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.
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.
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:
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.