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Well, it seems that election night did what our public education system (in some places) is not allowed to do, teach Republicans about evolution.  Evolution occurs when internal genetic mutations combine with external environmental factors to result in changes in the overall structure.  Let’s examine how Republicans have learned this hard truth over the past few days.

External Factors

    First, let’s look at the external factors at work here.  Of course, the biggest event here is the “stunning” defeat in Tuesday’s election, which makes the voters the biggest external factor.  When your goal is to win elections, and you lose that many of them, it can be a significant motivator to change your previous behavior.  But, if we delve a little deeper, we can even point to more specific factors.  We are all already aware of these:  immigration policy, women’s rights, voter suppression efforts, economic issues, etc.  Reaction to Republican stances on these issues has been noticeable and organized.  The key word here is organized.  The voters who care most deeply about these issues came out en masse on Tuesday to vote against Republicans.   The Republicans interacted with their environment, and their inability to cope has brought them to the verge of extinction.

Internal Mutations

    The internal mutations here deal with Republican stances on some very important issues.  As previously stated, the issues are immigration, women’s rights, voter suppression, economic issues.  The Republican stances have mutated further and further to the right, so much so that the environmental circumstances are slowly driving them to extinction.  On immigration, Republicans have mutated from Saint Reagan’s amnesty policy to self-deportation, giant fences along the entire border with Mexico, and armed vigilantes meting out their own brand of justice along the border.  We need hardly probe into the Republican mutations on women’s rights.  Republicans have mutated from a policy of women simply performing “common women’s roles” to women not even having control over their own bodies anymore.  Republican mutations on voters went from covert gerrymandering of districts (which they still do) to overt statements about, and attempts at, discouraging people from voting.  Economically speaking, Republicans have mutated from simply advocating for economic policies that favor the rich to holding the rest of us hostage to achieve that end.  The internal mutations within the Republican Party are making it more difficult for them to survive in their current environment.

Changes in the Structure

    As a result of the external factors and the internal mutations of the Republican Party, evolution has occurred and changes have been made in the structure of the party itself.  Note these clear examples of Republican evolution:

•    Immigration

o    Before:  After signing the Immigration Reform and Control Act, Saint Reagan said, “The legalization provisions in this act will go far to improve the lives of a class of individuals who now must hide in the shadows, without access to many of the benefits of a free and open society. Very soon many of these men and women will be able to step into the sunlight and, ultimately, if they choose, they may become Americans.

o    After:  Today, Speaker Boehner said, “I’m confident that the president, myself, others can find the common ground to take care of this issue once and for all.

•    Women’s rights

o    Before:  Todd Akin said, “I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be of the rapist, and not attacking the child.”  (Or insert your favorite “Rape Advisory Chart” comment here.)

o    After:  Peggy Noonan, on Fox News after the election, “You cannot dodge, I think, the reality that the Republican Party has a woman problem.

•    Voter Suppression

o    Before:  Florida Governor Rick Scott restricted early voting days, shut down voter registration drives, and disenfranchised the felon vote, in addition to creating a four page long ballot that, in part, lead to long lines on Election Day.

o    After:  Newt Gingrich, after the election, “We were wrong.

•    Economic Issues

o    Before:  Mitch McConnell on Aug. 3, 2011, discussing the debt ceiling:  “it’s a hostage that’s worth ransoming

o    After: Speaker Boehner, in his statement after the election, “Because the American people expect us to find common ground, we are willing to accept some additional revenues, via tax reform.

Witness the Evolution!

    Of course, at this point it is only words, without action to back it up.  Stay tuned to see if the actions follow.  You may be witnessing the extinction of the Republican Party.

Originally posted to South Florida Progressive on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 03:31 PM PST.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  We need a new voting rights act eom (9+ / 0-)

    If... the machine of government... is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law. ~Henry David Thoreau, On the Duty of Civil Disobediance, 1849

    by shigeru on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 10:59:24 PM PST

  •  If they are evolving, they'll never admit it (4+ / 0-)

    Whatever you want to call it, evolving is one way the GOP itself will never describe any changes it makes.  Hopefully, they will stick with the same tired old nostrums and fade into extinction.  Personally, I would love to have the two party system be a choice between the Dems, Greens or Socialists (pick any two).  There is no long term gain in serving the interests of dinosaurs.

    A mind is a terrible thing to close.

    by alliwant on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 11:33:21 PM PST

    •  You're right... (0+ / 0-)

      They'll never admit to it.  But, if they want to survive as a party, they'll do it quietly at least.  Of course, on our end, we'd be happy to see them fade into extinction and create a place for a new second party to come into the system.  I like your suggestions there.

  •  The Power Brokers and Pundits (6+ / 0-)

    might start acknowledging they screwed the pooch, at the margin, but I really don't think they can force a mutation of the deep level right wing DNA of the fundamentalist theocrats, radical anti-government "libertarians," racist and now more widely dispersed dixiecrats, anti-science ignorati and rapacious corporate plutocrats that make up the modern day John Birch Society of right wing politics.

    This nasty amalgam nothing less than a proto-fascism that we've certainly seen before in the Right.  President Obama's re-election, I suspect, is not a sufficient revolutionary impulse, however, to cause its self-immolation.

    The one permanent emotion of the inferior man is fear - fear of the unknown, the complex, the inexplicable. What he wants above everything else is safety. H.L. Mencken

    by ancblu on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 11:37:52 PM PST

    •  Your description of the true character of the GOP (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      marina, exterris, ancblu

      is dead on, as is your conclusion that there will be no true evolution of those loons.

    •  I'm afraid you're right. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      exterris, ancblu, Nick Lento

      But, at least we can hope.  I like the way you characterized the changes as "at the margins".  I think you're right about that.  They may make superficial, small changes in their positions.  But, as you said, the deep, core beliefs will probably remain.

      Actually, if that happens, I think it would be worse for us.  Small changes might be enough to pull some less informed voters to their side.  Then, with their core beliefs still in tact, Republicans can go back to damaging the country.

  •  They won't evolve, too many factors preventing (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ancblu, bluestatedon, marina, exterris, lazybum

    them from doing that. The moderates had their chance 6-10 years ago to stop or overthrow the extremists, but they didn't for various reasons. Now it's too late, the Koch Bros, Club for Growth, Boss Norquist and Boss Limbaugh won't let go, and their tea party dumb-ss base feeds at the teet of their noxious resentments, prejudices and propaganda. They may parade around and dress up a bit in moderate clothes at some point, but underneath it will all be the same. They've become who they really are.

    •  Demographically Overwhelmed ... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      marina, Van Buren, doinaheckuvanutjob

      I think is the best we can hope for.

      Which ... I suppose ... is one of the most important external environmental factors within the the diarist's analogy, in the same way that Neanderthal lost out to the smarter and more adaptable progressives.

      The one permanent emotion of the inferior man is fear - fear of the unknown, the complex, the inexplicable. What he wants above everything else is safety. H.L. Mencken

      by ancblu on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 12:07:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  As long as... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ancblu

      the "bosses" are in charge, you're probably right.  Nothing will change.  Likewise, as long as the tea party is influential, nothing will change.  But, I do believe that there are some more moderate Republicans out there.  They need to be more vocal and active within the party to bring it into the spectrum of the realistic.  Otherwise, I don't see them lasting much longer.  You can't exist as a political party when you can only relate to one small demographic of a large, diverse society.

    •  The purpose of the Republican party (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      glitterscale, doinaheckuvanutjob

      is to reduce taxes for a few thousand Americans, funnel government services into private hands, e.g. military services, prisons, schools, healthcare, and finally remove regulation that limits profits, especially banks. In the Reagan days, the majority of the party believed that somethings needed to be left on the table. But with Bush / Cheney, the idea there is anything other than the rape of 85% of the public went away. Romney was the extreme example of this, a man who ran for president so he could pay no taxes and funnel American taxpayer dollars to his overseas investments.
      So, what is the point of "evolving?" Some strategies, like turning America into a 1950's Catholic school a la Paul Ryan, may have to change. And open, hardcore racist bigots may need to be renounced. But the basic premise and platform of the Party must stay intact.

      "You can die for Freedom, you just can't exercise it"

      by shmuelman on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 11:35:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  does it shock any of you (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Van Buren, glitterscale

    that the democrats stances on things are the same as Ronald Reagan? and even the affordable care act was a republican idea from the 90s as a bad idea of obfuscating real reform? I wonder if any of you realize that today's democratic party is the really just the republican party of the 80s and early 90s?

    •  I don't think it's so shocking, actually (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      exterris, Devsd, glitterscale

      The Republican party has pulled the political discussion so far to the right that Democrats, even though they claim the left, really are just on the left side of the right.  This is another good reason for all of us to hope that the Republicans come back closer to the center.  It will allow us to move truly to the left.

      I'll use health care as an easy example.  On the true left, you have truly socialized health care:  universal coverage paid for by the government through taxes.  If President Obama was really a socialist, that's what he would have done.  But, again, the Republicans are so far to the right.  They claim individual freedom and "free market solutions".  They want each person to decide for themselves to purchase health insurance.  They want all people to be able to choose from a private market insurance company, not the government.  More importantly, they control enough of Congress that we have to work with them to get anything through.  Thus, we get the watered down health care reform that we ended up with.

      This will continue as long as the Republicans are as far right as they are now, and as long as they control enough of Congress to impose their will.  Another fine reason to hope they either moderate or go extinct as a party.

      •  their effectual little bastards. (0+ / 0-)

        You've got to give the devil his due. There's all this talk about republicans reaccessing their positions... but that's the same talk from '08. We were convinced that they would basically go away for a while to reassess things. They didn't. Not only did they not reject their philosophy but they doubled down on it, invented the tea party to push things further to the right and made huge gains in congress and destroyed any chance at real reform. Will it happen again this time?

  •  Nope (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bmcphail

    Boehner won't stick to that position once his rabid caucus gives him a dressing down.

    •  His position is the same as ever (0+ / 0-)

      "Tax reform" is code for the same old rotting zombie of supply side economics: tax cuts and no new taxes.

      We are the principled ones, remember? We don't get to use the black hats' tricks even when it would benefit us. Political Compass: -6.88, -6.41

      by bmcphail on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 01:40:59 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  When I saw the headline, I thought there was (0+ / 0-)

    a new party based on the rejection of evolutionary theory in particular and rational thinking in general. This would split about 30% of the national Republican vote in the US in general, and about 50% in Texas.

    "You can die for Freedom, you just can't exercise it"

    by shmuelman on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 11:28:02 AM PST

  •  They might try to evolve... (0+ / 0-)

    ... but I think they will fail. Some Republicans have realized that their attacks on women and minorities have consequences. But what they offer in response seems to be "weak tea".

    In addition, there are plenty of Republicans who are doubling down against women and minorities. I think what you are likely to see is some tepid responses to reach out to women and minorities, but even those making those weak responses are unlikely to stand up and oppose those republicans who are doubling down. Their refusal to stand up for their own positions will make their positions look insincere.

    The wolfpack eats venison. The lone wolf eats mice.

    by A Citizen on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 12:10:29 PM PST

  •  A teeny tiny and quite pedantic quibble (0+ / 0-)

    If an individual changes their opinions, that's political metamorphisis.  

    If individuals with more rightward opinions are replaced by individuals with less rightward opinions, moving the average degree of rightness, THAT'S evolution.

    Individual change is metamorphisis, population change is evolution.

    Which doesn't make a damn bit of difference to the validity of your point.....

    Baz

    We are the principled ones, remember? We don't get to use the black hats' tricks even when it would benefit us. Political Compass: -6.88, -6.41

    by bmcphail on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 01:44:01 PM PST

    •  The reason I bother to make the distinction (0+ / 0-)

      ...is that this particular confusion is a major contributor to the public's misunderstanding of evolution.

      Carry on.

      Baz

      We are the principled ones, remember? We don't get to use the black hats' tricks even when it would benefit us. Political Compass: -6.88, -6.41

      by bmcphail on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 01:45:32 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I think that's what we may be witnessing... (0+ / 0-)

      In this early stage, you would be right.  It would only be a metamorphosis.  But, if this generation of Republicans adapts to survive (by moving closer to the center), and passes on those adaptations to the next generation of Republicans (moving the overall brand closer to the center), we would have our evolution.

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