Future for Republicans is not so bad

By Chris Cillizza

It’s not a good time to be a Republican. The circular firing squad — it was Mitt Romney’s fault! Demographics did it! Conservatives messed everything up! — has begun in earnest even though the 2012 election is less than two weeks gone.

Regardless of whom you choose to blame — we lean toward demographics and a GOP turnout operation that is a pale imitation of what Democrats have put in place — it’s clear that the Republican Party needs an overhaul. And the sooner everyone in the party recognizes that, the better.

That said, things aren’t that bad for Republicans. Here are four reasons for optimism.

1. The party’s superstars are coming of age. The 2012 election for Republicans was sort of like the 2004 election for Democrats in terms of candidate quality. The candidates who ran in 2004/2012 were a mix of people who had to run this time around (Romney, former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty) or who figured the weakness of the field gave them a chance to score an upset (former senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania). In each case, the superstars-in-waiting for the party were one election away from making runs in their own right. So, in 2008, we saw Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton run. And in 2016, we are likely to see Republicans such as Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.), New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Rep. Paul Ryan (Wis.) — all of whom have significantly more star power than Romney — make the race.

2. There are a historic number of GOP governors. Next year, 30 states will be run by Republicans — the highest number for either party in more than a decade. Those 30 chief executives include Jindal and Christie, who are already getting major 2016 buzz, and also New Mexico’s Susana Martinez, the first Hispanic woman elected governor from either party, and Nevada’s Brian Sandoval, a Hispanic former federal judge. Both are likely to play leading roles in the party’s attempts to court Latino voters. And then there are the other 26 governors who all will have real opportunities to rebrand the Republican Party based on how they choose to govern between now and 2016. (Keep an eye on Indiana’s Mike Pence, who has designs on a national candidacy down the line.) Remember that when the Democratic Party found itself in the political wilderness after the 1988 election, it turned to its governors — including the boy wonder from Arkansas — for ideas on how to remake itself. And we know how that turned out.

3. The electoral map is bad, but not that bad. We’ve written extensively on how where Republicans currently find themselves in terms of the electoral map is similar to where Democrats found themselves in the 1980s. That’s broadly true, but things for Republicans today aren’t nearly as dire as they looked for Democrats three decades ago. From 1968 to 1988, Democratic presidential nominees averaged a paltry 113 electoral votes. From 1992 to 2012, Republicans have averaged a much more robust 210. While demographic and population trends are clearly working against Republicans — Texas as a swing state in 2020, anyone? — the party is not that far, electorally speaking, from creating a credible path back to 270 electoral votes. Find a way to make the industrial Midwest — Ohio, Iowa, Wisconsin and even Pennsylvania — competitive again and the map suddenly doesn’t look so bad for the GOP.

4. History is on their side. Presidential politics in the post-World War II era tend to be defined by the pendulum effect. The pendulum swings one way for eight (or so) years and then has a tendency to swing back the other way — almost no matter what. Al Gore lost his bid for 12 straight years of Democratic control of the White House even though the economy was humming along and public opinion on President Bill Clinton remained positive. The exception to that rule was the 12 years that Republicans controlled the White House from 1980 to 1992, but George H.W. Bush was unable to win a second term thanks to Bill Clinton. Of course, historical trends are true until they aren’t anymore (No president can be reelected with unemployment above 7.4 percent!), but the tendency of the American public to bounce between the two parties — at least at the presidential level— every eight years is pretty consistent.



13 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Aaron
    Nov 19, 2012 @ 16:52:02

    Hi, Nice post thanks for sharing. Would you please consider adding a link to my website on your page. Please email me back. Thanks!

    Aaron Grey


    • WakeUpAmerica
      Nov 19, 2012 @ 21:33:19

      This is a little odd for someone to ask you to link to their website and not leave the URL. Smells suspicious to me.


  2. sally in MI
    Nov 19, 2012 @ 18:20:43

    You’re forgetting that the GOP has sold their soul to Norquist, the Koch fortune, and the Devil. They despise all the voting blocs except rich white men, and there are not enough of them to buy an election, as we just saw. Plus they are war mongers, big spenders on corprorate welfare, and they hate unions, which are struggling and are the only thing keeping a middle class in this country, So I fail to see how they will do anything in the midterms this time, nor in 2016, but spend more, lie more, and lose bigger. Power to the PEOPLE.


    • Sailing smooth
      Dec 27, 2012 @ 22:24:28

      I hate unions and those who support them. Greedy, destroyers of this country, and are deadbeats who cannot compete in an open market. Parasites on the backs of employers and the nation. I hate them. They are criminals and thugs.


  3. batgirly
    Nov 19, 2012 @ 19:01:56

    They haven’t done a single thing to interest me in coming back, nor do I expect them to. Once the Republican Party let themselves be controlled by religious zealots, they lost me.

    If they go back to the belief that politics and religion should be kept separate, then I might start listening to what they have to say. As it is now, I’d no more vote for a Republican than I would invite one to my annual exam with my gynecologist!

    Then they’d need to start taking science and climate change seriously.

    Let’s face it, it’s hopeless. We’ll be lucky if the rich Blue States don’t just cut us Red States loose and make us start taxing ourselves at the full amount that we actually have been in the habit of taking from the government. What is it here, Alaskans get $7 for every $1 that we pay to the Feds?

    And if you look at the electoral map, pretty much every Red State does the same. You think Republicans think that they’re getting screwed by the government now? What if they actually got taxed for the full amount of all these stupid ideas like the road to Nome, the Bridge to Point Mackenzie, the brand new prison that immediately had to be mothballed because it’s too expensive to operate?

    The Republican Party needs to get a grasp on reality first, before they ever get my vote again!


    • Sailing smooth
      Dec 27, 2012 @ 22:28:00

      Batty belfry b…tch. I take the climate seriously. I don’t take whiny vagina obsessed females seriously. Go start your own vagina political party. The rest of us are sick of the topic and your self centered issues.


    • Sailing smooth
      Dec 27, 2012 @ 22:30:49

      Good. I don’t want to be near a party that includes morons like you. Please keep your pants on, and the bag over your head.


  4. ExCat
    Nov 19, 2012 @ 21:09:54

    I’m thinking not so bad doesn’t mean what you think it means


  5. WakeUpAmerica
    Nov 19, 2012 @ 21:45:06

    This article sounds like wishful thinking to me. The GOP is a mess, and they have offended so many people. As long as they push for a plutacracy or theocracy, they are doomed. They have promoted a misogynist and anti-science agenda that will drive any halfway intelligent screaming into the night. Their environmental beliefs would crack me up if I could stop crying. However, they will die from the same pollution cancers as the rest of us. The majority whip comes from the city with the dirtiest air in America. Did you get that? Kevin McCarthy is from Bakersfield and has done NOTHING to address the problem in his own hometown. But, by god, he sure is in favor of promoting business by pushing for fewer environmental regulations. What a dick!


    • batgirly
      Nov 19, 2012 @ 22:27:06

      Two years ago my Catholic, one-issue (abortion) brother-in-law got a notice from his company that they would all be relocated to Bakersfield, or else lose their jobs.

      He was 57 years old, there was practically no hope of finding another job, much less with a replacement salary anywhere close to what he was making. He felt that at his age and under the dire economic conditions in California, that he would probably never work again if he didn’t move to Bakersfield, or as he calls it, the armpit of California.

      He chose to stay unemployed in Santa Cruz with all the liberal environmentalists and their clean ocean air.

      And yet I am almost certain that he voted a Republican ticket because of that one issue. Even though abortion and senseless war deaths are down, and the economy is up, under Obama.

      Go figure!


      • Sailing smooth
        Dec 27, 2012 @ 22:33:51

        The one issue (abortion) bat fly speaks again, about … Guess what? Abortion.

  6. WakeUpAmerica
    Nov 20, 2012 @ 08:57:02

    He must be the only Rethuglican up there. Maybe he will convert.


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