Can The Republican Party Ever Win Another National Electon?

There are various opinions on this and serious discussions are underway in the Republican Ranks regarding what needs to be done to win next time.

Essentially there are 3 schools of thought on this. One says to get more liberal and try and attract more minority votes next time. The second school of thought is to be moderate and try and attract more voters by steering away from the right wingers and avoiding getting too liberal. The final school of thought is to go more to the right and go after the real conservatives and the working class vote.

Option four, as discussed in another thread: gerrymander the hell out of districts and apportion electoral votes towards those districts, thus ensuring eternal power.

I see a lot of potential for civil strife as many do in the next few years. It will talke great leadership to keep this nation functional. It is becoming a struggle of the ‘haves’ vs. the ‘have nots’ and or minorities vs. Whites.

If the economy keeps deteriorating then there will come a moment when a national tragedy could easily occur.

One reason the democrats want to take away the conservatives weapons.


Silly me thinking gun control might have something to do with the continued gun violence in the country.

Yes, and they will. The question is do they steer in that direction sooner and become relevant again within this decade, or do they go wholesale crazy (and as a Republican I’m talking the national party leadership, not individuals like myself who are not mentally insane) in some deluded belief that Americans need more crazily conservative candidates and that is why Romney lost. If they do that, and it isn’t only possible but perhaps more likely than not, then they’ll enter a “long wilderness” of perhaps a generation or more. People remember particularly crazy things, like multiple Republicans running for office saying that women can’t conceive babies from “legitimate rape.” That hurts the national brand, and you lose voters forever that way. If you stay that offensive for that long, you alienate too many voters to be viable.

We have a “naturally two party system” in that our election setup trends towards two parties. But there is nothing that would prevent long periods of one party rule, and it has happened in the past when other political parties have imploded.

Romney lost for a several reasons: bad campaign strategy, bad campaign management (they aren’t the same thing), a candidate with little likability, no effective strategy for dealing with that poor likability, divergent and specious positions on important polarizing issues, and that’s before you even get to the fact it was a two man race and the other guy had some part to play in Romney’s defeat. Without Obama uttering a word Romney and his campaign did a lot of things wrong.

His poorly defined and variable position on the issues is the one thing that was probably mostly out of his control. Romney is a long time Massachusetts resident and former Massachusetts Governor who at one point was pro-choice. I don’t think he’s a closet liberal, but given his life history and his choice of where to live and conduct his life highly suggests he was not genuinely as conservative as the Tea Party. This reality forced him to try and speak out of both sides of his mouth in the primary, and then do the same thing in the general. Aside from all his other problems, it left Romney failing in a key area: presenting a clear and clearly understood alternative to the existing President.

Compare his campaign to President Bush’s two campaigns. Bush did much to reach out to the Latino community (I know he’s an unpopular figure here, but he cleaned up with Latinos both in the Presidential election and gubernatorial elections), and really he laid the groundwork for a long term situation where the GOP might hope to split the Latino vote with the Democrats in national elections. In 2008 and 2012 the Republicans adopted extreme anti-immigration Know-Nothing style rhetoric that essentially reversed all of that.

There are many things the GOP can do to become more relevant nationally, and the Hispanic issue is a relatively easy one. The Hispanics are not monolithic like blacks and are not so concentrated in urban centers and are not a unified community. Republican messages are not based on giving communities things but instead giving individuals things. State-level Republican candidates in Florida and Texas have found winning formulas for Hispanic voters, as did George W. Bush. Other issues like abortion should be relegated to what it once was for the GOP, a side issue on which it was willing to compromise. In 1990 there were many pro-choice Republicans, now not only does that essentially make you unelectable in a Republican primary many Republican politicians have gone further right than where the country was in 1990, and further right than the GOP was in 1990 with advocating removing exceptions for rape and health of the mother and other policies that are simply unacceptable. Not only unacceptable to women but unacceptable to many men as well. The Republican party has allowed a collection of extremists to preempt the rest of the party and that now means it has a collection of deeply unpopular policy positions in a number of areas.

The GOP needs to focus on aspects of its policy positions that have greater appeal. For example over 70% of Americans favor reducing government spending, that makes it an unequivocal “winner” of a position. A large majority of Americans also support tax reform, and at one time the GOP supported legitimate tax reform as well. But that tax reform can’t be “broadening the base” (which I believe to be necessary) while leaving extremely favorable tax breaks in place for the rich. Many Americans will accept they must pay higher taxes, but not while billionaires can pay 15% tax on billion-dollar a year incomes from carried interest as hedge fund managers (treating compensation as capital gains), or even 15% tax on hundreds of millions of dollars of dividend or capital appreciation. That’s just no acceptable to people making $60,000 a year. The GOP needs to recognize that and move on from those positions.

A little nitpick- in the Presidential race, he didn’t clean up with Hispanics- he still lost the demographic- but he did a lot better than most Republicans.

But it’s not solely a leadership issue, is it? To some extent, doesn’t it depend on who chooses to vote in Republican primary elections? If extreme candidates keep getting nominated by the faithful bloc, then who has the authority to turn things around?

Right, I didn’t actually say Bush won majorities of the Hispanic votes, and I didn’t mean to suggest that he had. (He did win Hispanic majority votes in his Texas gubernatorial elections, I believe, or at least one of them.) But Bush did win 44% of the Hispanic vote against John Kerry, and 38% against Gore. He also won 11% of the African American vote (a shrinking demographic that will never significantly vote for Republicans, but 11% is more than 7% and historically there is no reason a Republican candidate shouldn’t get at least 10% of the black vote. Romney won under 30% of the Hispanic vote which is just abysmal, and under 30% of the Asian vote.)

Anyone who wins 60%+ of white men isn’t likely to need to outright win all the minority groups. Even in 2050 when we’ll no longer have an outright majority race if you carry 60% of the white males and 40% of the Hispanics, 40% of the Asians, at least 45-50% of white women it doesn’t matter if the other party wins 95% of the blacks of all genders and splits Hispanics and Asians with you 60/40, you’ll still win the overall election.

Republicans don’t have to win all the minority groups to win the Presidency, they just can’t totally alienate them and get massacred in those demographics.

Well, the party leadership built this crazy-wing populist movement, it didn’t appear overnight. We courted the craziest of the religious crazies, the anarcho-capitalists, and to a large extent the Tea Party represents chickens coming home to roost in the form of Republican leadership and big money Republicans pumping money into the crazies and building them into a political movement.

These people are mostly idiots, as are most voters in America, and they shouldn’t be whipped into such a frenzy. The national leadership disassociates from them and works against them and I suspect much of the financial support dries up and the movement dies in a few election cycles and ceases to be relevant. But it takes backbone to stand up to what has now become the most vocal part of the “base.”

We’ve worked ourselves into a position we can’t maneuver out of without taking some pain in the voting booth.

Martin Hyde’s post excellent, and I say that as a former Republican driven from the party by the nuts. But I think they have an even bigger problem than he says. While most Americans do favor spending cuts, they don’t favor cuts in stuff that affects them. They think foreign aid is an immense part of the budget and can be cut, while it is miniscule. Start talking about cutting Medicare and Social Security and defense and you have a big problem.
It seems to me that lots of Republicans see their issues with religious fervor, not intellectually, and so have a hard time compromising to win elections. That explains the extreme views on abortion which lost a couple of elections they should have won.
How do you suppose they solve this problem? I used to think that Romney had a good chance, since he could tack left after the nomination, but he actually tacked right (or drifted all over) by nominating Ryan. I used to think that his positions in MA were his real ones and he was faking being more right wing, but his actions can be better explained by him being more right wing and faking it in MA. Or maybe the money people made him do it. What other viable candidate could take the positions that Romney should have taken and still get the nomination?

They are still winning elections in the South.
Tennessee’s Democratic Party, such as it is, won’t even put up a serious candidate. This is Tea Farty country, folks.

I hate to say it, but I think they can and will win a national election as soon as they put up a genuinely charismatic and politically adept candidate, regardless of how crazy their policy positions are. There’s always going to be a chunk of the electorate that votes their gut feeling about the candidate as a person, and as long as that chunk comprises at least 3% or so of the voters, it’ll be enough to swing the results.

They can and will without any change to their current base or policies. All they need is to
wait for the undecided voter to think it may be time for a change (ALWAYS happens eventually)
[li]come up with a catchy message or platform to run on[/li][li]find a charasmatic candidate[/li][li]find someone who knows how to run a campaign[/ul][/li]
ETA - What he said up there ^

I’m sure they will eventually. I remember the political environment after the 1984 election, when a lot of people thought the Democrats would never win a national election. Obviously things changed. So they could change again, and they probably will someday. So when that day comes, the Republicans will win again. Unfortunately.

Romney isn’t worthy of a lot more speculation, but I lean towards “the money people made him do it.” A narrow band of interested parties directed almost a billion dollars (maybe more) in Super PAC money to Romney’s campaign, and they were not the moderate or liberal Republicans, but the arch-conservatives. I suspect Romney may have wanted to go moderate in the general, but the realities of trying to finance his campaign forced him to march to the beat of another drum.

But we shouldn’t blame Romney’s defeat on that, I think there were 4-5 key things that the Romney campaign did wrong, pretty much all of which they’d have had to have done right to even come close, and even then they still may have simply lost. But what’s stunning is his campaign managers all but had to have known they had an unlikable, blue blood stiff as a candidate and they never did anything to try and make him seem down to earth or folksy. Maybe they thought people really didn’t care about that stuff, but elections suggest they do, elections suggest you take a silver spooner like George W. Bush and have him wear cowboy hats and clear brush and it actually gets you votes. While I’d like it if our voters weren’t so stupid as to be pandered to like that, the reality is they are, and they should have been, and they weren’t.

As for Medicare and Social Security, the reality is both systems are on track to become fiscally impossible to maintain as they are now. Most younger people with half a brain know that, and at some point I suspect they’re going to number enough to say fuck off to baby boomers like me that have screwed up the country and demand some type of reform. I don’t know what form that reform will take, but the Democrats appear to have forced Obama to basically back off any serious entitlement reform and that puts the ball in the Republicans court if they can avoid traveling with it or turning it over (unlikely at present.)

Thank you all for a very good thread here. No seriously, no snark.

I appreciate it.

I bet they win again sooner rather than later, and I say that as a person who has never voted for them. More on that in a minute.

Main reason: Every time one of the parties does really badly in an election there is speculation that they’ll never win again. In other words, we have a really short collective memory. During the W. Bush days there was talk of permanent Republican domination of U.S. politics. Of course that didn’t happen, and it’s a mistake to think it ever will, at least in the near to medium term (not to say a party can’t die out at all - it’s true there aren’t too many Whigs or Mugwumps around anymore).

My other reason is because it’s possible they’ll smarten up and try to get voters like me. I’ve always said I stand ready to vote for a truly principled conservative who isn’t crazy. By that I mostly mean an actual fiscal conservative who is largely, but not necessarily completely, socially liberal. I haven’t yet pulled the trigger on it because that mythical unicorn of a candidate hasn’t yet revealed him or herself. But if one did, I’d consider it.

Reasonable republican candidates like Chris Christie of New Jersey would be a candidate I could see my way clear to vote for, if the democratic candidate was unacceptable. Or Peter King of New York might fit the bill.

You mean the IRA-supporting Islamophobe? That’d be a good way to severely damage our relations with the UK.

This is only true as long as you keep it vague. When anyone gets specific about what needs to be cut it is always a loser position.