The Republican Dilemma: Insanity or Victory?

The Republican Party faces a dilemma, a dilemma if must address or become non relevant as a national party. They have lost the popular vote in five or the last six presidential elections. The dilemma is easy to describe but more difficult to solve: How can it broaden its appeal to undecided voters without alienating its wing-nut conservative base?

The solution seems simple, run candidates that appeal to a broader selection of the voting public. But there is a problem with this solution – the neo-con wing of the party base is controlled by teabaggers who refuse to election middle of the road candidates during the Republican primaries. There is no consensus among party leaders on how to achieve this.

There is serious tension between party leadership and party activists. With the next election three years away, Republican leadership is walking on eggs trying to make policy changes. It is virtually impossible to find viable candidates when your base will only elect the most outrageous candidates. There is no desire among party activists to support broad appealing candidates.

Recently, Republican supports are saying, “We have an example of success, Democrats, sick of losing elections and being tagged as out-of-touch liberals, moved their party toward the center and rallied behind Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton in 1992. We need a Bill Clinton type candidate to rally our supporters around a common goal”

The problem with this approach is simple, it is difficult to achieve when you have folks who want nationally unelectable candidates. These two examples are like oranges and apples: Bill Clinton had to win back voters; Republicans need to get voters to join their new coalition, a coalition controlled by right wing extremists.

When your party’s issues include: restricting voting rights, massive tax breaks for the rich, slashing assistance for the middle class, restricting women’s access to health care, dismantling public education, dismantling Social Security and ending ObamaCare… It is going to be difficult to get voters back. Becoming the party of “no” and “obstruction” does not make things any easier.

So here lies the dilemma: Keep bowing to your party’s shrinking loyal base of conservative activists — including evangelical Christians, anti-tax crusaders, teabaggers, racists, Obama haters, and anti-abortion advocates — or loose these groups and appeal to a larger number of voters.

Republicans will go nowhere if they continue to allow hard-core conservative neo-cons to control the party and its message. But they do not appear willing to go with a more moderate message so national losses will probably continue until they face the facts they need to change.

A long post-mortem, commissioned by the Republican Party after Romney’s loss last fall, said the GOP “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.”




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