Yesterday, I wrote a response to Peter Beinart’s op-ed about the Republican Party and the conservative movement. I got some very positive feedback. My friend Patrick Hynes wrote on a related topic. Patrick’s thesis is basically:
First, let’s be clear, American conservatism has devolved from a movement into an identity group.
Patrick continues by pointing out that our constituencies are shrinking and we are not adding new ones:
So we’re closing the door on Hispanics and losing White Catholics. Oh, and as both Greenberg and The Economist note, we are bleeding Independents. What are we getting in return? Younger voters? Nope: Pollster Tony Fabrizio claims the share of voters aged 18-34 that calls itself Republicans has falling to 17%. Veterans, yet another reliable segment of Republican electorate—one that goes unremarked upon by Greenberg at The Economist—is in rapid decline as a percentage of the voting population and will not be replaced by today’s downsized Armed Forces.
One way to turn this around would be to motivate a new set of voters with issues, but he is not seeing where this comes from:
As for other issues? It’s difficult to understand what other issues are going to matter. Pat Ruffini is doing great work trying to build a “Movement 2.0,” but I don’t see any issues in his recent post titled “What’s the Agenda” that can alter the trajectory of the conservative movement.
This is a point that I tried to make yesterday:
After 20 years of transforming America and the world, the GOP is running low on ideas. And the conservative movement is fighting yesterday’s wars. …
It is time for a renewal. It is time to build something.
I share nearly all of Patrick’s analysis, but I am looking this as an opportunity. We can build technologies. We can hold policy workshops. We can support various candidates who are pushing different models for the future of the GOP — electoral experiments! This will take time, but this introspection will start the process now.
It is time for a conservative renewal. It won’t look like it does today. A new generation will be involved.