The Campaign Spot

The GOP’s Problem Is Not Merely One Faction

One problem with the “the problem with the GOP is this wing or faction” analysis is that every brand of Republican lost a winnable race Tuesday.

Tea Party enthusiasts have to come to grips with Richard Mourdock losing a winnable Senate race in Indiana and Mia Love losing a winnable House race in Utah.  At this hour, Florida Rep. Allen West is down seven tenths of a percentage point, 2,429 votes, in his bid for another term in Congress.

But it not just Tea Party stalwarts who lost. Linda McMahon’s attempt to persuade Connecticut voters she was really an “independent” candidate didn’t work, and Scott Brown, perhaps the least conservative Republican in the Senate, lost to Elizabeth Warren, a flawed candidate in Massachusetts. The least conservative Republican in the House, Illinois’ Bob Dold, also lost.

Old? New? Didn’t matter. Old reliable retired governors, George Allen and Tommy Thompson, lost winnable Senate races in Virginia and Wisconsin. The fresh face of Josh Mandel failed to carry the day in Ohio’s Senate race, and political newcomer Tom Smith disappointed in Pennsylvania’s Senate race.

Social conservatives will be avoiding eye contact upon the mention of the name “Todd Akin” for years. But few of the Republicans who ran in New England were staunch social conservatives, and the GOP got swept in that region’s House races, too.

I notice that much of the discussion this week has been driven by the traditional refrain, “the reason the GOP is losing is all of you, the solution is me and people like me.” The results point to the problem as being something more fundamental – party-wide – rather than one faction or another turning off the electorate at large.

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