Danny Taggart's Blogarama

A more-or-less daily dose of news, politics, techmology, and any random thoughts that pass through my head.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Is the Republican coalition in danger?

I'm not sure why, but the Terri Schiavo mess seems to have exposed a libertarian/social-conservative rift unlike any other issue in the past, despite the fact that this 1. was primarily not a political issue, 2. sets no significant precedent and 3. has no effect on the vast majority of Americans. (I know people will disagree with each of those three points, depending on how they view the issue, but come on, who are we kidding?) Nevertheless, the sheer obsessiveness of a certain faction of the Republican coalition has caused some embarrassment to more level-headed libertarians. So, this has become an excuse for a libertarian bitch-fest for past abuses by the Republicans (the litanies are quite extensive).

Ryan Sager thinks that the traditional Republican coalition is in danger, to be replaced by Big Government Conservatism. He bases his assessment on the electoral strategy of attracting socially conservative voters who are not traditional Republicans (blacks, Hispanics), and shedding the libertarian minority. If true, this is very disheartening, since it's very unlikely the Democrats would put out a credible welcome mat for libertarians.

So, what do libertarians do? Well, I'm not quite as pessimistic as Ryan. The last election was not razor-thin, but it was not a landslide either. If libertarians stayed home (or worse, voted Democrat) in 2006 or 2008, the Democrats would probably pick up some wins, possibly the White House. Should libertarians root for Democrats? No. But it would seem the only way to get the attention of the current Republican leadership is to prove that the coalition being built is not stable. Suffering some losses may bring the Republicans back to their small-government roots. It would also result in divided government, which is historically a good restraint of government growth.