The Coming Conservative Crack-Up

The GOP has to recognize what the demographic realities in the United States mean for its future.

By + More

[Check out editorial cartoons about the Tea Party.]

My favorite example comes from mid-October: Georgia state senators were treated to a four-hour, closed-door briefing organized by their (now outgoing) majority leader, on the U.N.'s nonbinding Agenda 21 sustainable growth program. The Tea Party activist running the briefing compared Obama to Mao and Stalin and explained that the president uses a Cold War era "mind-control" system called "the Delphi technique" to advance his agenda, which involves forcibly relocating those outside cities in the name of sustainable development. (Sustainable development is also the theme of Glenn Beck's new, dystopian novel titled, of course, Agenda 21.)

Even when the fringe accepts demographic reality, it sees conspiracies. "Most Americans don't realize that, decades ago, the Democrats instituted a long-term plan to gradually turn the United States into a Third World nation," Ann Coulter wrote this month about the rise of nonwhite America. "The country would become poorer and less free, but Democrats would have an unbeatable majority!"

Some on the right have greeted the results with angry finger pointing at the wrong elements in the country running amok. Focus on the Family blamed victories for marriage equality on "unchurched" voters while the Family Research Council warned these could spark "a revolt, a revolution," which could "explode and just break this nation apart." The Rev. Franklin Graham complained that "the majority of Christians didn't vote." (Actually, they did, making up the same proportion of the electorate as four years ago, according to NBC News, and a great share than eight years ago.) It's pointless for Republicans to try to appeal to Hispanics, lunatic Rep. Steve King of Iowa said this week because "Democrats will find a way to hand deliver citizenship papers [to them] along with a great big check"—a grotesque version of Mitt Romney's complaint that Obama had triumphed because of "gifts" (a sentiment which was itself fairly grotesque). Romney's chief strategist penned an op-ed in the Washington Post explaining that Romney's loss was a great victory because he won a majority of votes from those making at least $50,000 (you know, the important voters).

These ugly sentiments are the submerged iceberg underlying more innocuous comments like Paul Ryan's assertion that Obama won because of the "urban vote," or, again, Romney's "gifts" analysis. It's not us; it's them. And if they are now America, all that's left is to fight the future.

The movement right may continue to "stand athwart history, yelling stop," in the words of the late William F. Buckley. But history always has the last word.

  • Read Leslie Marshall: Sandra Fluke Belongs on Time's 'Person of the Year' List
  • Read Peter Roff: GOP Shouldn't Abandon Call for Lower Taxes, Pro-Life Stance
  • Read Susan Milligan: States Lose If We Go off the Fiscal Cliff