Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Coming Republican Party Split

It is highly unlikely Gov. Haley Barbour will have any Republican primary opposition in the governor's race. The Lt. Governor's Republican primary will be more over style than socioeconomic issues that would normally split the GOP. But like the Florida GOP Presidential primary between Ford and Reagan in 1976, a barn burning split will occur. It's part of the growing pains of an upcoming political party (By the way, I was in Florida at that time. I worked for Reagan and it was a VERY bitter primary. I may write on that some other time.).

There are two factions in the GOP: The middle and working class Christian Right versus the country club economic elite. I would identify with the first group. A precursor was the bitter convention the Rankin County Republican Executive Committee had in 1992 when the Fordice economic elite defeated the incumbent Christian Right group. To this very day, there are scars from that fight.

The two groups despise each other. The country clubbers don't give a rat's tush about social issues. The abortion issue doesn't even matter to them. Homosexual marriage to them is a yawner. Their main interest is economic--lower taxes and less government regulation.

On the other hand, the Christian Right (CR) is not that concerned about economic issues. That group would be in favor of raising the minimum wage, increased taxes on the rich and more economic populism. However, the CR is interested in the social issues, such as restricting abortion.

The CR has cold contempt for the country clubbers (CC). They think the CCs don't care about the moral state of the nation and are just money grubbers. The CCs think the CR consists of nothing but a bunch of unwashed yahoos.

In due time, those two groups will clash. A precursor was the Ford-Reagan 1976 clash in this state. Of course, the GOP was very weak. At that time, they had never won a statewide race (other than President). But this is thirty years later. And the GOP is now a powerhouse and except for the State House, is now a majority party.

What candidates will represent the two factions? Right now, it is too early to tell. It'll be interesting to see if the Lt. Governor's race will bring out the latent hostility of those two factions. If not, we'll have to wait and see.

But mark my words: There will be a very bitter Republican primary on the level of the Ford-Reagan clash. It is only a matter of time.

Count on it.


Cliff Brown said...

You may be right about the comming split in the GOP, but is that really a bad thing? We have spent too much time trying to keep both cats and dogs under the same big tent. Perhaps a split then reforming of a true conservative party would be good.

I see a split just like you, but I see the fracture line in a diferent place. A lot of the country club group does not believe in lower taxes and government regulations. They tend to believe more in pading their own nest. Very often that does include lower taxes for some but never for all. As for the morality issues I agree that the country club group does not care a rat's tush about homo marriage or even killing babies, but in Mississippi they must pretent to care. We can count on them during procedure votes but they really do not want the vote getting issues to be solved.

The Christian right group Is tightly focused on moral isues. Some have even become single issue. That does not mean that they do not care about the ecconomy, but it means that it is not a priority. You are right that there are some among them that might consider a higher min wage a good thing.

There is also a third group. We are devout Christians who care about social issues but do not ignore all other issues. We see things like welfare for the lazy as a moral issue. I do not know what to call the third group because moderate does not fit. I like "total conservatives". I believe there might be a three way split. The single issue pro-life group will follow who ever says the right words about that one issue. The self protectionist will follow who ever seems best connected. Over time (and that time might be as short as the next primary run off) some of the Christians will get tired of wondering in the wilderness and return to the fold. They would rather elect some one who has abortion on the list among the other things, than elect some one who calls them unwashed yahoos. The contry club group will find them selves homeless. Some will see some meret in returning to the total conservative fold and some will find homes in the Democrat party.

B.C. Barnes said...

how would you say Ross and Bryant fit into the CC and CR categories?