Who Will Lead The GOP Out Of The Wilderness?

by Patrick Appel

John Sides points out the bleeding obvious – the GOP could easily win the presidency in 2016:

The GOP will … benefit from what political scientist Alan Abramowitz calls the “time for a change” factor: only once since the 22nd Amendment limited the president to two consecutive terms has a party held the White House for more than two terms in a row.

If that happens, perhaps we’ll realize that all this talk of a “liberal majority” or “Obama’s mandate” or even a “Democratic realignment” was overblown. And perhaps we’ll even remember that the exact opposite argument was made in 2004, when evil genius Karl Rove was supposed to have ushered in a Republican realignment and Democrats would never win another election unless they could appeal to “values voters.” Those predictions of a Republican majority were soon proved false. This is why it’s premature to make similar predictions about a Democratic majority or write the GOP’s epitaph.

If, through some act of God, Republicans nominate a relative moderate like Chris Christie in 2016, a Republican victory could move the party back towards the center. An ideologue with amnesia of the Bush presidency, i.e. the majority of the other Republican presidential hopefuls, is unlikely to do the same. For Democrats to get from Carter’s loss to Clinton’s win took three failed elections. For Republicans to get from Hoover to Eisenhower took significantly longer. The GOP could easily win in 2016, but, if the party is going to modernize itself, another loss or two may be required.