So the Mad Hatter of the American conservatism, Pat Buchanan, wrote a piece today called “In the Long Run, is the GOP Dead?” It’s basically a fatalistic prediction that the GOP is doomed because it can’t promise enough free lunches for the inexorably rising percentage of nonwhite voters. And there’s a line in there that I hope he clarifies, because it seemed crazy even for him.
The piece starts off by looking at California as a test case:
In the Golden Land, a state Nixon carried all five times he was on a national ticket and Reagan carried by landslides all four times he ran, the GOP does not hold a single statewide office. It gained not a single House seat in the 2010 landslide. Party registration has fallen to 30 percent of the California electorate and is steadily sinking.
Buchanan first posits that perhaps this problem is specific to California, a place where conservative positions on abortion and gay rights make statewide wins a challenge. But then he switches to demographics, quoting generally-astute Karl Rove acolyte Steve Schmidt, the hero of Game Change.
“When you look at the population growth,” says GOP consultant Steve Schmidt, “the actual party is shrinking. It’s becoming more white. It’s becoming older.”
Buchanan then goes on:
Consider ethnicity. Hispanics were 15 percent of the U.S. population in 2008 and 7.4 percent of the electorate. Both percentages will inexorably rise.
Yet in their best years, like 2004, Republicans lose the Hispanic vote 3-to-2. In bad years, like 2008, they lose it 2-to-1. Whites are already a minority in California, and Hispanics will eventually become the majority.
Say goodbye to the Golden Land.
Um … what?
We all know Pat Buchanan is a little crazy. We also know that he has a reputation for racially explosive rhetoric. He’s staked out this very territory before, in his last book, which hilariously had a chapter entitled, “The End of White America.”
That amazing work contained lines like, “Whites may discover what it is like to ride in the back of the bus,” and “Every New York cabby must know the odds, should he pick up a man of color at night.” He even wrote wistfully of the segregation era, seeming to suggest it was a time that even nonwhite Americans should remember with fondness.
Back then, black and white lived apart, went to different schools and churches, played on different playgrounds, and went to different restaurants, bars, theaters, and soda fountains. But we shared a country and a culture. We were one nation. We were Americans.
Right, except for the fire hoses and the lynchings, there was unity then! A sense of collective purpose! Sure, we used black men as lab rats for syphilis experiments, but dammit, we were all in this thing together. As Americans!
Buchanan’s mind is clearly ripening quickly and it’s been ages since he mattered in the Republican party, but this is pretty crazy stuff, even by his standards.