Maybe the National Republican Party should hold all of its major elections on February 2nd from now on. Former House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy’s election as Majority Leader yesterday proves once again that every election is Groundhog Day for the GOP.
The natural instinct for the GOP after an election is to always appoint the next in line, win or lose. In this case, McCarthy was the guy. The problem with this approach is that it has not worked in a decade because Republicans have only defeated the Democrats once in national elections since 2004 and suffered major defeats in the other contests. Democrats, on the other hand, are not afraid to take bold action in order to reverse their fortunes. Republicans laughed when Howard Dean became Democratic National Committee Chairman in 2005 and mocked then-Senator Barack Obama as “the biggest celebrity on the world” during the 2008 Presidential Election Campaign. The GOP went on to suffer two of the worst losses in their history.
The cold truth is the GOP remains out of touch with their constituents and is more responsive to the concerns of their special interest groups. This attitude is the biggest reason why Cantor became the first Majority Leader in history to lose his own primary. But McCarthy does not seem bothered by this because last week he assured a group of lobbyists assembled by the Chamber of Commerce at Capital Grille that nothing will really change despite Cantor’s absence. So expect more corporate welfare and a perhaps another push on immigration despite the chaos along the border.
There are many thoughtful Republican writers and strategists who understand that their party needs new leaders, an actual agenda, and to demonstrate an ability to connect with the concerns of everyday Americans. With Democrats poised to appoint Hillary Clinton as their nominee in 2016, finding candidates and elected officials who understand this is critical to even having a shot at winning.
Until this happens, Groundhog Day will play on and Republicans will continue to lose elections.