If you know the history of the Republican Party, you know the Reagan Revolution is now officially dead. It was aborted when the GOP abandoned the very issue and people that made it happen. Time of death: January 21, 2015.
Oh, many of those who came to the party because of the values and ideals Reagan championed are still here. As are those of us who desire to pick up that mantle on behalf of the emerging generations. Unfortunately, those running the Republican Party let it be known one final time this week they will have none of it. Sure, they’ll still talk like Reagan in all their branding. But they have no intent on acting like Reagan.
How else do you explain what happened on the eve of the annual “March for Life?”
GOP leadership in the House had timed a “pain-capable” pro-life voting bill banning the killing of children at least 20 weeks developed in the womb to coincide with the march. Otherwise known as “late-term abortion,” this is a practice only seven countries on earth still permit. In my view the bill didn’t go far enough. Beginning with exempting children conceived in rape and incest, thus relegating them to what amounts to 3/5 of a person.
If all life is sacred, and begins at conception, then there is no such thing as “pro-life with exceptions.” That means you’re really just “pro-choice with fewer choices.” However, party leadership demanded the rape and incest exceptions be included, lest some liberal media commentator no one who would ever consider voting for them has actually heard of called them nasty names.
Then just hours before the scheduled vote, GOP leadership pulled the bill for lack of support. Backlash from pro-lifers on social media was swift and severe. Best summed up by this tweet from Andrew Walker, director of policy studies at the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission for the Southern Baptist Convention:
“I don’t eagerly anticipate it, but I predict a day where GOP cowardliness will drive evangelicals to political exile.”
This is what it’s come to. The allegedly pro-life party will now not even pass flawed (in my opinion) pro-life bills, because it would rather protect the pro-killing members of its own caucus more than the innocent babies being killed.
Just when I think my opinion of GOP leadership can’t sink any lower, they find a previously undiscovered ring of Hell and plant their flag.
If the Republican Party won’t even shadow box on the life issue (our infanticidist president would’ve certainly vetoed the bill), then the Reagan Revolution is truly dead. Here’s why.
Prior to Roe v. Wade, Catholics almost never voted Republican. The first Catholic to be president was a Democrat. Many Catholics back then had ties to early 20th century European migration to America, and were from working-class areas and families. Even with the pro-life issue Republicans still have to work nowadays to get half of the Catholic vote in presidential election years. For example, Obama won the Catholic vote by two points in 2012.
Prior to Roe v. Wade, evangelicals weren’t even a viable political force in America. Most of them were reading The Late, Great Planet Earth and waiting to be “raptured” come 1988. In fact, the first somewhat successful effort to mobilize evangelicals was actually in 1976 on behalf Democrat Jimmy Carter, who was proudly known then as a “born again Christian.”
Furthermore, Catholics and evangelicals rarely communed together thanks to still simmering tensions and disagreements hundreds of years-old. However, the evil unleashed by Roe v. Wade changed that, and thus transformed the entire American political landscape.
Catholic Paul Weyrich and evangelical Jerry Falwell helped to forge the “Moral Majority,” and mobilized the first successful attempt to put traditional Catholics and evangelicals on the same team. The result was the third leg of conservativism Barry Goldwater didn’t have in 1964, but now Reagan did. This gave birth to Reagan’s famed “three-legged stool” of fiscal, national security, and (now) social conservatives.
It was these social conservatives who provided the “worker bees” and grassroots activists Goldwater was missing, and any successful movement has to have. They put Reagan over the top. Over the years they became the most loyal voting bloc the GOP had. That’s how a party that had been in the wilderness since the Welfare State and Watergate went from a country club minority of WASPs to the majority party in America. The GOP won control of Congress for the first time in a generation, as well as six of the next eight presidential elections.
Now as they see their values and the Reagan Revolution being abandoned by today’s GOP, it’s getting harder and harder to turn that base out as we learned in the 2008 and 2012 elections. They came back in droves last November, and tipped the scales in favor of the Republicans if you look at the numbers.
In Arkansas, where challenger Tom Cotton routed Democrat incumbent Mark Pryor, 51 percent of the electorate was evangelicals. Almost 40 percent of the electorate in Georgia was evangelicals, and only 12 percent of them voted for Democrat Michelle Nunn. In Kentucky, 52 percent of the electorate was evangelicals, and Republican Mitch McConnell won that group by 38 points. A third of the electorate in Louisiana was evangelicals, and only 14 percent of them voted for Democrat incumbent Mary Landrieu. Finally, Thom Tillis pulled off the upset over Kay Hagan in North Carolina because he received a whopping 78 percent of the evangelical vote, which made up 40 percent of the electorate there.
Those people didn’t turn out only to then be immediately sold out by the Republicans they just voted for, but that’s what has already happened (and not just on this issue). It may turn out the worst thing that ever happened to the GOP was overwhelmingly winning in 2014, because with today’s media and technology, the base is finally learning in grisly detail just how treacherous our leaders are.
Then again, maybe we shouldn’t be surprised given the fact the GOP just put somebody who is a lifelong advocate for child-killing in charge of its money?
The GOP has now turned its back on the issue and the people that got them where they are. The Reagan Revolution within the GOP is now over. The American Patriot is now left to ponder two questions: how/who should launch the next revolution, or is there a point to even having a Republican Party at all?
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.