any decision.

    I was born in Venezuela and spent the first 20 years of my life living there. Believe it or not, the great majority of the population in my country is very attracted to the idea of dependency on government and the more famous "fairness". Even those that oppose the government of Hugo Chavez will turn around and tell you that the reason the voted against him at some point is because he didn't give them a house or a job.

    I came here looking for opportunity and a better life, but not at the expense of no one else and I can tell you from my own personal experience the Hispanic culture is a lot more focused on safety nets and guarantees than you may think. That's the reason I would be very cautious with how this country tackles the issue of immigration. I would not want this great place to step on the gas towards those same things I once decided to escape.

  7. To me, you hit the nail on the head. I am a registered Republican, but as I've gotten older I have become more of a liberal libertarian. I know this is an old post, but the GOP need to get with the program and elect someone who will actually have a chance at winning the election.