Sharon McCauley has a piece in the paper today recalling her and her family’s conversion from McGovern Democrats to Re- agan Republicans.  In what I suspect is wishful thinking, she lays out a familiar scenario among current Republicans: 2012 is like 1980, with a failed incumbent facing toppled by a Republican challenger who is viewed skeptically by independents, but who turns the tide with a bravura debate performance and a squeaker turns into an anti-incumbent rout.


We’ll see. I’ve said all along I see more 2004 than 1980 in the current campaign.


But if there’s a lesson in 1980 and the Reagan Democrats, it may cut the other way. Consider that these last few years it’s been the Republican Party that has moved out of the mainstream. Just four years ago, McCain’s platform included universal health care and a cap-and-trade system to combat global warming.  Look at the mainstream Republicans like Dick Lugar and Olympia Snowe who know longer are welcomed in their party.


Reagan said “I didn’t leave the Democrats, the Democrats left me.” Consider some Republicans who might feel the same way about today’s GOP:


- Republican women who support reproductive rights. Republicans like Mitt Romney’s mom were proud to support Planned Parenthood. The party has left them behind to embrace the likes of Todd Akin.


- Conservative union sympathizers turned off by teacher-bashing, Scott Walker-type union-breaking and a vulture capitalist nominee.


- Hispanic women who remember that Reagan worked with Ted Kennedy on comprehensive immigration reform, signing a law that created a path to citizenship for millions of illegal immigrants. That Republican Party is gone.


- Internationalist Republicans who have traditionally felt politics stopped at the water’s edge, and who aren’t thrilled with the sniping at the president over things like assaults on our diplomats.


- Economic moderates who have always traditionally supported government support for business in the form of infrastructure investment, research grants and effective monetary policy who worry their Republican Party has been taken over by Ayn Randian extremists.


I’m not predicting a rout, and I expect Republicans currently in power will see an Obama win as simply Mitt Romney’s personal failure.  But there are signs some centrists are deciding the Republican Party has left them. If this turns into a wave election and not a standoff election, it will be as a repudiation of the Tea Partiers.


 


Sharon McCauley has a piece in the paper today recalling her and her family’s conversion from McGovern Democrats to Re- agan Republicans.  In what I suspect is wishful thinking, she lays out a familiar scenario among current Republicans: 2012 is like 1980, with a failed incumbent facing toppled by a Republican challenger who is viewed skeptically by independents, but who turns the tide with a bravura debate performance and a squeaker turns into an anti-incumbent rout.


We’ll see. I’ve said all along I see more 2004 than 1980 in the current campaign.


But if there’s a lesson in 1980 and the Reagan Democrats, it may cut the other way. Consider that these last few years it’s been the Republican Party that has moved out of the mainstream. Just four years ago, McCain’s platform included universal health care and a cap-and-trade system to combat global warming.  Look at the mainstream Republicans like Dick Lugar and Olympia Snowe who know longer are welcomed in their party.


Reagan said “I didn’t leave the Democrats, the Democrats left me.” Consider some Republicans who might feel the same way about today’s GOP:


- Republican women who support reproductive rights. Republicans like Mitt Romney’s mom were proud to support Planned Parenthood. The party has left them behind to embrace the likes of Todd Akin.


- Conservative union sympathizers turned off by teacher-bashing, Scott Walker-type union-breaking and a vulture capitalist nominee.


- Hispanic women who remember that Reagan worked with Ted Kennedy on comprehensive immigration reform, signing a law that created a path to citizenship for millions of illegal immigrants. That Republican Party is gone.


- Internationalist Republicans who have traditionally felt politics stopped at the water’s edge, and who aren’t thrilled with the sniping at the president over things like assaults on our diplomats.


- Economic moderates who have always traditionally supported government support for business in the form of infrastructure investment, research grants and effective monetary policy who worry their Republican Party has been taken over by Ayn Randian extremists.


I’m not predicting a rout, and I expect Republicans currently in power will see an Obama win as simply Mitt Romney’s personal failure.  But there are signs some centrists are deciding the Republican Party has left them. If this turns into a wave election and not a standoff election, it will be as a repudiation of the Tea Partiers.