Fight for the Soul of the GOP
Rand Paul a growing star in the Republican Party
Ted Cruz the face of the Conservative movement
Losing is Difficult but Learning From Losing is Essential
If the 2008 presidential campaign was about change and hope for the Democratic Party, then the 2016, Republicans should take out a page from their opponents playbook and re-create what has become a dying brand. President Obama has won the past two elections not because of the shear size of his base nor has he won because of any miraculous accomplishment achieved by either him or his party. No, he won because at the end of the day the democrats could coalesce around a single candidate and platform. His base wasn't overly excited by what he had done while in office but the threat of a republican rule was enough to drive them to the polls. It is no secret that the Democratic Party has taken a turn to the left and moderate democrats have all but lost any power that they once had over the electorate. Obama realized this and instead of doing as the political pundits encouraged him to do he buckled down, took his bruises and went as far left as no other political figure running for the office of the presidency has ever done. He did so because in the end he knew that going after independents or even moderate democrats would not land him the votes that would secure victory.
Most thought this was a disastrous move by an already unpopular president. They called him naïve and considered him too blinded by his own personal philosophy to not abandon what they considered an already sinking ship. In the end, his bold move proved to be successful causing the republicans to once again go back to the drawing board to see how he won an improbable victory. After all, if they couldn't defeat an unpopular president during a period of economic and foreign instability then how could they ever expect to win their way back into the White House?
Unfortunately, in 2012, they fell in the same trap that doomed them in 2008. It was just as clear in 2008, as it was in 2012 that the republicans would never accept someone who they deemed as too far left. McCain was a war hero but had spent his entire career bucking his own party. He took pride in his refusal to adhere to republican principles and in his arrogance believed that the conservative branch of the party was outdated and there only shot at winning was to elect him, a moderate that could entice independent voters to the republican side. At the end of the day conservatives stayed home and Obama won in a landslide.
Fast forward four years later and the conservatives were once again forced by their own party to choose between another four years for a president that they loathed or to vote for a Massachusetts Rhino, whose biggest accomplishment as Governor of Massachusetts was implementing Romneycare, basically a clone of Obamacare. The decision that the conservatives made in 2012, once again destroyed their chances of retaking the White House but this was only one lost battle, as the real prize was not retaking the White House but reclaiming the soul of the Republican Party.
The past two years have shown that their sacrifice was not done in vain. Most in the media took notice as more conservative politicians have begun the slow rise to prominence. Those like McCain were cast to the wayside and replaced by more conservative voices. Ted Cruz and Rand Paul are now the heirs to the new republican agenda. Creating a platform that has bolstered support among not only moderates but conservatives as well. They stopped basing their principles off of the golden calf, Ronald Reagan and, instead, focused on the ideas that made him the poster child for conservatism. A common belief has emerged and has once again energized the party. Will this be enough to lead them to victory over Hillary Clinton in 2016? Who knows, as only time will tell and there is so much that can happen in two years that could change the whole dynamic of the election but as of right now for the first time in a long time the Republican Party is heading into the election excited.