The future of the GOP

Interesting “Room for Debate” in the NYT about what the Republican Party needs to do.  For the most part, those who were most clear in their analysis of the problems had the most struggle coming up with good solutions that weren’t mealy-mouthed talking points, i.e., on attracting more women:

The party’s commitment to empowering individuals through pro-growth policies and fiscal restraint provide an opening with soccer moms, who are often the chief executive officers of the family, holding the purse strings and calling the financial shots.

And business need not be a four-letter word on the campaign trail, considering there are more than 8 million women-owned businesses in the United States, generating more than a trillion in revenue and employing millions of Americans.

For my money, the best analysis by far came from Norm Ornstein (who also had a fabulous post-election interview on Fresh Air last week):

First is the nomination process, for both the presidential nomination and other offices from the U.S. Senate and the House on down. The G.O.P. has effectively been captured and dominated by its right-right wing — as opposed to its right wing or its center-right wing. When a party faces the spectacle of all its presidential candidates pledging in a primary debate that they would not accept a deal of $1 in taxes for $10 in budget cuts, and rejecting any candidate who acknowledges that scientists might have something to say about the climate, and when a party purges upstanding, problem-solving conservatives like Bob Bennett of Utah, Richard Lugar of Indiana and Bob Inglis of South Carolina, it has a big problem…

Second, the party needs to abandon the tribal approach of the past four years — “if President Obama and Democrats are for it, we are against it (even if we were for it yesterday).” A party that puts its own short-term political advantage ahead of solving problems for the country, that puts obstruction ahead of compromise, will win elections only if it can manipulate the process or wait for catastrophe great enough that voters will accept any alternative.

Now, I’m not exactly sure what this reform of the nomination process would look like, but the evidence that Republicans have been shooting themselves in the foot with nominees and turning off educated, science-believing voters in droves is pretty indisputable.


About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

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