Well, probably not.
As long as I’ve been paying attention to politics — so through roughly three Republican administrations and a number of GOP wave elections — experts have been portending the end of the GOP. If it’s not the party’s retrograde views then it’s the shrinking numbers of rural voters or increasing number of immigrants or Donald Trump is finally going to put it out of its misery.
Politics doesn’t work that neatly. Voters are unpredictable. Events are unpredictable. The opposition is unpredictable. In 2008, the Republican Party was tired and beaten. By 2010 it was reborn. A new Gallup poll, for example, finds that while a majority of Americans say they’d vote for black, Catholic, Hispanic, atheist, Muslim, Jewish, Christian, female, gay, or lesbian candidate, they would not vote for a socialist. Democrats might nominate one of those this year and change the trajectory of politics again. We don’t know.
I was reminded of this reality when I saw this tweet today:
Republican voter registration in NH is down roughly 20k voters from 2016 to now. It’s a reminder that Trump’s increased GOP popularity is in part because in some places, the GOP registration rolls have shrunk. https://t.co/nkexApHCzy
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) February 11, 2020
No doubt, GOP registration rolls have shrunk in some places. As I noted recently, though, when the Morning Consult poll tabulated a list of the most popular governors, the top 14 — and 18 of the top 20 — were Republicans. Those Republicans govern in states that have highly diverse electorates and govern with diverse agendas. All of them have done it during the Trump years. It’s pretty clear people can compartmentalize their votes. It’s unclear that the GOP is on its last legs.
As Gallup notes, the partisan leanings of Americans hasn’t really budged since the 2016 election. Gallup found that 28 percent of Americans identified as Democrat, 28 percent identified as Republican, and 41 percent as independent. When Gallup took the leanings of all voters into consideration, it found that Democrats’ percentages had remained the same for the past four years, and Republican numbers had only fluctuated between 41 percent or 42 percent since 2012. The GOP percentage has remained between 42 percent and 44 percent since 1991, actually. Most polls show similar results.
People waiting around for the GOP to die are probably going to be waiting a long time.
(H/t to Varad Mehta)