Republican party must shift sights

BY CONNOR BURNS ’13
Senior Staff Writer

Obama’s campaign strategists have an important battle ahead of them: they must fight complacency in the face of odds that favor them vastly. Obama enjoys leads close to double digits in Ohio, Florida, and Virginia. Romney claimed just this week that Pennsylvania remains competitive, but his campaign has not spent a dime here since the primaries, and the polling for him is dismal here as well.

Romney’s candidacy indicates an existential crisis for the Republican party. Romney, a Massachusetts moderate, has been forced to run as somewhat of an ideologue by a bruising primary, but the primary’s weak field of challengers should never have been a challenge to Romney in the first place. The consensus among political journalists is that while the Romney campaign is on life support, it’s inhumane to pull the plug before the first debate (although, considering Obama’s mastery of the English language and Romney’s daftness, it looks pretty bleak for him as well). Meanwhile his running mate, the intellectual leader of the modern Tea Party/Republican Party, has been muzzled and forced to abandon his budget and all of his views on social issues. On paper, the Romney/Ryan ticket looks like a wet noodle. How did things get so bad? Why isn’t this race more competitive? Romney himself has obviously been a horrendous candidate, and the team behind Obama’s reelection has the benefit of experience, pre-existing infrastructure, and tremendous talent. But I think that this election season represents some fundamental problems for the GOP.

Perhaps they will rise from the ashes, such as the Democrats did in 2008 after many wrote their death certificate in 2004. I think this likely considering the salience of the American two-party system. But we will see a new GOP. In terms of economic philosophers, they will eventually have to look past Hayek and Rand, abandoning their vocal resistance to popular opinions on modern social issues.

Demographics are not on their side as the country becomes more liberal. Perhaps the GOP may change to be more inclusive of tomorrow’s America, but we will have to see. What does the GOP look like after losing the Presidential election in November? They will likely continue to hold a majority in the House and remain the Senate minority. The fiscal cliff approaches, and so far there has been no real solution in sight. Although the freshmen Tea-Party House reps may soften up after the election, nothing is certain. My hope, however, is that the Republican obstructionism of the past four years may dwindle once it becomes impossible to defeat President Obama. If they have no reason to resist him, they may as well try to allow the government to continue to function.

Questions? Email Connor at cburns@fandm.edu.

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