[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/POLITICS/11/06/gop.identity.crisis/art.palinnext.ap.jpg 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.