The rise of the white elephant?: the declining relevance of the Republican Party in historical perspective

Bedggood, Samantha (2013). The rise of the white elephant?: the declining relevance of the Republican Party in historical perspective. In: Conference Handbook: Perspectives on Progress. Perspectives 2013: Perspectives on Progress, St Lucia, QLD, Australia, (15-15). 27-29 November, 2013.

Author Bedggood, Samantha
Title of paper The rise of the white elephant?: the declining relevance of the Republican Party in historical perspective
Conference name Perspectives 2013: Perspectives on Progress
Conference location St Lucia, QLD, Australia
Conference dates 27-29 November, 2013
Proceedings title Conference Handbook: Perspectives on Progress
Publication Year 2013
Sub-type Published abstract
Open Access Status
Start page 15
End page 15
Total pages 1
Language eng
Formatted Abstract/Summary
The Republican Party (GOP) has lost the popular vote in four out of the five US presidential elections (1992, 1996, 2000, 2008, 2012). In 1988, Democratic presidential candidate Michael Dukakis lost the white vote by 19 points and won just 111 electoral votes. In November 2012, Barack Obama lost the white vote by 20 points, yet succeeded in winning 332 electoral votes. Pundits on either side of the political spectrum have opined that this simple fact reveals that the changing demographics of the United States over the past two decades have rendered the party’s reliable grasp on the white vote increasingly politically irrelevant. Bill O’Reilly of Fox News lamented in the wake of the 2012 election defeat, “the demographics are changing...it’s not a traditional America anymore...the white establishment is now a minority.” Jonathan Chait of New York Magazine, similarly contended that, “Over the last couple of election cycles, the environment itself has changed. Racial and cultural divisions no longer naturally cut in the GOP’s favor.”

The argument that the GOP’s electoral hopes are dwindling because America has changed, remains a pervasive theme in contemporary political discourse. Less common however, is an examination of the extent to which the GOP has been its own grave digger. This paper will situate the changing nature of American conservatism in historical perspective. It will explore how the GOP’s own evolution (or arguably devolution) in recent decades- the fundamental changes within the party itself and its guiding ideology, have been far more significant to its dwindling hold over the electorate than changes in American society.
Q-Index Code EX
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Conference Paper
Collection: School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry
 
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Created: Wed, 26 Mar 2014, 11:22:41 EST by Lucy O'Brien on behalf of School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry