The price of victory

Do the Republicans want to pay it? I’m not sure.

Marc Ambinder asks how the Republicans could change to start winning elections, in a world in which they’re losing among white voters born since 1975.

Reasonable question. It may even have an answer, or more than one. That is, there may be one or more position bundles that could attract a majority against the position bundle the Democrats offer.

What Ambinder doesn’t ask is who within the Republican coalition, other than office-seekers and lobbyists, wants to win elections on the only terms available. God-guns-gays, tax cuts, keeping black folks down, keeping immigrants out, burning as much oil as possible: it’s not clear to me that the parts of the base for whom each of those issues is important would have any use for a party that no longer stood for it.

Unless, of course, Obama and the new Congress manage to really screw things up.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: