Monday, November 03, 2014

Is the nearly extinct Northeast species of Republicans being brought back from the brink?

I once did a post about the demise of New England Republicans. It seemed like they were gone for good. But could it be they are making a comeback?

Return of the Northeastern Republican
[...] Republican political operatives say the gains the GOP is set to make are due to a convergence of causes. There is the fact that in the wave election year that 2014 seems poised to become, the party could win in even the most unexpected of places. There is the fact that in many of these states Democratic legislatures are entrenched, and voters are looking for a counterweight.

And finally, there is the fact that most of the culture wars have reached a stalemate. In Massachusetts, for example, Baker is running as a pro-choice, pro same-sex marriage Republican nominee. Other Republicans are similarly downplaying these hot-button issues of old, and pollsters say most voters see them now as settled matters. And so if two candidates are a wash on matters of civil rights, why not go for the guy who is going to cut your taxes?

“Republicans have just been putting together a more coherent message of change in New England,” said Will Ritter, a Republican political operative who worked on a number of statewide races in Massachusetts. “The Democrats’ message is what—‘Hey, it is not so bad?’ People look to candidates who have a business background, or at least have conservative underpinnings, when it looks like budgets are going off the rails.”

The major question for the Republican Party going forward is what all these Yankee newcomers will mean for its direction. The GOP has been at odds with itself as it tries to decide how to appeal to a diverse and changing electorate, and some Republicans think a handful of new voices from states not necessarily of the reddest hue could help the eventual 2016 presidential nominee.

“It takes a lot of Democrats to elect a Republican in one of these places,” said John McLaughlin, a Republican pollster. “You can’t win otherwise. You broaden your base, you broaden your message, it shows that you really want to get things done. And we need do to that, not just racially but demographically.”
But will the Republican party welcome these blue-state Republicans, or will they shoot themselves in the foot (again!) by declaring them to be RHINOs and try to drum them out of the party with social issues litmus tests, insuring that the Republican Party remains small, with only limited appeal to a small minority of the vast demographic of voters? You can be sure that the latter is what the Democrats are hoping and praying for.

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