Whats Next for the Republican Party?

By Lance Thibert

Regardless of how the presidential race ends up, the Republican party will come out of 2008 damaged to the core and internally divided. Even if McCain wins his squeaker by rolling snakes eyes in Pennsylvania, the damage the friction in the Republican party is already done. It was starkly evident in the primaries, with Rudy and McCain as the moderates, and Romney and Huckabee as the conservatives. The conservative wing of the party lost out, and has been pouting ever since, driving down enthusiasm for McCain and depression his turnout. Some think they got what they wanted in Sarah Palin, but she drives away more than she brings in. The recent reports of Palin “going rouge” and acting like a “diva” are driven by sources from within McCain’s own campaign.

Fighting over the RNC chairmanship has already begun, with Mitt Romney looking to pull a Howard Dean and seize the chair for himself. (don’t you just love politics?)

And that’s not the worst of it. Congressional Republicans are in a world of hurt, being hit in their strongholds by democratic challengers. Both Moderate and Conservative GOP senators are being hit hard. The GOP will lose many of it’s moderate incumbents, like Sunnunu in New Hampshire. The GOP recruits this cycle have been weak, often far too conservative in a Democratic year. Case in point, the Colorado senate race. Super-conservative Bob Schaffer will lose to Mark Udall, and Schaffer’s rival for the GOP nomination, McInnis, now says he would have won if they had given him the nod.

“Frankly I have more difficulties with the right wing of my party then I do with taking on a Democrat. Udall was not the biggest threat I faced in the election. My biggest threat was getting through the primary. Both parties have a pretty radical element to them.” -McInnis

The Question is who will control the Republican party? Will the right wing simply seize control of the party mechanics? It’s possible, but their recruits will probably continue to be weak. The two GOP favorites for a run for Colorado governorship in 2010 are Bob Beauprez (again) or, get this, Tom Tancredo. With Beauprez’s dismal result and Tancredo’s utter wingnut status, neither have a real shot. The point is, if the Republicans turn to the right, they will probably get Goldwatered again and again. If the Republicans turn to the center, they will suffer a drop in enthusiasm, fundraising, ground troops, and turnout. However, such a move might bring back states like Colorado, Virginia, New Hampshire and Iowa. The Blue Dog Democrat tactic of fitting the candidate to his/her district is working, even if that candidate is pro-gun, pro-life, and pro-war. In essence, the Democrats have expanded the tent of their party, while the Republicans have been busy purging all those who aren’t pure conservatives (“liberal” is never used more often as an insult than in republican primaries).

Who  will take over the Republican party after 2008? Only time will tell, but one thing Republicans can look forward to is the probability of infighting within the Democratic party. If Obama can keep things together, and run a unified government (I’m not sure anyone in American politics is capable of this anymore) then things look bleak for the GOP, However, that isn’t likely.

Also, just for the sheer irony of it:



Filed under Colorado, McCain, Republican

4 responses to “Whats Next for the Republican Party?

  1. sfokc6125

    Has anyone looked into the LA tape as a matter for Homeland Security ? Seeing Obamais running for the top of the chain of command it only reasons that you look into any associations with known terrorists. We cant have a terrorist loving President. Unless he has something to hide where is the hard. Wait its the hard question again. the DNC says run a way.
    Under the Patriot Act they don’t have to give it to GOP but they do have to turn it in to Homeland Security .
    email your congressman NOW put the word out to all that will listen.

  2. Stephen Noriega

    First of all, Rashid Khalidi is a Palestinian activist who has received praise, support and money from organizations run by people such as John McCain. The educational board that Obama was on gave Khalidi about 70,000. The organization that McCain was on the board gave Khalidi over 400,000 in a grant. Don’t assume that every Palestinian is a terrorist. That is bigotry, not reason. Newspapers routinely deny release of source materials. It has everything to do with protecting money making resources and not hiding evil people.

    As far as the GOP is concerned, the Republicans might have to transform some, just like all parties do if they want to survive. It is basic evolution. The political parties that adapt better to their environment live and make more little Democrats or Republicans. The GOP might be able to make some inroads with Latino groups with a social agenda that is conservative but empathetic, something that they have struggled to do. Of course, the Republicans need to decide if they are still the party of small government or not before the Democrats steal that mantle away as well.

  3. kelly karpenske

    There is still a possibility that John McCain could win this election, but even if he does it won’t be because he’s a republican and it wont mean a light at the end of the tunnel for fellow republicans.
    The Republicans need (not to be cliché) change. From 2004 when they ran it all, to now when they are in danger of losing it all, they are in desperate need for something new.
    There is no winner in the Republican party. The conservatives need to be more moderate and the moderates need to be more conservative. Some say we need a president like Regan; others like Teddy Roosevelt and still others like Lincoln. There is no right side or right way in the Republican Party. Everybody who is a Republican is to blame, because when the party loses, we all lose and we all are at fault. So what can the republicans do to “change” the party??

    1) Listen to the American people. They care and they have a lot to say about what they want from a government, especially one that supports their morals and values.
    2) Coordinate. Build up political leadership in the republican party and create national coordination.
    3) Invest in the future. Invest in elections and governing instead of investing in the self funded talent of the party.
    4) Reinvent the modern campaign. Fuse together activism and community that Barack Obama so well used to ignite his campaign and party.
    5) Develop a coherent media strategy. It is not good enough to simply complain about NBC, The New York Times and the national media in general. We have to do something about it. We have to invest resources into learning all we can about communicating in the modern age. We cannot continue to allow them to be a cheerleader for the left. We have to do something about it.
    6) Simplify to unify. We can simplify and unify by agreeing to a certain process for resolving conflicts, and then embracing basic, unifying values.

    With the proper leadership and strategy the Republican Party can rise again and take the steps to renew belief.

  4. Tony Robinson

    Great thoughts Lance. You are right that the GOP is in for some deep soul-searching.

    Regarding McInnis’ critique of the right-wing of his party–I heard Shaffer on the radio post election saying his party would be better of to become even more conservative. He claimed that the true social conservatism, tax-cutting, anti-govt. values of the GOP are the real American values and if the GOP holds strong to them, they will be back for victory next time around.

    Well, the demographics of CD4 (see Melissa Keller’s post) say otherwise. But it will be interesting to see if the GOP repeats the monumental disaster of the Dems in 1968-1972. When the Dems lost a close election in 1968, they had an internal debate over whether the country was fundamentally shifting to the right and repudiating some fo the excesses of liberalism and the 1960s (it was), or whether the Dems simply hadn’t been true and liberal enough to attract a majority of the voters. The conclusion was that the party should become even more liberal, and they Dems ran McGovern in 1972. It was a historic GOP landslide and the Dems entered their long darkness of never being able to shake the 1960s hippie-liberal image that doomed them for the next 20 years.

    The GOP is facing a similar choice. is the party going to “Go Palin” and run to the right–or does the McInnis/McCain wing of the party rise up to recreate a more moderate, new thinking GOP? If they Go Palin, look forward to a generation of Democratic dominance of US politics.

    It is telling that in all of New England there is not a single GOP House seat–Chris Shays was the last moderate standing up there and he lost in this election. The GOP simply cannot survive as a Southern conservative party. They are losing the West and the way back to the majority is not through the pulpit and supply-side fantasies that national health care, paid family leave and such things are mere socialism. The rest of the world has long ago adopted such policies. It’s time for the GOP to respond to the reality of a changing America and world.

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