Future of the GOP

March 20, 2009 • Volume 19, Issue 11
Can Republicans stage a comeback?
By Alan Greenblatt

Introduction

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele makes a point on Meet the Press (Getty Images/Meet the Press/Alex Wong)
Former Lt. Gov. Michael Steele of Maryland is the first African-American to head the Republican Party, reflecting the GOP's nascent efforts to broaden its appeal, especially to minorities and young voters. (Getty Images/Meet the Press/Alex Wong)

Last November's sweeping election of Barack Obama and further losses in Congress presented Republicans with their worst defeat in more than a decade. Republicans recognize that they are at a low ebb but believe they still have a firm foundation for success. Congressional Republicans have decided to oppose Obama's spending proposals, rather than trying to collaborate in a bipartisan fashion. They believe a clear statement of core party principles — lower taxes and limited government — will still be popular. Others aren't convinced, arguing that the party must adapt to challenges it faces among minorities, the young and voters outside the South. Other parties have snapped back quickly from similar losses, but some predict that Republicans face a long period in the political wilderness. Meanwhile, it's not clear who speaks for the party — the congressional leadership, potential presidential aspirants such as Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, or even radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Political Parties
Oct. 13, 2017  Future of the Democratic Party
Sep. 09, 2016  Populism and Party Politics
Nov. 14, 2014  Nonprofit Groups and Partisan Politics
Oct. 24, 2014  Future of the GOP
Feb. 28, 2014  Polarization in America
Mar. 19, 2010  Tea Party Movement Updated
Mar. 20, 2009  Future of the GOP
Jun. 08, 2007  Democrats in Congress
Apr. 30, 2004  The Partisan Divide
Dec. 22, 1995  Third-Party Prospects
Jan. 11, 1985  Post-1984 Political Landscape
Nov. 09, 1984  Democratic Revival in South America
Sep. 14, 1984  Election 1984
Dec. 19, 1980  Future of the Democratic Party
Sep. 29, 1978  New Right in American Politics
Jan. 04, 1974  Future of Conservatism
May 03, 1972  The New Populism
Feb. 02, 1956  Foreign Policy in Political Campaigns
Dec. 22, 1954  Divided Government
Aug. 04, 1952  Two-Party System
Jun. 06, 1952  Party Platforms
Sep. 05, 1951  Southern Democrats and the 1952 Election
Oct. 06, 1948  Voting in 1948
Aug. 27, 1948  Republicans and Foreign Policy
Jul. 16, 1947  Third Party Movements
Aug. 22, 1940  Political Realignments
Jan. 13, 1938  The G. O. P. and the Solid South
Jul. 22, 1936  Third Party Movements in American Politics
Jul. 07, 1936  The Monopoly Issue in Party Politics
Nov. 12, 1935  Party Platforms and the 1936 Campaign
May 18, 1934  Political Trends and New Party Movements
Jan. 13, 1932  National Party Platforms, 1832–1932
May 16, 1928  Third Party Movements
Jan. 21, 1928  Major Party Platforms 1924–1928
Nov. 14, 1924  The Election and the Third Party
Sep. 05, 1924  Party Claims and Past Political Complexion of the States
Jun. 25, 1924  Third Party Platforms
Jun. 18, 1924  Thrid Parties: Past and Prospective
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Party Politics