Monday, May 4, 2009

Rebranding the GOP: an end to (some) conservatism?

So the Republican Party is planning on rebranding itself in an effort to gain more members or supporters towards its goals. Currently, only 21 percent of Americans consider themselves Republicans or supporters of the GOP today, compared with 35 percent who call themselves Democrats.

Recently, the Republican Party has taken a swift turn to the left, causing some (like Sen. Arlen Specter) to jump ship to the more-inclusive Democratic Party. Moderate Republicans (what little remain) have been threatened by GOP Chairman Michael Steele who said he may withhold funds for these Republicans for supporting some of Barack Obama's economic policies.

If this situation is any indicator, as well as the various Tea Party/Tax Day protests held by conservative activists across the country last month, the rebranding effort may cause the GOP to turn even sharper right. If that happens, you can expect even more independents and moderates to go blue in 2010 and 2012.

However, there is the possibility that the Republicans will come to their senses and go towards the middle more. This seems like it would be a bad thing, but let's think about it for a second: the Democrats are already a center-left party. Republicans moving toward the center would only embolden the policies that Democrats and Obama are pushing for, and increase Obama's clout as a champion of bipartisan reform.

It's a win-win for Democrats: the GOP goes right, we get more support; they go center, we look better. In other words, conservatism, in some aspects, may be a dying breed in American politics.

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