November 6th, 2008
07:45 AM ET
14 years ago

GOP faces identity crisis in months ahead

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Will Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin be the new face of the Republican Party in 2012?."]
NEW YORK (CNN) - The Republican Party faces a long list of problems with no clear national leader and an identity crisis that will play out during a period of good will for the first African-American elected president.

Barack Obama not only won a clear majority of the votes Tuesday night, but he won with a coalition that dramatically recolored the Electoral College map and creates an opportunity for Democrats to have the upper hand after a long period of Republican electoral dominance.

It is the combination of Obama's success among young voters and Latino voters that many Republican strategists see as particularly troubling to their party's long-term health.

"We learned from the Ronald Reagan years how generational support for a candidate can ripple through the demographics for years to come," said one leading GOP strategist close to the McCain campaign.

In other words, young voters who were attracted to Reagan in 1980 remained loyal to Republicans as they aged, providing the base on the party's presidential success over the past 25 years.

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Filed under: GOP • John McCain
soundoff (221 Responses)
  1. Independent Dave, Iowa

    The mainstream GOP needs to distance its self from the hate of the likes of Limbaugh and Dobson and change its mentalaity from "Drill Baby, Drill" to "Innovate Everyone, Innovate!"

    The GOP needs to move into the 21st century!

    November 6, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  2. Dave

    Well, they put the wrong guy in as the nominee. Should have been Romney. Especially when the economy tanked and McCain was then toast.

    November 6, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  3. Sandra

    The Republican Party should start fresh with new faces. I'm sure they'll be new up and coming men and women who will start to emerge as time goes on. Change is good for everyone.

    November 6, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  4. Barbara NY

    The GOP needs to do more than regroup. McCain's presidential campaign looked like a Marx Brothers movie. The Right has hijacked the Republicans and has them in a headlock. They need to stop existing through Ronald Reagan (a lot of the current economic crisis can be traced back to his policies). They need to stop speaking political double talk when they speak to us–thanks to information technology we can find out the truth. My father was a lifelong Republican and he would no longer recognize the party he once supported.

    November 6, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  5. KG, Twin Cities

    My husband is Hispanic. He said to me Tuesday, as we voted for Obama, that he is tired of only mattering every 4 yrs in November. Our daughters voted for the first time. In the next presidential election, our son will be old enough to vote as well. Will these four members of my family matter to the GOP then or just me, the sole caucasion?

    Si se puede, baby!

    November 6, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  6. Noah

    Hey Lyndon, you know what sounds alot like Fascism? Creating a civilian security force. Suppressing free speech by bringing back the Fairness Doctrine and going after anyone who dares speak out against the dear leader Obama. You are so blinded by Liberal ideology. The country will never be center left. We largely reject your beliefs. Even Obama had to reinvent himself into a moderate to get elected. He ran away from his Liberal record because he knows Americans would not vote for an radical Liberal like you.

    November 6, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  7. Dave

    Why does anyone belong to the GOP? Why does anyone belong to the Democratic party? Winston Churchill nailed it when he remarked anyone that is under 40 and a liberal doesn't have a heart and anyone over 40 and a liberal doesn't have a brain.
    The current GOP is in name only. The GOP was hijacked by the neo-cons when Bush Sr. rose to power and was forced into the VP slot by those who strongarmed Reagan into it (because he did not like him in the first place). That's when I became an independent. The Bush family and Clinton family are basically like a mafia. So glad they are no longer in power.

    November 6, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  8. Michael M, Phoenix AZ

    The "Greatest Generation" is dying off, the "baby boomers" which helped create this mess of an economy is aging, and folks, it is the age group 18-45 will decide how they want to save this country. There was an editorial in the AZ Republic this morning from a WW 2 vet, who basically stated that "If I had know what I know now, I would never have put myuself in harm's ay in the rer of a B-29 for 35 missions over Japan to defend my US Constitution." My answer to his statement is that apparently he does not understand what democracy is all about. I'm from that "war baby" so-called "silent generation", and a veteran, but I at least keep an open mind. Both my children are in that 18-34 age group and voted Obama as did I.

    November 6, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  9. Mike in Columbus

    Angry Marine...

    Think you have your helmet on a little too tight sweetie pie. Stick with one cup of coffee a day, and get some more fiber in your diet, and you will feel a whole lot better. The fiber will help you get rid of some of what you are full of. Also, try getting your information from a few other sources, rather than just fox news. Now turn that frown-upside-down, and look in the mirror and say, "I'm good enough, I'm getting smarter, and someday someone will like me." Hope that helps.

    November 6, 2008 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  10. Sarah, Kansas City, MO

    Get over Reagan. He has been out of office since 1988 and when he left office the country was in severe debt and running a large deficit. He would have made a great king but he was hardly a great president. And I voted for him for his second term. The republicans need a new leader and they need to politely tell the far right christianists to go away, they have wrecked the party. Because of them I could never consider voting for a republican for federal office.

    In order for the republicans to become winners again they are going to have move to the center and give up the religion stuff. Religion does not belong in government or politics. This stuff about the democrats having to move to the center from the left without the republicans doing same is a double standard. Most Americans are slightly left or right of center. When republicans only listen to far right and want to govern from there, there will only be continued abandonment of moderate republicans from the party. Not a good way to win elections.

    November 6, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  11. Ian

    That's right, keep reporting that there's really a difference between both parties. What is congress's approval rating again?

    November 6, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  12. justin

    Dear Values

    We will see a change, its just too bad it will be a change for the worse. Nothing good will come from an Obama Democratic administration. But there is a good chance I will be raising you and your family from the so called "Extra Money" money I have. Hey atleast I can say I am patriotic.

    November 6, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  13. Anita of georgia

    The republican party has very little to offer younger voters. The republican party benefit older voters that are mostly likely well establish. They caters to the rich and upper income people, or groups of supporters that vote on faith based issues or single issues, and most of all low information voters. The ones that will believe anything that will come out of the mouth of the candidates running for office. I can't believe some supporters could be so informed or maybe they want a reason for not being informed so they will have a reason for not voting for the other candidate, although they know the information is not true, but they repeat it anyway.

    November 6, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  14. Chris in NC

    A big part of the GOP melt-down is its refusal to move to the so-called "center". Some of you folks don't seem to understand that right wing extremism is no more appealing to the average American than the wackos on the far left. Yet the GOP leadership is so immersed in its own neo-conservative, theocratic/patriotic hype that it truly believes they are what's best for this country. That, my friends, is what you call out of touch with mainstream America, and mainstream America rejected that ideology in 2006, and now in 2008.

    November 6, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  15. indiePA

    If Palin is the new face of the Republican Party, they should (once again) be ashamed. The GOP has already foisted a folksy moron on the American voters once and she would do nothing but follow in the pattern. I'm sure she's a smart person, but she has not, for an instant shown me that she is professional enough to lead the U.S. back to the heights of diplomacy. If the party goes back to the far, far right, they will not attract anyone to support them except those who feel that religion should rule and individual rights should perish. Bad karma!

    November 6, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  16. paul (staunch Moderate)

    The GOP at one time stood for LESS government in our lives. Since the mid-90's it has been the party which interferes the MOST in our lives. They are the ones forcing their Protestant religious morals upon a country with a VAST host of religious beliefs.

    It used to stand for LOWER spending, yet for the last 10 years has DOUBLED the national debt and doubled deifict spending.

    They need some serious Diversity Training. The country is no longer a WASP majority – yet the convention and campaign rallies were filled with nothing but a SEA of white faces.

    They need to go back to fighting FOR freedom rather than fighting AGAINST it. It is the GOP who have fought rigorously to DENY a list of freedoms to a very large portion of the populace over the last 15 years.

    Those are just the basis of addressing a resurgance of the party.

    November 6, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  17. Old white chick for Obama

    Angry MArine,
    I am a white woman who voted for Obama. I was pro-McCain until his pick of Palin. Am I a racist? Am I a sexist?

    November 6, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  18. informed voter

    GOP needs to re invent itself. They don't seem to ralize that this country is not full of old white men and women who want to worship them. It is a country of diverse colors and cultures. It is a country of different religions. If they accept this and move away from neocons the likes of Hannity and Limbaugh. Move away from spreading hate speeches and towards solid financial policies. Embrace other religions while keeping personal ideologies out of it and focus on big issues while learning to live and let live. They could make a big comeback but they need to form a new base that is not evangelist idiots who think non christians are going to hell. The new base should be fiscal conservatives who talk about a free market economy.

    November 6, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  19. M. WINNERS

    Advise to the GOP for bringing the party back form the dead from one of their own...

    Ditch the "social conservative" and "family values" delusions that have been the divisive hallmark of the the party starting in the 80s. Like religion, praying and family-only decisions "normal" Americans want to keep those issues and their personal moral positions out of the public domain and political discourse.
    Instead, focus on running an efficient government with common sense regulation, modernizing our crumbling infrastructure, encouraging job creation thru "green technologies" and maintaining a strong military and LEAVE MY RELIGIOUS, PERSONAL AND FAMILY LIFE ISSUES TO ME.

    November 6, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  20. GOP

    The Republican Party must return to what it has always stood for and defended: The Constitution of the United States - which guarantees freedom and personal liberty to each American, their right to work and prosper. NO WHERE does it guarantee government hand outs! The GOP will fight like hell to keep it that way - count on it !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    November 6, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  21. D in MD

    Thank you Indiana Joe – No wonder Todd Palin looked so sour when McCain announced Obama was the winner. Todd knew what he was going home with…a sore loser. Oh my.

    November 6, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
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