The most recent RR poll indicates that despite the Dems’ numerous mistakes and Republican claims that “Republicans are back fighting”, only 31.6% of Americans call themselves Republicans (down from 32.6% last year). This is the worst result of the GOP since April 2008, when John McCain disenfranchised millions of Republicans. 36% of Americans describe themselves as Democrats. In 1989, as Ronald Reagan was leaving the WH, 40% of Americans called themselves Republicans.
These facts beg the question: Why, despite the numerous mistakes of the Dems, do only 31.6% of Americans call themselves Republicans?
The answer is simple. There are 2 reasons for why voters haven’t begun registering as Republicans en masse yet.
Firstly, the GOP, which betrayed conservative principles during the Bush era, is yet to prove that it has understood its mistakes and that it has re-committed itself to traditional conservative principles (which are professed by a majority of Americans, if RR polls are correct). Secondly, the GOP has not yet proven that it is a credible alternative party.
Regarding conservative principles: During the Bush era (and the Obama era), the GOP violated conservative principles numerous times, e.g. by voting for pork projects, pork-laden highway bills, farm subsidies, unneeded agencies, big government spy programs, and Obama’s defense cuts. American voters punished the GOP during the 2006 elections and the 2008 elections. They sent a signal to the GOP, but apparently, the GOP still hasn’t understood it. It doesn’t oppose all of the Dem”s policies, and it fights meekly those few Democratic policies which it opposes. For example, when Obama published his ridiculous Nuclear Posture Review (which contained a blueprint for the nuclear disarmament of the US and proclaimed that America will not retaliate with nuclear weapons against those NPT-complying states which attack her with chemical weapons or biological weapons), Republicans criticized it only for some details, not for its fundamentally flawed premises. They didn’t say that nuclear disarmament is a disastrous policy.
True, there are a few conservatives who do so and have credible conservative records (e.g. Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, Jon Kyl), but they are exceptions. They don’t speak for the entire GOP.
Regarding the second reason, the GOP has yet to prove to the majority of Americans that it is not the party of “no” as the Democrats claim (I don’t believe it is the party of “no”, but the GOP needs to convince most Americans that it isn’t one), and that it is a CREDIBLE alternative party.
Many Republican politicians, such as Mike Pence and Sarah Palin, proudly proclaim every week that the GOP IS the party of “no” and don’t shun that label. You can imagine how will independent voters respond.
Moreover, although the GOP has offered some alternative policies, these alternatives are only slightly different from the platform of the Democrats. The GOP and the Dem party argue only about details. The GOP has failed to offer radical, bold, conservative reforms that would contrast the Dem platform. For example, neither the GOP nor the Republican Study Committee have endorsed the Fair Tax – a radical, ambitious, conservative tax reform policy that would abolish the IRS (and all current federal taxes) and replace them with a simple, mild, uniform 23% retail sales tax that would be levied only at retail stores.
Nor has the GOP offered radical alternatives to Obama’s disarmament policy or the Dems’ Big Government policy. Neither the GOP as a whole nor the RSC propose to abolish even a single federal department or a single federal agency. They have failed to propose to repeal the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the McCain-Feingold Act, the 16th Amendment or the 17th Amendment. They have failed to promise to reduce the number and the privileges of the employees of the federal government.
That’s why most conservatives are disenfranchised. Until the GOP proves to them that it has re-committed itself to conservative principles and offers radical alternatives to Obama’s policies, it won’t win their hearts back.