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I should be a Republican...but I'm not.

(Interesting article on the lack of Republicans in big cities. Worth a read in relation to below.) 

On the surface, at least, I'm an outlier. I'm white, straight, grew up in the suburbs, come from a long line of Republicans. I'm not originally from a predominantly "blue" state. I'm from Ohio, that battleground of all battlegrounds. I was fair game and the Republican Party lost me. Here's why and what they'd need to do to get me back. Because if the GOP is to have a chance in the new electorate, it's going to have to win over people like me.

The first Presidential election I could vote in was the infamous 2000 Bush v. Gore debacle. But I actually credit that for my liberalism far less than one might think. I even voted Republican in that primary...for McCain in a fruitless attempt to help prevent the obvious dunderhead from having any chance. Though I did my part in the General Election by voting for Gore.

Even at the young age of 18, conservatives were losing me. By education, for one. When you dig deeper into my stats I become more predictable to the data analysts. I went to college. Spent a long time in a diverse, urban area being exposed to numerous foreign cultures. Racism dies quickly on an L train. Class does not. The poverty of Chicago struck me. The diversity of religions. I got some gay friends. And some black ones. Some Muslim ones. I saw a couple other countries. Tried some new foods. Shacked up with someone for awhile. Eventually had some kids so that I want a well-funded free education system. I started defying gender roles by staying home with said kids.

You see where this is going...it's hard to be a Republican in the face of all that. They really never stood a chance. But they should!

You see, that's my problem with being in love with the politically wonderful two-party system. Despite being a liberal (we're hip and trendy after Obama's Inauguration Speech), I also strongly believe that having only one viable political party is not the way to do things. It creates debate, but not really. What you end up with is the sane party most everybody belongs to and a contrasting anti-everything party that has few ideas other than hating the modern world.

I may be a Yellow Dog Democrat--that is, we'd rather vote for a yellow dog than a Republican--but I'm not a straight-ticket Democrat out of some deep loyalty to the party. It's more out of necessity and the fact that, at least since WWII, my party is the one you look to for any sort of intellectualism about socio-political progress. In the Democrats corner you have Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy, LBJ, Clinton, Obama. On the other hand you have....Reagan? Hard to really say much about Nixon, Ford, the Bushes. I can maybe give you points for arguing, obscurely, for Eisenhower. Not exactly a bunch of visionary minds there.

Oddly, I wish there were. I'd love to see a strong, intellectual, wise, thinking man's conservative party emerge who is fully engaged with the modern world but articulates a non-crazy version of limited government, responsible finance that seeks to enrich social programs and increase the benefits of government while striving for efficiency and prudence.

Good luck with that, right?

I should be a Republican...and could be again. The coming permanent Democratic majority based on demographics isn't inevitable. And, frankly, if Republicans did a little better in helping gays, latinos, women they could probably put up a decent fight for Democratic voters tired of entrenched urban politics that merely speaks to the benefits of Big Government even while doing it badly. What we need is Big Government Republicans who are socially liberal, financially moderate, and non-judgmental in their dealings with others.

In short, an evolved contemporary GOP could be a powerful thing. But that's an awfully big "if." Can Republicans shake off the Tea Party, radio and Fox News talking heads, the racists, the bigots, the misogynists?

Even if you assume the continued future of the two Big Tents--where religious and rural folk plus libertarians go right while minorities, women, and urban voters go left--you're stuck eventually with the fact that the nation is shifting more towards one of those tents having more people in it. The big question, post-Obama, is going to be how that coalition continues, changes, or evolves.

Republicans have a huge opportunity going forward. Or they can whine and complain about the biased media and how Democrats have named-called them into being the boogeyman. Well, it's time to take some of that personal responsibility that Republicans are so known for wanting...to survive, you have to win me back. Or, at the very least, make people like me think twice about voting Democrat. Right now, the decision in the voting booth is a no-brainer. Quit with the crazy and we'll talk.

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