Thumped convincingly in consecutive election cycles, the Republican Party now finds itself in its worst straits since the rise of the conservative coalition — a minority party without the White House, fewer seats in the House and Senate, only 21 governors and full control of just 14 state legislatures.
Most ominous for Republicans, the GOP is increasingly becoming less grand than old — and outdated. As reflected in Tuesday’s results and exit polls, it’s a party that is overwhelmingly white, rural and aged in a country that is rapidly becoming racially mixed, suburban and dominated by a post-Baby Boomer generation with no memory of Vietnam or the familiar culture wars of the past.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said the party should take four primary steps: show no tolerance for corruption, practice what it preaches about limiting the scope of government (“There should not be such a thing as a Big-Government Republican”), stand for working families and small business, and embrace reform.
“I hope there is a strong focus on recruiting candidates for governor as a top priority for 2010,” said Bush. “A reform conservative agenda can be shown at the state level regarding education, health care and environmental policy while the liberals advocate the status quo, just more of it, in Washington, D.C.”