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9. Ditch the evengelicals.

Oh david, how clever! I was not holding my breath for the first "expert" on US politics on this blog to suggest something similar.

America is not the UK, it is a much more socially conservative country.

The evangelicals and social conservatism more broadly is not why the GOP got shellacked in 2006 and are not doing so well this year.

There is not a single political commentator, student, expert, analyst on the left, right, or middle etc who believes that the GOP is currently so unpopular because of the supposed "Christian Right".

The GOP is unpopular for a few basic reasons:

1) Bush is very unpopular
2) Its ineffectual leadership in the House of Representatives from 2001-2006. You can't claim to be the ethical small government party when you have a zillion of your house members being brought up on some type of charge etc all the while massively increasing the size and scope of the federal government.

I actually think McCain is going to win- which is actually a bad thing for the GOP.

The very best thing for the GOP would be for Obama to narrowly get in and allow bright governors such as Palin in Alaska and Jindal in Louisiana assume the leadership of the party.


My (9) would be luck.

Cameron took the Tories to the brink of destruction before Andy Coulson arrived and forced the party to talk about tax and crime. If Brown hadn't been such a ditherer Mr Barnes would have been writing a very different piece.

Why would an economist in the tradition of the Chicago School support a party that financed tax cuts by expanding the deficit, that increased, by very large amounts, the budgets of various government departments (that they previously had pledged to abolish) and doubled the national debt. This isn't a matter of Chicago economists not being "cultivated" by the GOP, it's a result of Chicago ideas being repeatedly trashed over the last eight years.

Good for Tim and Sam for arranging the visit.

What I don't understand is the notion that the Conservatives have some natural affinity with the Republicans. Whilst McCain is a departure from Bush, the Republican party is much more socially conservative and economically illiterate than British Conservatives.

I would have thought that we would be aligned to the Centre Right Democrats, who are actually supported by economists. For instance, would we really support Reagan's removal of anti-trust legislation? Don't we support the the Competition Commission?

Apart from the vague notion of a smaller state, I don't think that there is much else that the Conservatives have in common with the Republicans.

"Cameron took the Tories to the brink of destruction before Andy Coulson"

Utter rubbish. The dispute over Grammar Schools was overplayed on here but of little importance elsewhere. We had excellent council election results in 2006 and 2007 before our big boost in the polls more recently.

The entire time Cameron has been leader we've been much stronger than we have been in the past 15 years.

"For instance, would we really support Reagan's removal of anti-trust legislation?"

Don't see why not, anti-trust legislation is an attack on the free market. Businesses should not be punished for being successful. If they begin to abuse their power they will find themselves up against competitors. Furthermore antitrust legislation can be used by business B to stop the advance of business A simply because business B can't compete fairly.

Tim, who is the governor of Florida who succeeded Bush? Isn't he tipped as a future GOP president? And whatever happened to Rick Lazio who fought NY? I had high hopes of him.

Sadly, I think Obama will win (hope I'm wrong). I think McCain will be portrayed as Bob Dole's father.

Sam S, the problem is that there are very few centre-right Democrats left. The Democrativ Party of Barack Obama is not the same as the party under Bill Clinton.
Obama won the democratic primary (to some extent) by going on and on about how free-trade is ruining the life of the American middle class.
It is utter rubbish of course (and I think Barack Obama knows that as well), but he didn't have the guts to stand up to the protectionists and eco-feudalists of his own party.

He obviously knows his subject far far better than I do but given that most polls are quite close at the moment Gerson does not seem confident at all of victory. Why I wonder?

"Cameron took the Tories to the brink of destruction before Andy Coulson arrived and forced the party to talk about tax and crime."
Posted by:Alan S | July 27, 2008 at 10:41

Presume Alan S is a Labour troll. Alan if you really want to stir it up please bear some relationship, however vague, to reallity. Pure farce.

Michael Rutherford:

Cameron has prospered because of weak leaders. The council election results you quote were during Blair's unpopular period. I'm not saying Cameron hasn't done some good things but Brown's unpopularity has been the decisive factor.

OPPOSITIONS DON'T WIN ELECTIONS, GOVERNMENTS LOSE THEM.

"9. Ditch the evengelicals."

Quite agree! Also ditch the strongly pro-life agenda and the perceived "Motherhood and Apple Pie" image of women!


Sally, Evangelicals are close to 35% of likely voters. You might just as well say to a British Conservative "ditch the middle classes".

Quite right Sean Fear. The Evangelicals are an inportant part of the Republican coalition. The problem arise when one part of the coalition becomes to powerfull, which is what have happened in the GOP today.
The Republican party should care about the pro-life agenda, since that is an important issue for at least a 1/3 of the electorate.
However, they should not be shackled to Pat Robertson and the 700 Club.

Sally, you can be pro-Life without being an Evangelical Christian - you should know this!

We had excellent council election results in 2006 and 2007 before our big boost in the polls more recently.

The entire time Cameron has been leader we've been much stronger than we have been in the past 15 years.

Gosh, I thought we'd disposed of this ages ago.

The good council results in 2006 and 2007 were demonstrably nothing to do with Cameron and if anything happened despite rather than because of him. The share of the vote both times was 40%, noticeably higher than the national ratings before and afterwards. This share did not rise between years, indicating that at best the year of work put in by Cameron had not improved them, but consistent with the idea that they were due to years of hard work on the ground by local activists.

Let's be blunt: the reason that the Tories are riding high now is purely due to Labour meltdown, and any Cameroonies who believe otherwise are kidding themselves.

Of course, Justin - Muslims are also pro-life for example. Perhaps, in response to others who have correctly pointed out that evangelicals form about 35% of their electorate, I would say that I have made the slight mistake of suggesting what Republicans could do to appeal more to someone like ME! Of course it is not to a 51 year old British Jewish female who would describe herself as both feminine AND feminist that Senator McCain and his Party will be looking but to their large strongly Christian and stay-at-home wife population back home!


Sally, I think the thing is that our electorates are so different. British people are mostly indifferent to religion, whereas it matters very much to Americans. Not all Evangelicals are Republican, by any means, but Evangelicals are a huge proportion of the American electorate.

And maybe you guys should wait till you have actually won something apart from the London mayoralty and the odd by-election before starting to tell other countries how to run their affairs.

We are not trying to tell the Americans how to run their country. We are however trying to figure out what the GOP can do to improve their electoral chances. I also think we justified in doing so.

The GOP have recently lost safe seats in traditional Republican districts, and the Republican president's approval rating is currently 28%, lower than Nixon's approval rating actually.
And even if McCain can somehow pull of a victory, the GOP is set to be slaughtered in the Congressional-elections.
Today, the GOP is basically where we were in 1996.

I'd agree with some of the conclusions, but number 4 seems off base (to have missed the wicket?). Yes, the BBC was wooed. But the New York Times has a fraction of the influence in the US that the BBC does here (thanks, Pinch!). Outside of the media, there aren't the institutions that give the elite power in the UK, such as they have. No US high school, for example, has produced 19 presidents (as Eton has). Moreover, because states are both breeding grounds for national politicians and sources of power in their own right, there isn't historically (the last 20 years have been an anomaly) any uni that dominates US politics. Prior to Bush the Elder, presidents have come from (working backwards) Eureka College, the Naval Academy, University of Michigan, Wittier College, and LBJ went to a Texas teacher's college, if memory serves. I believe that's as many heads of government with pedestrian educations as the UK has had, ever.

I would reverse the question for the Tories: How do we get by without a FOX News; someone almost as biased for us as the BBC is against us? Queue aristocratic accent: I highly recommend them to those that have the means.


I do not see that Republicans have a great deal in common with modern Conservatives. They are very right-wing in comparison.

I am a life-long conservative but find Obama's policies much more appealing than those of McCain. Individuals may suffer poverty but as a nation we don't have to accept it as a norm for millions. The entrenchment of inter-generational welfare is an abomination and hides much of the nation's wealth under a cloak of tax money. Those people need to be rescued, redeemed. As Donald Tusk says, Poland's wealth is its people.

Obama brings hope. McCain offers more of the same. You may compare that with Cameron and Brown.

" do not see that Republicans have a great deal in common with modern Conservatives. They are very right-wing in comparison"

I agree, Victor and I think that was what I was (very clumsily) trying to say!

I too find Obama far more appealing than McCain.

Today, the GOP is basically where we were in 1996"

Surprisingly, perhaps, they're not. McCain actually has a fair chance of winning, and is highly likely to come close, if he loses, whereas we had no chance in 1996.

The obvious lesson for Republicans is to govern competently and honestly. Incompetence and dishonesty have alienated the US electorate.

For all of that, Sean Fear, it might be a good idea to win that election first and win with a reasonable majority before you start pontificating to politicians in other countries. Otherwise, you know, the Tories might be accused of arrogance. And we wouldn't want that, would we now. Not two years before an election.

Sean Fear.

But then again. McCain might win, because he has distanced himself from the Republican Party. His famous reputation as a maverick, etc. An ordinary Reagan-Republican wouldn't have stood a chance.

And even if he can pull of a victory, it will not mend the contradictions that are tearing the conservative coalition appart at the moment.

Historically Obama has the advantage of their being a President for the last eight years for the other party as well as California being in the Democratic camp. The plus side is the majority of tHe South And West is in The McCain camp and it know seems the contest is done to six states Ohio, Colorado, New Mexico, Missouri, Indiania and Virginia. The problem for McCain is that Obama only needs to win one McCain needs all of them?

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