It seems that after every Presidential election, there’s some who predict the demise of the losing party. This year this often hopeful predication seems even more prevalent than usual. A little historical perspective is in order.
In 1964 the GOP ran a “radical” candidate, Barry Goldwater. He got shellacked, even though his libertarian-oriented platform seems rather bland by today’s standards — certainly more centrist than Ron Paul’s positions. Naturally the nation’s pundits often confidently predicted that this defeat spelled the end of the GOP.
Did the Grand Old Party fold up and disappear? Apparently not.
Let’s compare the Goldwater massacre with Obama’s election.
In 1964, incumbent President Lyndon Johnson trounced Republican Barry Goldwater, receiving a remarkable 61.1% of the national popular vote. Johnson beat Goldwater by an amazing 22.6% margin.
In 2012, incumbent President Barack Obama defeated Republican Mitt Romney, gaining 50.8% of the national vote — winning by a 3.3% margin. A solid win, but not exactly a landslide victory.
Now consider the political composition of the U.S. House and Senate after the 1964 election, compared to today.
In 1965-67, Democrats dominated the U.S. Senate by a 68-32 margin. They ruled the House of Representatives by a similar margin — 256 Democrats to 176 Republicans.
While the outcome of some close 2012 House and Senate elections may vary current figures, it appears that the Democrats have a 54-45 majority in the Senate. However, the GOP holds a solid 234 to 199 advantage in the House of Representatives — and all of those House elections were held in 2012. Moreover, the vaunted “Obama effect” in 2012 cost the GOP only 6 net positions out of the 435 House seats.
Moreover, the GOP holds 30 of the 50 state governorships (or 57 states, if Obama is to be believed).
So do those 2012 numbers sound “taps” for the GOP? I think not.
Don’t get me wrong. The Republican Party has SERIOUS problems. Many of the “inclusiveness” criticisms of the party are valid — other complaints are not, but such is life.
My point is that nationally the GOP is very much a viable, competitive party. And I expect the Democrat legislators to suffer the usual “off year” election losses in 2014, further strengthening the GOP brand and image.
Remember: Four years after Goldwater’s crushing defeat, the “dead” GOP won the 1968 Presidential election (with Richard Nixon, unfortunately, but that’s another matter).
And BTW, California IS doomed. I see no hope. (Just thought I’d throw that in.)