Change (in the House of Representatives)


First things first, I’d like to make a correction to last week’s column: I incorrectly stated that Tuscaloosa and the University of Alabama were a part of the third congressional district of Alabama. They’re actually a part of the seventh district, represented by Congresswoman Terri Sewell.

In my previous column, I responded to Rep. Rogers’ comments on the direction our nation’s Congress is headed depending on who wins the presidential election. I’d like to revisit that topic in light of the fact that Obama’s re-election is guaranteed by the convoluted math equation that is the Electoral College.

At least it’s finally over. Several of the most important swing states were hotly contested, but Obama won a clear majority of the 270 electoral votes needed to secure re-election.

He didn’t come by it easily—for example, the difference of Romney or Obama winning Florida’s electoral votes was less than 1%; that’s the difference of a few thousand votes out of the seven million people who voted in that state. The situation was virtually the same in Ohio.

So, half of the Americans who voted will be stuck with a president they didn’t want for the next four years. Normally I’d say tough luck—that’s how politics work.

There’s an ebb and flow to who holds power in our democracy. Political regimes rise while one party holds sway. Oftentimes, they fall when that party becomes too radical, or suffers from infighting and division.

I think that’s what we’re seeing happen with the Republican Party.

You can’t please everyone, and there are some really picky factions that have arisen within the GOP—like the Tea Party Republicans, for instance.

How can the Republican Party appease them while also appealing to demographics (like Latino-Americans and women) that are increasingly vital to gaining political power in our modern democracy?

I don’t think it’s possible, and this election proves that. Romney’s strategy of flip-flopping around in an attempt to appeal to several vastly different groups of people didn’t work. Where does that leave the GOP?

In my opinion, there are two possible paths the Republican Party could take: either they double down on dogma and conservatism, or they resort to the one thing they haven’t reacted well to—change.

What many members of the GOP refer to as the ‘traditional’ American—white, Protestant and male—is quickly becoming a minority. It’s time for conservative politicians to stop pandering to that demographic and look across the aisle at people of a different color, belief system and gender.

There’s a divide in our country right now, running down the middle—either you’re Republican or Democrat, conservative or liberal, true believer or... something else. I’d like to see that gap get a lot smaller with the end of this election, but the opposite could be true if the Republican Party doesn’t change to fit the times.

11/07/2012


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