The first problem is that while the Republicans are very well-organized as an opposition party, they have not functioned well as a governing party in recent years. That is the reason Republican resurgences in recent years—under Newt Gingrich in 1994, under George W. Bush in 2000, and under the current leadership two years ago—all petered out. A short time after the 2008 elections, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said his priority goal was to make Barack Obama a one-term President. What is his goal now?
The second problem is that, in addition to being tied in with Wall Street, the military industrial complex and the oil and drug industries at least as much as the Democrats, the Republicans also depend on support from Fox News commentators, talk radio hosts and Tea Party leaders who live in an alternate reality, in which, as an example, President Obama is a Kenyan-born Muslim-loving socialist. To paraphrase the late Ayn Rand, it is possible to ignore reality, but it is not possible to ignore the consequences of ignoring reality.
The third problem is that the Democratic leadership has moved to the right, and pre-empted positions on the political spectrum once occupied by figures such as Dwight Eisenhower, Earl Warren and, here in upstate New York, Reps. Barber Conable and Amo Houghton. The Republicans need to find a way to differentiate themselves from Democrats other than catering to the lunatic fringe.
But so long as the United States has a two-party system, the Democrats from time to time will fail, and the Republican Party will have new opportunities to govern. If they govern well, they will stay in power. But to get to that point will require one of the hardest things in the world—learning from past mistakes and doing things differently.
Republican commentators are overly preoccupied, in my opinion, with the increase in the Hispanic population and other groups that tend to vote Democratic. If Republican leaders, the next time they are in power, can bring about peace and prosperity, the Republican Party will gain among all demographic groups.
For more, click on How to Explain Romney’s Loss to Shocked Conservatives and The Republican Party Hasn’t Recovered From Bush by Michael Brendan Dougherty in The American Conservative.
Click on How Conservative Media Lost to the MSM and Failed the Rank and File by Conor Friedersdorf in The Atlantic Monthly.
Click on Three Reasons Mitt Romney and the Republicans Lost Big by Nick Gillespie and Meredith Bragg in Reason.
Click on Lessons from 2012 Presidential Election by Barry Ritholtz in The Big Picture.
Click on Obama the moderate Republican: What the 2012 election should teach the GOP by William Saletan in Slate.