A Long, Bitter Winter for the GOP

It’s time for the GOP to do some soul-searching.

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If all the predictions are correct, Democrats will clean up in Virginia and Chris Christie will rock ‘n roll in New Jersey.

Is this another wake-up call for the Republican Party? After 2012, after shutdown politics and after the devastating impact of the Cruz wing of the party, it all seems pretty obvious. More over-the-top candidates spell defeat for the Republicans.

Rep. Peter King, R.-N.Y., specifically suggests targeting Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz with such pithy slogans as: "Ted Cruz cost the economy $24 billion" and "Ted Cruz forced the Republican Party to its lowest levels ever." (Can Democrats steal those?)

[See a collection of editorial cartoons on Ted Cruz.]

In Virginia, it will be interesting to watch the margins in the governor's race and lt. governor's race, but also whether or not Democrats sweep the Attorney General's contest and pick up seats in the legislature. How extensive is the blowback to extreme right wing candidates at the top of the ticket and down ballot?

In New Jersey, does Christie have any pull in the races for state legislative seats or is this just a Christie-factor?

What many wise Republicans may be looking at are the latest Gallup numbers on the tea party. Nationally, the percentage of people identifying with the tea party has dropped ten points from 2010, down to 22 percent. That number is still nothing to sneeze at, especially given the ferocity of that group within the Republican Party.

[See a collection of political cartoons on the Republican Party.]

However, in 2010, 65 percent of Republicans said they supported the tea party and that number has dropped almost 30 points to 38 percent. Still, that is four-in-ten Republicans who are still committed. And they certainly yell the loudest.

On issues such as gay and lesbian rights, immigration and the harsh tactics of shutting down the government, will there be a resurgence of the regular Republicans like Peter King and Chris Christie or will Ted Cruz and his tea party crowd call the shots?

It is hard to imagine that the Republican Party is not in for a long and bitter winter.

  • Read Susan Milligan: Why Chris Christie's Popularity in New Jersey Will Hurt Him in 2016
  • Read Jamie Stiehm: Was the Assassination of John F. Kennedy Just an Accident?
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