Pat Buchanan: Who killed the New Majority?
Yet, the crisis of the Grand Old Party goes back much further.
First, some history. The Frank Lloyd Wright of the New Majority was Richard Nixon, who picked up the pieces of the party after Goldwater's defeat had left Republicans with just a third of the House and Senate.
In 1966, Nixon led the GOP back to a stunning victory, picking up 47 House seats. In 1968, he united the Rockefeller and Reagan wings and held off an October surge by Hubert Humphrey, which cut a 13-point Nixon lead to less than a point in four weeks.
In 1972, Nixon swept 49 states. The New Majority was born. How did he do it?
Nixon sliced off from FDR's New Deal coalition Northern Catholics and ethnics - Irish, Italians, Poles, East Europeans - and Southern Christian conservatives. Where FDR and Woodrow Wilson had won all 11 Southern States six times, Nixon swept them all in '72. And where Nixon won only 22 percent of the Catholic vote against JFK, he won 55 percent against George McGovern in 1972.
What killed the New Majority?
First, there was mass immigration, which brought in 40 to 50 million people, legal and illegal, poor and working class, and almost all from the Third World. The GOP agreed to the importation of a vast new constituency that is now kicking the GOP into an early grave.
When some implored the party in 1992 to secure the border and declare a "timeout" on legal immigration to assimilate the millions already here, the party establishment repudiated any such ideas.
"We are a nation of immigrants!" it huffed. Well, we sure are now.
And when amnesty is granted to the 12 million illegals, as GOP senators are preparing to do, that should advance the death of the GOP as a national party by turning Colorado, Nevada and Arizona blue, and putting even Texas in play.
Second came party acquiescence in dropping half the nation off the income tax rolls, while making half dependent on government for food assistance, income support, rent, health care and the education of their kids from Head Start through Pell Grants.
Why should the half of America that pays no taxes but survives on federal benefits vote for a party that will cut taxes they do not pay but roll back benefits upon which they do depend?
Third, to accommodate its K Street bundlers, the GOP embraced globalism, empowering Corporate America to shed its U.S. labor force, move its plants to Mexico, Asia and China, bring its foreign-made goods back to the USA free of charge and pocket the difference.
Profits, stocks, dividends soared. But the Reagan Democrats of industrial America - who paid the price in lost jobs and shuttered plants from the $10 trillion in trade deficits America has run since George H. W. Bush - have now gone home to the party of their fathers. And they are not coming back.
Fourth, rather than bringing the troops home after our Cold War triumph and telling our allies the free rides were over, Bush I and II went crusading for a "New World Order" to "end tyranny in our world."
After three wars and half a dozen interventions, we are bankrupt at home and hated abroad. And Americans, sick of seeing their best and bravest brought home to Dover or being fitted at Walter Reed for prosthetic arms and legs, have twice voted for an anti-interventionist President.
Yet, one matter over which the GOP had no control is the triumph of the counterculture.
What might be called the old morality - that abortion is the killing of an unborn child, an abomination, that homosexuality is unnatural and immoral - has been relegated by scores of millions, especially among the young, to the dark ages of the 20th century.
Americans who adhere to this traditional morality, rooted in Christian tradition and Biblical truth, are culturally outgunned and may now be outnumbered. They may have lost America for good.
What can the GOP do about this? Nothing.
What will the GOP do? Probably what comes naturally - declare itself "tolerant" and respectful of all views, pro-life and pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage and pro-traditional marriage.
Reality must be faced. A generation has grown up rejecting the truths that its grandparents lived. And while population growth among our native born halted decades ago, scores of millions have come in from abroad to fill the empty spaces. And they are still coming. They like what Big Government has to offer, and seem uninterested in what the GOP has to sell.
In that case, you try harder to sell your product, change your product, or go out of business.
Yet, if the GOP changes its product, it may just lose its most loyal customers.
When the obituary of the party is written, the subhead will likely read "Dead of Self-inflicted Wounds."
Pat Buchanan is a former Republican and Reform Party candidate for President, an adviser to two Presidents, a syndicated columnist based in Washington, D.C., and the author of "Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025?"
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