What would a plausible Republican party look like in the future? It would seem that the current course will lead them to oblivion, so I’m looking at key issues where they could evolve their positions on.
Social Issues - The more time goes on the less support they will get on this. Most young republicans lament this (from what I’ve read). They could go a few routes - A.) Just ignore social issues. B.) Work on policies that might REDUCE the social ills they worry about - on abortion specifically they could work hard to make sure there is maternity leave, publicly funded child care, fair pay for women, publicly funded parenting classes etc, these would help to reduce the number of women who choose to have abortions while the choice would still exist.
Immigration - Regardless of where they move I believe this is the most important issue that they need to change their position on. I would argue that a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants already here is necessary, and making it much easier to immigrate here legally as well. This helps in a number of ways - when immigrant labor becomes legal many of the abuses towards them (low wages, hazardous work conditions etc) will vanish or be reduced. Additionally most studies have shown that immigrants tend to boost economy opportunity for everyone.
Environment - It’s time to accept science. It’s time to do something about climate change. What could they plausibly do? Tax carbon emissions would be most in line with “Republican principals”, in fact taxing all dangerous emissions would be. This avoids strict restrictions, mandates, and bans that could hamper businesses but forces those businesses to account for the true social cost of production.
Welfare/Inequality - Whether conservatives like it or not, the welfare state is here to stay. What Republicans should be focused on is making sure we get the most bang for the buck out of it. I would start with replacing traditional welfare with an “Employer of Last Resort” program, where outside of the severely disabled workers who can’t find work elsewhere will be given jobs working for state and local nonprofits or on infrastructure projects. The jobs would be determined at a local level based upon need. They’d pay a living wage, and serve as a safetynet for when economic catastrophe hits. Additionally Republicans should focus on improving equality of opportunity. This means higher funding for universal preschool education which has been shown to pay the biggest dividends. More investment in community colleges for those who may not be best suited for four year degrees. And additionally some measures to control the cost of higher education (at public schools, leaving private schools to their own devices).
Public Debt/Govt Spending - Republicans need to learn what they seemed to learn under Bush but have since forgotten - balanced budgets aren’t actually a good thing (necessarily) and surpluses are even worse. Public debt isn’t the most important debt level it is private debt (the debt that caused the financial crisis was private not public) and work to control private debt better through better banking regulations. Understand that fiscal and monetary policy can only “crowd out” or cause inflation in situations where the economy is running at full steam, in which case, sure reduce spending.
I understand that this is all a pipe dream and would basically require Republicans to become Democrats, but I honestly don’t see a viable alternative.