Ruy Teixeira, of The Emerging Democratic Majority fame, has a new, lengthy paper (large PDF) up on the coming impact of demographic changes on American electoral politics.. The basic thesis as one you have heard before: over the next two or three decades, demographic changes strongly favor the Democratic Party, since population growth is concentrated within groups that vote heavily Democratic (non-whites, non-Christians, Creative Class, Millennials etc).
In the face of these trends, Teixiera lays out two possible paths forward for continued Republican electoral competitiveness:
The second path is the only realistic one. This is because there is simply no conceivable institutional force that could push Republicans to the center.
- Increased appeal to Democratic base groups through ideological moderation;
- Ineffectiveness of Democratic governance
There is simply no engine that can apply enough pressure to move Republicans to the center in the face of the combined force of right-wing media (Limbaugh, Fox News and more), the Christian Right (even though they have faded a bit lately), the Club for Growth, and the Tea Party (whether or not that is actually a definable institution). None. Zip. Zero. Nada. The resources simply do not exist for any group that would be interested in moving Republicans to the center. Further, there isn't even really a group interested in acquiring those non-existent resources. With over 70% of Republicans self-identifying as conservative, there is no base for it.
What funding did exist was largely produced by progressive, single issue advocacy infrastructure that, kin the interest of retaining influence on both sides of the aisle, used a double-standard and lot of its money to prop up moderate Republicans such as Lincoln Chaffee, Arlen Specter, and the Maine Senators. However, that infrastructure was not producing any new moderate Republicans, just protecting the old ones. Further, it faces a new left-wing critique, was based on a double standard of choosing slightly-less than horrible candidates on their issues, and has generally proven to be no match for the right-wing forces outlined above.
Politics remains a fight over the effective organization and application of resources. There just aren't enough potential resources, and people interested in applying those resources, to create a more moderate Republican Party. The conservative movement has taken over the GOP, and that is not going to change anytime soon.
So, the path forward for Republicans is to rely on ineffective Democratic governance. On that front, they are doing pretty well. The current manifestation of the Democratic Party is designed primarily govern in a fashion that protects center-right members of its own party. Unfortunately, governing in a fashion that improves the lives of most Americans is only its secondary purpose. The irony of this structure is that the only way to protect center-right members of the Democratic Party over the long-term is to cement a governing majority by improving the lives of the majority of Americans. But hey, I'm just a frakking stupid, pajama wearing, Cheetos munching blogger, so what do I really know anyway.