Monday, April 1, 2013

GOP makeover? Not so fast...

"The GOP today is a tale of two parties. One of them, the gubernatorial wing, is growing and successful. The other, the federal wing, is increasingly marginalizing itself, and unless changes are made, it will be increasingly difficult for Republicans to win another presidential election in the near future." - from the report by the Republican National Committee's Growth and Opportunity Project, March 2013.

The current conventional wisdom is that the Republican Party must adapt to the changing national demographics to find renewed competitiveness in national elections. This view is challenged in an intriguing article last week from the Poli-Sci Perspective, a "Wonkblog" feature of the Washington Post. 

To summarize some of the author John Side's major points:

  • The perspective that the weak economy of President Obama's first team should have resulted in a Republican victory in 2012 is just not true. It is hard to defeat an incumbent president, even in a slow growing economy, and Mitt Romney's defeat can be chalked up to this alone.
  •  In voter surveys, Romney's views were closer to the average voter than Obama's.
  • While America has moved left on a couple of prominent issues - gay marriage and marijuana legalization - overall the country has become more conservative during Obama's first term. This is a historical trend - in the past 50 years, public opinion has tended to track in the opposite direction of the administration in office. 
The Republican's position for 2016 is not as dire as is being presented:
  • "People tend to overestimate how much policy and ideology have to do with election outcomes, which is why the losing party spends so much time debating how to renovate its platform.  But the Republican Party’s loss in 2012 was predictable given only the economic fundamentals.  And those same fundamentals could easily give Republicans the presidency in 2016."
  • "...only once since the 22nd Amendment limited the president to two consecutive terms has a party held the White House for more than two terms in a row."
Click here to read the entire article.


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