On the GOP’s Election Hopes In 2014 and 2016.

Jan 23

As the American government prepare for the mid-terms election in November 2014, there’s talk the Republican Party could be well-positioned to not only maintain control of the Congress but also gain control of the Senate, thus effectively blocking President Obama’s hopes of building on his legacy.

While a number of districts have been effectively gerrymandered in the Republicans’s favor, the anger and frustration many Americans feel toward the current GOP-controlled Congress and the party’s extremist wing could counteract that advantage.

The GOP has fallen and can't get up.

The GOP has fallen and can’t get up.

The current Republican-dominated Congress is among the least-effective in American history, passing little legislation of note, serving only to try to block any legislation favored by Obama, even if some of it originated from the Republican ranks. The party’s agenda is largely controlled largely by far-right “Tea Party” members, whose extreme views on gay rights, abortion, immigration reform, welfare and other social issues have contributed to the party’s growing unpopularity among American voters.

Far-right senators like Ted Cruz, Paul Ryan, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio are expected to be among the front-runners for the Republican nomination for President in 2016. While they may be popular with the base, especially the Tea Partiers, they’re widely unpopular among moderates and won’t garner much traction among American voters in 2016.

New Jersey governor Chris Christie, prior to a recent scandal involving his government’s controversial closing of the George Washington Bridge last year, was considered the most likely to be awarded the Republican presidential nomination. Even without this current scandal dogging him, Christie never stood a chance with the Republican base.

His praise for Obama during the recovery efforts following Hurricane Sandy, which devastated the Jersey coastline in late-October 2012, was perceived by many in the base as costing Mitt Romney the presidency. They’ve never forgiven him and never will. His more centrist views (well, centrist compared to those favored by the far-right) will  also cost him the nomination.

Despite promised efforts by party leaders last year to change the GOP’s image, it remains a party run by white elites who care little about the problems of real Americans.

Since the early-1980s, they were able to convince many central or “small-c” conservative American voters they cared about them, that by lowering taxes on the wealthy and cutting social programs and investing heavily in the stock market and the military-industrial complex, there would be jobs a-plenty for Americans and the middle class would grow and thrive.

Over the past decade, however, especially after the global economic collapse of 2008, with the economy still struggling to recover and more Americans falling into the working-poor category, many voters no longer buy what the Republicans are selling.

The GOP is no longer the party of real people. They’re increasingly a party dominated by the shrill extreme right who no longer understand the problems facing the working class. Their social values,  once shared by a white middle class, are now of another age as minorities and millennials make up a growing number of voters.

America is changing but the Republican Party stubbornly refuses to acknowledge it. They believe if they just move more to the right and shout their message more loudly they’ll win over American voters. That’s simply not going to happen.

What Republicans are going through now is what Democrats went through in the 1970s and 1980s until President Bill Clinton dragged them kicking and screaming toward a more centrist message which resonated with Americans.

The GOP might maintain control of the Congress this fall, but they won’t get control of the Senate. As for the presidency in 2016, given the weak field of candidates they have to offer, their odds of regaining the White House appear dim.

It will take being shut out in the 2014 mid-terms and 2016 presidential election to finally force the Republicans into the long-overdue makeover required to win back the support of the majority of Americans. Even retaining the House in 2014 will be a Pyrrhic victory, ensuring the far-right harpies maintain control over the GOP leadership, guaranteeing another “do-nothing” Congress, ultimately leading to future defeats.

Until the Republicans admit the country is changing and their need to change with it, until they realize they must move toward the center, they risk falling into irrelevance for the foreseeable future.

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