Joshua Green of Bloomberg Businessweek thinks the GOP may regret its big Voting Rights Act win at the Supreme Court:
On its face, this looks like a big victory for Republicans. Is it really? I suspect it will turn out to be a poisoned chalice. Many of the GOP's current problems stem from the fact that it is overly beholden to its white, Southern base at a time when the country is rapidly becoming more racially diverse. In order to expand its base of power beyond the House of Representatives, the GOP needs to expand its appeal to minority voters. As the ongoing battle over immigration reform demonstrates, that process is going poorly and looks like it will be very difficult.As far as I'm concerned, the GOP has only one current problem: it can't seem to win the White House. Republicans have a lock on the House; Republicans can deny Democrats effective control of the Senate as long as they have 41 seats: and Republicans can apparently win a governor's race in nearly every state in the union, including blue states like Massachusetts (not that long ago) and New Jersey, while also having the ability to take over state legislatures in blue states like Pennsylvania and Michigan. "Current problems"? You could have fooled me.
The Supreme Court's decision to strike down a central provision of the Voting Rights Act will make it easier for Republicans to hold and expand their power in those mainly Southern states. That will, in turn, make it easier for them to hold the House. It will also intensify the Southern captivity of the GOP, thereby making it harder for Republicans to broaden their appeal and win back the White House.
The Republican Party as a whole is ambivalent about immigration reform, minority outreach, and base-broadening because there's plenty of evidence that non-Republican voters can be gulled into voting Republican no matter how extreme and Southern and antediluvian the party seems. That could even be true at the presidential level in 2016 if Hillary Clinton doesn't run -- have you seen a single poll showing any other Democrat beating a Republican contender? -- or if Hillary's star fades somewhat by then. And if Republicans overcome their current distaste and nominate faux-centrist dreamboat Chris Christie, all bets are off. Democrats and independents love the anti-abortion, climate-change-skeptical, union-bashing Koch lackey.
The disappointing performance of a Democratic president on economic inequality, jobs, mortgage relief, etc., also makes it difficult to paint Republicans as extreme. I say that even though I know that the economic plan of the next GOP president will be brutal and merciless to ordinary Americans -- voters don't know that, and you can't blame them for looking at the past five years and not being sure whether they got the better deal by electing Obama.
So don't be too concerned for the Republicans in the wake of this ruling -- they'll be just fine.