A Shrinking Tent

The few remaining members of a small political organization called the Republican Party appear determined to shrink their numbers even further. Once one of two major political parties back in the days when the United States had a two-party political system, the Republicans have been highly successful at shrinking their numbers by driving out all who do not share a set of extremist, far right-wing views. Olympia Snowe, one of only three Republican Senators from the northeast, wrote of this phenomenon in an op-ed in The New York Times while Jon Huntsman, the Republican governor of Utah, warned the Republicans that they are on the wrong path in an interview with ABC News.

Michigan Republicans have helped to prove that the moderate Republicans are right their concerns about the direction the GOP is moving in:

Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr.’s appearance at a Michigan county Republican Party event was scrapped this week after the county chairwoman said that hosting the moderate Utah governor would mean abandoning the party’s conservative principles.

Kent County Republican Party Chairwoman Joanne Voorhees abruptly canceled the party fundraiser scheduled for Saturday.

“The voters want and expect us to stand on principle and return to our roots. Unfortunately, by holding an event with Governor Huntsman, we would be doing the exact opposite,” Voorhees wrote in an e-mail quoted in The Grand Rapids Press .

Voorhees did not specify which issues she felt were contrary to the party’s principles and did not return messages left at the party headquarters and on her cell phone.

The ABC News report on their interview with Huntsman pointed out his heresy:

In November, Huntsman won re-election with 78 percent of the vote in Utah, one of the most solidly Republican states in the country and one of the most conservative, but he is an unconventional Republican, staking out moderate positions on environmental issues like climate change and favoring gay rights.

Denying the scientific consensus on global warming and opposing the rights of homosexuals have become major litmus tests for remaining in the Republican Party. Basically if you accept modern science or if you are not a homophobic bigot the GOP no longer has room for you in their tiny tent.

Two recent polls by The Washington Post and NBC News/The Wall Street Journal show identification as Republicans down to twenty-one percent and twenty-percent. Republican Senator John Cornyn noted the current state of the Republican Party when he spoke of how he believes the GOP will one day regain their status as a national party. It is not clear how they will become a national party by excluding everyone who does not share a narrow set of extremist views.


  1. 1
    nomoreGOP says:

    “It is not clear how they will become a national party by excluding everyone who does not share a narrow set of extremist views..”

    what they havent said yet, is that Texas IS going to secede and the Republican Party will then be “The National Party of Texas”

    Because honestly.. that is the ONLY way I see the current Republican Party ever re-gaining more than 20-25%  identification.. If anything it will dip even closer to the 10-15% range over the next 4 years…

    BUT.. all of that is based on the fact that Obama doesnt completely screw up something huge during his first term..  Only time will tell..

  2. 2
    Eclectic Radical says:

    “It is not clear how they will become a national party by excluding everyone who does not share a narrow set of extremist views.”

    The majority of those who advocate this particular brand of GOP ‘wisdom’ believe that all Americans are fundamentally conservative, that President Obama was elected because of a rejection of Bush’s ‘liberalism’ rather than out of any centrist or liberal tendencies in the American public-at-large, and that the evangelical movement will continue to absorb more liberal churches and grow ever larger. They believe that as the evangelical movement grows, the GOP will grow with it.

    There are some more pragmatic sorts who believe if they just tough it out until the economy gets better, then people will care more about gay marriage than three meals a day. There is some evidence for this… while people want help when times are bad, no one wants to help anyone else while times are good.

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