Dorian Warren on Melissa Harris-Perry: Are the Republicans a Viable Party?

Feb 22, 2012Elena Callahan

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Dorian Warren appeared on Melissa Harris-Perry's new MSNBC series this past Saturday to discuss whether or not the Republican Party is still a credible political force. Can we have a healthy GOP given the success of the Tea Party in 2010 and the drifting of Republicans to the far right? Dorian answers that while the Democrats have positioned themselves as supporters of diversity and a strong safety net, “Republicans have for a century not cared about the core issues of inequality in this country.”


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Dorian notes that throughout the 20th century, "under Democratic administrations, inequality went down, and under Republican administrations inequality increased, including when you look at specific policy." Dorian argues that when it comes to understanding the GOP's dilemma, “there are two things that are important here. The first is that the Republican Party is deeply divided" and the second is that "the Republican strategy is basically to be a white party and a white southern party. The time is ticking on that demographic in this country." Basically, if the party increasingly consists of extremists that are mostly male, old, and white, it's going to be hard to represent America's diverse population and build a broad coalition of voters.

For example, on the issue of contraception, Dorian points out that “the vast majority of women disagree with the Republican Party’s position on reproductive rights and reproductive justice -- 3 out of 4 women disagree with the Republican Party" and that "the Republican strategy decided to go all in for 2012 on getting as many old and white male voters as they can," which could help them in the short term but hurt in the long run. He says he's "not sure what the strategy is medium and long term to actually be a viable party -- a competitive party.” If the Republicans continue to defy the will of the public, their chances of success will continue to diminish.

For more from Dorian, check out his recent article on Salon.com, "America’s last hope: A strong labor movement," as part of the Roosevelt Institute's 99 Percent Plan.

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