Republicans must reflect a changing US society

By James Wang 王景弘  / 

Sat, Nov 17, 2012 - Page 8

The US presidential election is over. Following a hard fought election campaign, President Barack Obama was re-elected. Inside the Republican Party, which is also known as the Grand Old Party, people are now calling for a period of reflection as they say that their party is too white, too old and too male.

Outside observers may be happy to add another epithet to that description: too fat.

Too white: More than half of those who voted for Republican candidate Mitt Romney were white. Black Americans, Hispanic Americans and Asian-Americans all voted overwhelmingly for Obama.

Too old: Younger voter groups leaned toward Obama, while older voters leaned toward Romney.

Too male: Romney won the male vote and lost the female vote.

Too fat: Romney won among the wealthy “fat cats” and lost among lower-income voters.

As the number of non-white immigrants to the US increases, so is their influence. This is causing some conservative, white, political commentators to complain that white people are gradually becoming a minority in the US.

White people still remain the largest group, but the delicate changes to population structure and to ideological awareness have already punched a hole in the traditional view that the president must be a white person, and that a president running for re-election in times of economic hardship will lose.

As a result of the conservatism of the Republican Party, some Republicans are calling for small government, tax reductions, a shrinking of the social welfare system and protection of traditional values, as well as opposing homosexual rights, abortions and immigration.

The party’s extreme right is made up of the Tea Party, which was so successful two years ago when it made a splash as a representative of angry white men. However, this year the Tea Party has lost its luster.

The liberals within the Democratic Party are leaning toward socialism, big government and tax increases for the wealthy as a way of dealing with the budget crisis. This is an ideology that is more in line with the hopes of many modern voters who ask the government to care for them and to solve any economic problems.

Young voters and housewives are more likely to identify with the Democrats’ tolerance on social and moral issues, and to oppose right-wing religious views. Hispanic Americans are even more focused on a single issue: opposition to the Republicans’ anti-immigration policies.

Obama is not afraid of calling for higher taxes on the wealthy, and while this has earned him the intense dislike of Wall Street, it has gained him the support of the US public.

The structure of the Taiwanese electorate is similar to that of the US, but it yields the opposite results. Hoklo voters, the largest group, are divided, but Hakka voters and recent immigrants are strongly in favor of the too fat, too arrogant and too corrupt Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT).

They have elected those who are not supportive of Taiwan: a heartless and inept government that only cares for the rich and ignores the disadvantaged.

James Wang is a media commentator.

Translated by Perry Svensson