Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Republicans Stung by Loss Foresee Divisive Debate

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Republicans Stung by Loss Foresee Divisive Debate

Article excerpt

It was the morning of the Republican hangover.

After four years in which the jobless rate never dipped below 7.8 percent, with millions of Americans still unemployed or underemployed and median household income falling, Republicans still failed to unseat President Barack Obama and, for the second election in a row, fell short in their efforts to win control of a Senate that seemed within reach. The Wednesday-morning quarterbacking began quickly.

Texas Sen. John Cornyn, the National Republican Senatorial Committee chairman, captured the feelings of many Republicans when he said in a statement, "We have a period of reflection and recalibration ahead for the Republican Party."

"While some will want to blame one wing of the party over the other," Mr. Cornyn said in a statement, "the reality is candidates from all corners of our GOP lost tonight. Clearly we have work to do in the weeks and months ahead."

There was no shortage of theories -- sometimes contradictory -- from inside and outside party in the first hours after the 2012 elections.

Some analysts and GOP strategists argued that the party could not win while alienating the growing Hispanic vote with its tough stance on immigration, could no longer afford to nominate candidates who fired up its conservative and Tea Party wings but turned off more moderate general election voters, and that it had to find ways to win more support from women and young voters.

But some conservatives took the opposite view, arguing that Mitt Romney had been essentially too moderate, a candidate who had won the minds if not the hearts of the party's base. But a number of party strategists who have worked on recent presidential campaigns argued that demography is destiny, and that Republicans were falling out of step with a changing nation.

GOP strategist John Weaver, who worked on the presidential campaigns of Sen. John McCain and Jon M. Huntsman Jr., has long argued that the party's reliance on the votes of older white men was putting it on a demographically unsustainable path.

"We have a choice: we can become a shrinking regional party of middle-aged and older white men, or we can fight to become a national governing party," Mr. …

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