Mousa Alshanteer: Political party dominance goes and comes
It’s not the social issues or the evolving demographics that altered the outcome of the recent election; it’s the manner by which Republicans presented their vision for our country’s future.
Over 80 years ago, Republican presidential candidate Herbert Hoover defeated Democrat Al Smith by a landslide margin of over 350 electoral votes. Hoover inherited the worst economic depression of the century and subsequently lost his bid for re-election against Franklin D. Roosevelt by an even wider margin. For the next 20 years, Democrats controlled the presidency while many Republicans called for massive party reformation.
The same happened when Johnson defeated Goldwater and when Clinton defeated Bush. When our financial situation worsens, Democrats tend to cater to the majority by promising widespread social and economic reform. Roosevelt won the vote with his New Deal proposals, Johnson with his Great Society reforms and Clinton with his focus on social progressivism and economic development. These reforms; however, were only temporary, and their adverse effects were highlighted by Republicans in subsequent elections. Accordingly, Eisenhower, Nixon, Reagan and George W. Bush were victorious in their campaigns against their Democratic counterparts.
Despite these historic tendencies, Republicans have been overwhelmed with immature advice to abandon their fundamental values as a prerequisite for attaining electoral victories in the future. What many don’t seem to realize; however, is that similar recommendations have been made after every substantial Democratic victory. In order to look forward, Republicans must modify the presentation of their vision and not the vision itself.
Today, more Americans than ever depend on our government for living accommodations, student aid, income and other provisions once offered by private citizens, relatives, churches and community organizations. To counteract the Democrats’ promise of government assistance, Republicans must show that free market policies will strengthen the economy, facilitate the success of small businesses, increase job availability, and thereby decrease the demand for social welfare programs.
As Dennis Prager recommended, every conservative must learn how to meaningfully present Republican values to women, young voters, African-Americans, and Hispanics – demographic groups that disproportionately voted for Obama in the recent election. Republicans must downplay the media’s bias by showing that conservative values can benefit women rather than constrain them. Additionally, they have to show that their policies will lead to a prosperous future for young Americans, African-Americans, and Hispanics – a future where government benefits will become temporary solutions for short term problems.
Despite what many Democrats say, Republicans mainly lost the election because they were unsuccessful in offsetting the class warfare and empty promises proposed by the Obama campaign by effectively presenting their vision to all facets of the citizenry regardless of class, gender, race or ethnicity.
The majority of Americans believe that the government is becoming unreasonably involved in our lives – a belief that fuels the engine of conservative ideology. In today’s world, where European social democracy is failing to meet expectations, the Republican vision for America owns the ideological future. To counterbalance the damage caused by our increasingly unsustainable centralized government and feeble economy, Republicans must better present the case for a smaller, decentralized government and policies that not only assist small businesses, but that establish an economy favorable to the middle-class and lower-class as well.
Obama successfully, yet deceitfully, led us into an era of growing class warfare, all the while appealing to demographics that could have easily voted for Mitt Romney. Though Romney could have offset these divisions by appealing to all Americans, we must realize that we are currently living in a Democratic era comparable to that of Roosevelt, Johnson or Clinton.
Once the disadvantages of our government’s policies are brought to the forefront, our vision for the future will align with that of the American people. Until then, we need to better present the benefits of our policies to the entire citizenry, not just one faction of it. We don’t have to fundamentally change in order for another Eisenhower, Nixon, Reagan or Bush to win the presidency.
History repeats itself.
Mousa Alshanteer is a freshman at Duke University and a 2012 graduate of High Point Central High School. Representations of fact and opinions are solely those of the author.