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What next for America's Republicans?

Picture_5 The latest polling points to a landslide election win for Barack Obama. Dan Hamilton's analysis also suggests significant gains for the Democrats in the Senate.  Conservative commentators are already asking what the Republicans should do next.  Some of those ideas are summarised below:

Blaming the media and others would be the worst thing that Republicans could do

Picture_4 "[A] lot of conservatives are going to be telling themselves after election day: That Obama cheated, that the media cheated, that McCain wasn't a conservative anyway, and that the only reason Sarah Palin wasn't a hit with swing voters is that the press - with an assist from conservative quislings like Frum and Brooks and Parker and Noonan - poisoned the well. And in such thinking lies the seeds of years or even decades of defeat." - Ross Douthat of The Atlantic

Republicans will need a lot of patience; political recovery takes time

210_fred_barnesbio_barnes_0 "If the Conservative triumph in Britain last month has any relevance for America, Republicans shouldn't get their hopes up in 2008. It took Conservatives 11 years to recover from their landslide loss to Labour in 1997. The Republican recovery--what there is of one--is less than two years old." - Fred Barnes in The Weekly Standard

An inexperienced President Obama will create opportunities for the Republicans

Frum200 "If the inexperienced Barack Obama wins — and then discovers that there is more to being president than giving speeches — we could discover that the next generation of young people reacts to the failures of an Obama presidency by rediscovering the enduring Republican principles of limited government, individual rights, strong national defense and pragmatic effective governance." - David Frum for USA Today

The Republicans need to focus on the working class and "government-enhanced social mobility"

Brooks "[I]f I could put one book on the desk of every Republican officeholder, “Grand New Party” would be it. You can discount my praise because of my friendship with the authors, but this is the best single roadmap of where the party should and is likely to head... I’m not sure how quickly the G.O.P. can swing behind this working-class focus and this vision of government-enhanced social mobility... It may take a few defeats for the G.O.P. to embrace a Sam’s Club agenda, but sooner or later, it will happen. Trust me." - David Brooks of the New York Times 

The GOP must develop a compelling agenda on healthcare, immigration, energy and the environment

505 "McCain, while holding some conservative positions, has never been the standard-bearer for the conservative cause. Moreover, America remains, in the main, a center-right nation. Twice as many respondents to an October Newsweek poll said they consider themselves to be conservative as said they were liberal (40 percent vs. 20 percent). And a Fox News poll taken at the start of October found that 76 percent of respondents believe lower taxes and smaller government are preferable to higher taxes and larger government.  It would be silly and self-defeating for Republicans to repudiate conservatism's core principles of a strong national defense, limited government, constitutionalism and protection for unborn children. Yet it would be shortsighted to believe that the issues that worked more than a quarter-century ago will carry the day.  Conservatives are in a similar position today. Issues such as welfare and crime, which helped conservatism achieve dominance, are not as potent as they were. And while taxes and spending remain important, stagnant wages and middle-class anxieties, the housing and credit crisis, health care, immigration, energy, and the environment also command domestic attention. Conservatives need to convince the public that they have a compelling agenda to address these issues." - Peter Wehner for The Washington Post

 Resist the Europeanisation of America on trade, tax and regulation

Petedupont "What can the Republicans in Washington to do to avoid the Europeanization of America? The obvious answer is to win some elections two years from now to reduce the congressional power of those who favor it. But in the meantime they need stronger, better leadership of their minority party... They will not win all the fights, but on protectionism, higher taxes and broader government regulation they can win the support of a great many Americans. And that might keep America from becoming Europeanized and our people from losing their money, their jobs and the market freedom of our country." - Pete Du Pont of the Wall Street Journal


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