After the Election – Can the Republicans Learn from Labour?

  • Published on October 28th, 2008

The wilderness that awaits the losing partyOf course it’s too early too judge, but as recent leaked policy papers suggest that the Republicans may find themselves facing a sixty seat Democrat majority in the Senate, there’s an eerie similarity to what happened to the British Labour party in the 1980s – and that means a decade in the wilderness – always assuming there’s any wilderness left for the losing party to get lost in!


The term rump is only attractive when applied to steak, but it’s being predicted that the Republicans will become a rump party if Barack Obama wins the way the polls suggest. And for those of us who lived through the Thatcher years, rump came to mean something else: an extremist political group reduced to a few highly vociferous ‘strongholds’ expressing intense focus only about causes and issues that the bulk of the public had no interest in.  The Labour Party leaders in the 1980s seemed increasingly out of step with most of the population:  can the same be said of the Republicans today?

Issues move – candidates should too

Perhaps not yet, but it’s certainly true that to many outside the USA, who see only the overview, not the local politics, that the role of religion in Republican politics appears key to the party’s own view of success, while environmental concerns and global warming hardly appear to feature on the Republican agenda at all – a strange situation when those very issues are being hotly debated in virtually every religious policy centre around the world, especially those which have strong links to evangelical Africa, as America assuredly does. Instead, gay marriage and abortion have been the key calls to religious action. In the past these issues have delivered fervent evangelical Christian endorsement of the Republican base, but with support for Obama (43%) and McCain (45%) virtually equal in the born-again Christian community, it does seem that even the Christian vote is dividing, with those who are hardline conservatives following McCain and the liberal conservatives finding a home with Obama.

At a moment when America is accelerating away from causes that conservative Christian groups get hot under the collar about, like gay rights and creationism, to issues that concern the wider polity, such as economic equity and energy poverty turning up on our own doorsteps, the Republicans seem likely to find themselves speaking ever more stridently to an ever shrinking pool of concerned opinion.

It took ten years, and John Smith, to turn the Labour Party in the UK from its fixations with ‘loony left’ politics back to the middle ground agenda which brought Tony Blair to power. If we truly only have 100 months to act on climate change, the Republicans can’t afford to spend long in their wilderness or they may well find that their heartland has not just turned away from them, it could have been depopulated altogether by the challenge of global warming.

Wilderness image courtesy of Wolfgang Staudt on Flickr under a Creative Commons Licence

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3 comments

  • My sentiments exactly, Jack.

    As an Independent, I can't understand how anyone could support a Republican ticket that has already proven to be such an incredible failure.

    Fortunately, young voters are coming out in massive numbers and understand how critical it is that they "take back their country"!

    To those loyal Republicans, just remember it was your previous votes of last 8 yrs that has eroded our Constitution, is rife with fraud and ethics (Stevens, Abramson, Palin, Joe the Plumber (owes taxes and lied about being licensed plumber)-yet the Republicans keep parading these people in front of us…so who could ever take the Republican's seriously again after Rove, Cheney etc…now flip-flop McCain…GIVE ME A BREAK!

  • I see you all have not lost your fight :

    GOOD! Because we have a lot to do. You! (the American people) are going to have to take back control of your elected government at every level, and set your government back on the right path of service to you, and the greater good of the World.

    Barack Obama and the democrats are your best hope of doing that now. Tell your family, friends, and everyone you know to support them as best they can. Because the Bush McCain vote fraud, vote cheating, vote buying, vote manipulation machine is already hard at work to cheat you again. And we all know what a disaster that has been the past 8 years of Bush McCain.

    Barack Obama and the democrats will need all the power you can give them at every level of government (Federal, State, County, and local City elected governments). Obama and the democrats will have an enormous mess to fix for the American people, and the rest of the World. A mess caused by the corrupt Bush McCain administration.

    You see, starting back in 2000, and before 911, it was mostly the Republican governors, Republican legislatures, and county elected Republican officials that conspired with the corrupt Bush McCain administration to raise college, and university tuitions by the fastest, and highest rate increases in American history. Some state tuitions went up by as much as a WHOPPING! 30% in one year.

    The reason the Bush McCain administration did this was to force struggling working class kids into the military to pay for the sudden jump in tuition. Which was forced on them by the corrupt Bush McCain administration, and their corrupt Republican Governors, and republican controlled state legislatures.

    See, Bush McCain had plans to get us into all these immoral, foolish, criminal, and unnecessary wars from the start. So they could use these wars to seize power, and later to get reelected. But, for their evil plan to work they needed more volunteer soldiers struggling to pay for an education whose blood they could spill to help them seize more power. Remember Bush McCain’s “MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!” theatrics.

    The exploitation, and lost lives of these finest Americans is despicable, disgusting, immoral, corrupt and criminal. And it makes me SICK, and ANGRY!

    You will have to vote for Obama, and the democrats in overwhelming numbers to overcome the Bush McCain vote fraud machine. Vote early if you can. Then help your fellow Americans cast their votes now, and on through election day. Vote for Obama, and the democrats like your life, and the lives of your loved ones depends on it. Because it does. You will not survive 4 more years of “Let Them Eat Cake” Bush McCain, and their republican allies.

    Just look at the mess we have now.

    You can fix this mess with your votes for Obama, and the democrats. And REMEMBER, no matter which of us may stumble or fall, the rest of you must continue to surge forward for Barack Obama, and the democrats, and for your-selves most of all. The children, and the World are counting on us.

    It’s in your hands now. And I know you will get it done.

    God bless all of you.

    JACK SMITH – WORKING CLASS… 🙂

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