Republican Soul Searching

Remember how long it took for Republicans to pick a candidate to run against Obama? Remember how long it took the Republican Party to realize that Mitt Romney (the initial frontrunner) was actually the best option they had? Mind you that Mitt was running against lunatics (Michele Bachmann), bumbling bafoons (Herman Caine), and a guy who had an absolute meltdown on national television because he couldn’t remember the Department of Energy. Watching the Republican Primary was like a reality TV show; it was television I ate up with something like the unsedated joy of schadenfreude.

Suffice this to say that the marriage between the Republican Party and Mitt Romney was from the outset an unhappy one. Admittedly the Republican party did not bring their best to the table in 2012; they hoped to make a moderate candidate (and still I’m only really guessing at what I think Mitt is deep down), into a conservative republican, and in so doing ostracized both fiscal republicans and hard line tea party conservatives.

But I still wonder (and I think Republican strategists across the country are wondering too) if even a strong candidate like Jeb Bush or Chris Christie would have won this election. The problem for Republican’s this time around was not a candidate problem (as it often is for Democrats) but a demographic one. I’m not going to suggest the dooms day of the Republican Party here as the NY Times has been kind enough to do it for me. This type of sensationalism is neither helpful to the discussion, nor that likely given the structure of American Politics.

Still let’s admit the ‘soul searching’ which all the news anchors and analysts (even on Fox news!), were talking about as election day coverage went into early Wednesday morning is going to need to happen if the Republican Party hopes to remain viable. I think Republican Strategist John Weaver posed it well, when he said “We have a choice: we can become a shrinking regional party of middle-aged and older white men, or we can fight to become a national governing party. And to do the latter we have to fix our Hispanic problem as quickly as possible, we’ve got to accept science and start calling out these false equivalencies when they occur within our party about things that are just not true, and not tolerate the intolerant.”

If you’re not convinced, consider this fact: A Republican candidate for President has not won an election without a Bush or Nixon on the ticket since 1928. If you don’t believe me check it for yourself. The GOP is stagnant. It needs a fresh start. It needs some type of realignment and not the type that occurred in 2010, which ultimately led to obstructionism and deepened the schism within the Republican party. That or run Jeb Bush in 2016 and hope that his name carries the party, as it has for over 30 years.