A new ph(r)ase in American politics

22 December 2011

Written by: Erdem Koc


God-fearing, gun touting, climate-change denying Southerners or those with a birthday prior to 1950.

Bush, Cheaney, oil dependency and Palin? Yes.

Obama, Clinton, gay marriage and Kennedy?  Not so much.

Or at least, that’s the stereotypical view held by most non-republicans.  That it’s a traditionalist group which follow the guidelines established as a result of an outdated ideology.

However, that view is slowly changing.

The current Republican campaign to select its nominee for the 2012 Presidential campaign is evidence of that.

Mitt Romney – one of the perennial frontrunners to win the nomination – could not be further removed from the traditional Republican ideal.

Romney represents the rise of the liberal Republican.

He is a man who – in his role as Governor of Massachusetts – represented himself as a pro-choice politician. Furthermore, he openly stated that the Bush administration was in desperate need of a timeline in regards to troop withdrawal from Iraq, while also once being a stout believer in man-made global warming (which now seems to be changing).

But perhaps his biggest Republican ‘no-no’, came when he supported President Obama’s ‘stimulus package’ in his book No Apology, even going as far as lamenting the inability of the Bush administration to put such a package in place.

Even with these almost opposite views to that of his party, Romney is still a real chance at winning the Republican nomination.

The trend continues with the campaign of fellow candidate Ron Paul, who leans even further away from tradition Republican ideals in his campaign and beliefs.

Yet, even with their support in the early stages of the Republican Grand Old Party, it is likely that both Romney and Paul will fall short in their quest to gain nomination, with Newt Gingrich, the likely winner of the Republican nomination.

Gingrich has become the representative of all the traditional Republican ideals.

A traditionalist in the truest sense of the word, Gingrich even used the fact that he was the oldest candidate as a selling point for his suitability.

For all the potential change created by Romney and Paul, Gingrich reaffirms the outdated stereotypes of the Republican Party.

However, the very fact that two candidates could get to the brink of favoritism within the Republican GOP with views so far removed from the mainstream shows that the party is on the brink of moving away from its archaic standpoint on many key issues.

One of the key phrases of the 20th century in American politics was the ‘Reagan democrats‘. The term was used to describe traditional Democratic voters who were swayed to vote Republican during the Reagan administration.

Given the support behind the almost Democratic-Republicans in the early stages of this campaign, come June next year a new phrases could be coined.

The Obama Republicans!

Liam Quinn is a first-year Bachelor of Journalism student at La Trobe University, who will be on exchange at Michigan State University in 2012.  He will cover the US presidential election for upstart.