ALTERNATIVE SCENARIOS FOR REPUBLICAN PARTY 2013 AND FORWARD
- Incremental umbrella strategy, with a far right, “Tea Party” wing increasingly “Fissured” and localized mostly in the Deep South. Here the party would field candidates and register voters with more inclusiveness in mind, targeting “reachable’ Hispanics, blacks, women, youth, non-voters. This seems the default sine qua non of the post 2012 elections for the party mainstream. As long as the far-right, mostly Southern redoubt of inflexible conservatives remains inflexible, the party will have big problems uniting around issues and candidates.
- Remobilize the conservative base, less fissure with far right, get out the vote and hope that democrats will split between moderate and progressive wings. Make a few strategic concessions on things like immigration but largely “stand-pat-ism”. May not seem like most promising strategy, but may in fact be the most probable one. A slight pragmatic tilt welling up from the state and local levels, and a more “exciting” candidate than Romney, may make this viable, especially if some/several of Obama’s policies create backlash. On the other hand, it may be very hard to find a candidate as clever and magnificently flexible as Romney at the top of the ticket in the future. And who looks as presidential for our look-ist culture. Note that while Reagan seemed quite conservative for his time, the two Bushes, especially Bush 1, seemed less so.
The Tea Partiers, paradoxically, or both a drag on the national ticket and an essential part of the base. Remove even half of the ultra-conservatives from Romney voters and he would have gone down like the Hindenburg. MOVE Romney 5 degrees to the right, and he would have done the same. In fact, it may be difficult for any candidate to see-saw as effectively between the center-right and far right as Romney or a “Romney type.” On the other hand we must never forget the power of a progressive “unconventional” candidate like Obama to unite Republicans. The popular vote spread in 2012 was smaller than one might have supposed, given the number of right-wing positions Romney acceded to. He was truly the I’m not Obama candidate and 4.7 out of 10 voters preferred “Not Obama.”
- The last of the 2 big party scenarios is the least likely, especially with the powerful role the House of Reps. Seems to be playing in supervising the party, would simply be for the Republicans to adopt a proactive strategy of mixed-bag progressive and attractively packaged conservative/pragmatic policies and continue to do what they do so well: raise Big money, and play fast and loose with the truth, which the Democrats can do, but seem to have considerably more trouble doing, than their opponents.