Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Is the Reagan Coalition Gone? What's next?

It was often said that Fred Thompson was appealing to the "Reagan Coalition". JB Williams at AmericanDaily.com contends that it wasn't just Thompson's failure to unite that coalition that caused Fred to drop out, but that it was the Republican's failure to support an actual conservative:

No Conservatives Please
The Writing on the Wall in South Carolina - Thompson didn't fail the Republican Party. The Party that failed to present a conservative themselves, or support one even when conservatives drafted one, failed Thompson.

Shade tree political pundits, who worked around the clock to douse ice water on Fred Thompson’s conservative campaign for President, are busy with their “I told you so” follow-ups. For them, Thompson’s departure from the race is interpreted as hard proof that the candidate was indeed “too old,” “too unhealthy,” “too lazy” and “too disinterested” in winning or leading. But for those who know Fred best, those who drafted him and worked to support him, his departure confirms something quite different…something much worse.

Thompson is simply too Conservative

At a time in history when conservatives are referred to as only a “fringe” of the Republican Party, and when fundamental American values and principles are called “extreme right-wing ideas,” a truly conservative candidate can’t win.

Conservative candidates never do well in liberal strongholds like New Hampshire, where nearly 50 percent of all voters are registered Independent and even Republicans vote liberal, or Michigan, the labor union capitol of the United States. Losing in liberal stronghold states is no surprise; in fact, it’s more a confirmation of one’s conservative credentials.

But not so long ago, there was no such thing as “too conservative” for South Carolina and that’s why Thompson bet his farm on South Carolina. Due to how early primaries are scheduled in liberal leaning states, a conservative candidate must begin his quest for national office in South Carolina, the first traditionally conservative state to hold a primary.

The History Thompson knows too well

For any conservative (or Republican) to win a national election, he must unite at least two of the three primary branches of the Republican Party. History provides a vital lesson in this regard. [...]

I think this explains a lot about why Fred quit after South Carolina. But I still wish he had not quit so soon. Independents were allowed to vote, which skewed the results. The weather was bad for voter turnout. There were too many candidates on the playing field... oh well. It happened the way it did.

This article looks at the history of the Reagan Coalition and Republicans in elections since then. It's an interesting history, with lots of plausible explanations for what we are seeing now. It's not a really long article, and worth reading the whole thing. It's an education. But I won't necessarily agree with the conclusion.

The fight is not over yet. In the end, we work with what we have. I don't know if it's even realistic to talk about the "Reagan Coalition" anymore. That was then, this is now. Reagan created the Regan Coalition in his time. He's gone, and so is the coalition... as it was. Something else new could spring from the roots of that, but if it does, it will be NEW and different. Perhaps inspired by the former, but not the same as.

That is the reality. Lets deal with it, and keep moving forward. Something good may yet come of it.

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