It seems congressional Republicans may have, once again, been talked off the ledge, and convinced to crawl back in the window on immigration reform. For now, at least, they are off suicide watch. But it seems every year or two the American people need to intervene, grab them by the ear, and drag them kicking and screaming away from the window again. It may be, however, that they're not suicidal after all. Rather, consciously or not, the GOP leadership may have come to realize they're already dead.
The most popular explanation for Republicans' recent support for amnesty has been pressure from big donors in the business community, including the Chamber of Commerce, who are salivating over the prospect of a flood of cheap legal labor. While this explanation is true in large part, a dreadful outlook for the party may also be to blame.
The chances of meaningful Republican control at the federal level for the foreseeable future are dismal, at least as the term "Republican" has been traditionally understood. This is not new; Republican irrelevancy has been growing for a long time. ObamaCare's epic failure to launch may offer the Republicans a boost in 2014, but over the long term the dependency created by the healthcare program will only worsen Republican prospects.
Aside from the two terms of President George W. Bush, the White House has been Democrat-controlled real estate for over 20 years. And those two Bush terms very nearly didn't happen.
Statistical analysis of Florida ballots after the 2000 election shows Bush most likely did win that pivotal state by less than 500 votes. With over six million votes cast, that is a margin of victory of less than 0.0083%. According to official tallies, Bush lost the popular vote nationwide. With Gore winning more overall votes, can it really be said that Republican or conservative ideas were victorious?
The power of incumbency and success in the war on terror after September 11th gave Bush re-election in 2004, but if he hadn't eaked out victory in Florida in 2000, or if the popular vote had held in the electoral college, Al Gore would have had the benefit of incumbency that year. A decent argument could be made the Democrats would have held on to the White House in 2004.