The Republicans’ quest for a new political life has begun. Defeats in both the Presidential election and Congress have dashed the Grand Old Party’s dominance. Since 1968 it has won 7 out of 10 presidential elections and dominated Capitol Hill. The defeat of John McCain and the loss of so many senators has started alarm bells ringing.
Barack Obama’s win saw key states like Colorado, Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania all turn from Republican red to Democrat blue. For analysts, the Republicans ignored crucial electoral trends in these states, particularly the growing weight of Hispanics and single people.
“Republicans have to figure out a way of diversifying, they have kind of relied primarily on a white, Protestant base, which is a shrinking base, in an increasingly diverse country,’‘ said political analyst Allan Lichtman.
After eight years of the Bush White House, Republicans are divided. Some feel a return to a Reaganite philosophy is needed with ‘less government and more freedom’, a clear break from the neo-conservatives who have been promoting government in the name of security.
The reform debate has already started between Republicans in Congress. Some wish to see a repositioning to the right where others want practical cooperation with the Democrats. But the Republicans will also have to devote themselves to finding a new leader. McCain’s defeat showed how outdated the party’s political methods have become.
“Sarah Palin may well take on a important leadership role in the Republican party because she is a woman, and she does present at least the possibilities of a more inclusive party but she’s got to modify her approach, which so far appeals only to the republican base,’‘ said Lichtman.
For the moment, Sarah Palin is back as Governor of Alaska. The 44 year-old has time to reflect, deciding whether to make a come back in 2012.