I respectfully disagree with your dissection of the GOP, it is biased and doesn't accurately represent the Republican Party's demographic. I will say that because of Obama and the Democrats shift to the left, there have been more Republicans who have moved to the far right, or the radical/religious right. But just because members of the Republican Party adamantly disagree with Obama and his policies doesn't mean they are enacting laws to bring back Jim Crow in or outside of the party. There are Black, Hispanic and women who are representatives and part of the GOP because its ideals best represent their values and the values of their constituents. To say they are actively seeking a return to the prejudice of the pre-Civil Rights Era is not only a slap in the face but is doing that which you have accused Fox News of doing.
Voting rights are under attack in this country as state legislatures nationwide pass voter suppression laws under the pretext of preventing voter fraud and safeguarding election integrity. These voter suppression laws take many forms, and collectively lead to significant burdens for eligible voters trying to exercise their most fundamental constitutional right.
During the 2011 legislative sessions, states across the country passed measures to make it harder for Americans – particularly African-Americans, the elderly, students and people with disabilities – to exercise their fundamental right to cast a ballot. Over thirty states considered laws that would require voters to present government-issued photo ID in order to vote. Studies suggest that up to 11 percent of American citizens lack such ID, and would be required to navigate the administrative burdens to obtain it or forego the right to vote entirely.
Three additional states passed laws to require documentary proof of citizenship in order to register to vote, though as many as 7 percent of American citizens do not have such proof. Seven states shortened early voting time frames, even though over 30 percent of all votes cast in the 2008 general election were cast before Election Day. Two state legislatures voted to repeal Election Day registration laws, though Election Day registration increases voter turnout by 10-12 percent. Finally, two states passed legislation making it much more difficult for third-party organizations to register voters – so difficult, in fact, that some voter registration organizations are leaving the states altogether.
Despite this frenzy of state legislation to counteract so-called voter fraud and to protect the integrity of our elections, proponents of such voter suppression legislation have failed to show that voter fraud is a problem anywhere in the country. Aside from the occasional unproven anecdote or baseless allegation, supporters of these laws simply cannot show that there is any need for them. Indeed, despite the Department of Justice’s 2002 “Ballot Access and Voting Integrity Initiative” promising to vigorously prosecute allegations of voter fraud, the federal government obtained only 26 convictions or guilty pleas for fraud between 2002 and 2005. And other studies of voter fraud consistently find that it is exceedingly rare – a 2007 Demos study concluded that “voter fraud appears to be very rare” and a 2007 study by the Brennan Center found that “by any measure, voter fraud is extraordinarily rare.” The Voting Rights Project will continue to fight these laws that disenfranchise millions of eligible voters without any legitimate justification.
In recent years, all over the country in Republican held states, there's been a movement to pass laws to make it more difficult for people to vote, particularly by poor people, who are more likely to be people of color. The votes that the Republicans are trying to suppress would overwhelmingly be for Democrats. You may choose not to see these recent laws to disenfranchise minorities as Jim Crow laws, but that's exactly how I see them.
Also, I'm not sure what you mean by "the Democrats shift to the left". Are you talking about healthcare reform? Every president since Nixon has tried to pass universal health care in this country, like what every other first world country has. Are you talking about gay rights? The movement for gay rights started alongside the civil rights movement in the 60's. It's taken us 50 years to get to where we're at today, including loud and disruptive demonstrations by gay rights activists heckling Obama because he wasn't moving forward fast enough on his campaign promises to end "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and other bigoted stances the US government still had when he took office. Again, the US had fallen behind most other first world countries on gay rights. Other than those two issues, I cannot think of anything that Obama's done that's particularly liberal. Even for a Democrat, Obama's been surprisingly centrist, and disappointingly so to a lot of people. He hasn't closed Gitmo. He's extended the Patriot Act instead of repealed it. He's expanded Federal law enforcement powers, and weakened the right to privacy. He's expanded warrant-less searches. These are not
the acts of a liberal.
You have to understand that the US only has two major political parties. We've got the ultra conservative Republicans, and the Centrist Democratics. We don't have a major liberal party, or major liberal news source in this country. Where's the communist newspapers? When's the last time the communists pushed through an important piece of legislation or won the governorship of one of the states? Where's the socialists? Where's the talking heads pushing for labor to organize, and rise up against their oppressors? No, we don't have a liberal party in this country. The Democrats are liberal only when seen in contrast to the Republicans.
Like it or not the GOP's agenda has always drastically differed from that of Democrats but in the past twenty years there's been a disturbing swing towards the fundamentalist conservatives. I think the GOP would benefit from a moderate conservative majority rather than fundamentalist conservatives who look through blinders or have tunnel vision that is defined by a few key issues which they think if lost will lead to the 'complete destruction of American society'. (Gay marriage, stem cell research, the right to choose. etc.) On the reverse there are liberals who have become so polarized they believe that if these issues aren't immediately met to their satisfaction that the GOP is bringing back fascism and civil liberties are as dead as Jim Morrison.
I doubt the GOP will die out, as much as liberals hate to admit it there will always be conservative minded people who disagree with them. And as long as the Democrats continue to move farther left, Republicans will move farther right. Politics is like a pendulum. The farther it swings one way, the farther it is going to swing the other way too. If anything, I bet the Democratic Party implodes long before the GOP does. The Democrats can never seem to agree exactly what they stand for and always seem to be divided over which issues are the most important.
The Democrats haven't moved further left. They only appear to have because the Republicans have become so radicalized.
You need to understand what's meant by the terms "Progressive" and "Conservative". Progressives want to see a positive change in the country. Ideas may come and go as to what progress is, but they always are pushing an agenda of change. In the 1800's, this change was for an end to slavery, the right for women to vote, and some other stuff. Over time, they won those issues, and they continued with other issues such as labor rights, the end of segregation, better conditions for prisoners and so forth. Later it became environmentalism, equality for women, civil rights, and so forth. See, always moving, always a new issue. Conservatives on the other hand, mostly want things to stay the same. They mostly resist social change, or they want very slow social change. But here's where I can show that the Conservatives have become more conservative in this country. Instead of wanting to keep things the way they are today, the conservative movement wants to roll back all the progress we've made in the last sixty years, and for the most part, return to the 1950's. They want fundamentalist values to be the law of the land: no abortion, no divorce, women at home, non-equal rights for women, no open homosexuality or gay rights, suppression of non-Christian religions, and so forth. It's a more extreme view because they don't just want to stop progress, but actually roll back the progress that we've made since WWII.
The GOP has a choice to make in the near future, which is to either evolve or die. Yes, you're right that there have always been people who are conservative, and there always will be. But the demographics in this country are changing. The old guard are dying off. New generations are coming of age and voting. The current GOP platform only appeals to old rich white people, conservative Christians, and people who think if they work hard enough that they can join the wealthy. Their platform doesn't reach out to women or minorities at all. Since minorities are becoming a larger portion of the population and voting more, if the GOP doesn't appeal to them, they're going to overwhelmingly vote for the Democrats. Some women in this country are so anti-abortion that they'll keep voting Republican no matter how many Republicans publicly espouse misogyny, but most won't stand for it, nor should they. If the GOP doesn't move with the times, they'll see their influence petering away until they become as relevant to politics as the American Communist Party. If that happens, the Democrats may swing more conservative and an actual liberal party might take the place of the Democrats, or more likely, a new Conservative party take the place of the GOP. Maybe they'll call themselves the Bull Moose party, or the Bulldog Lipstick party or something.