Is it too early to be thinking about the 2010 elections?
The answer that you would probably get if you asked the general public that question would be a resounding yes. But for the Republican Party, a new election cycle and a chance to wipe the slate clean can’t come soon enough.
At best, the 2008 election will be looked back upon as an off year, and, at worst, a disaster for the party. Personally, I prefer to think positively but there is just no way around this one, we got beat — and badly.
Nationally, the presidency went to a Democrat, the Congress stayed with Democrats, and as soon as a couple of conservative leaning judges take off from the Supreme Court, it would be reasonable to expect that the judiciary will begin to tilt to the left.
And that’s just at the national level — don’t get me started here in Colorado. Consider this — In 2000 Colorado had a Republican Governor, the state legislature remained in Republican hands, both Senate seats were held by Republicans and five of Colorado’s seven House districts were held by Republicans, too.
Now, only eight years later, the picture has drastically changed. Democrats hold the Governorship, the State Legislature, both Senate seats, and five of Colorado’s seven house districts.
Obviously Colorado wanted change, and boy did we get it.
Looking at the result of the last election you can’t help but ask the question, has our country moved toward the left when it has always been considered a center right nation? The answer: not even close.
Yes, the Republican Party got beat, with voters handing Democrats victories almost all across the board, but when you look at specific issues that came up on ballots across the nation, conservative ideals were upheld.
Take Proposition 8 that was on the ballot in California as an example.
As you may or may not know, this measure would define marriage as between a man and a woman in the California state constitution.
Now if there is any state in which you would expect this measure to fail, it would be California, but the end result — 52% of Californians voted to pass the amendment. California was not the only one either; Arizona and Florida both passed constitutional amendments of their own.
My point — all is not lost for conservatism in the United States; the Republican Party just needs to get on board.
This backlash against the Republican Party did not stem from some rooted disbelief in conservative ideals such as smaller government or traditional moral values, but instead was a vote of no confidence in the Republican Party as it is made up right now.
Even President-elect Barack Obama had to steal a page out of the conservative playbook by promising tax cuts for the masses to get elected.
So what can the Republican Party do to regain the confidence and eventually votes of the American public? Get back to the basics in word and deed.
Over the next few years Democrats, and specifically the far-leftists who got them elected (including another staff columnist, whose crowning journalistic achievement for the liberal movement will always be his use of the word f*** — I’ll let you guess who) will attempt to push their liberal agenda through at the national and state level, and the Republican Party must be there as the loyal opposition.
If the Democrats push too far to the left, the Republican Party must be there to respond with belief in the American individual and a fundamental wariness toward big government bureaucracy and the ills that accompany far-reaching government regulation.
If the Republican Party can simply live up to its stated principles, the votes from this center-right nation will follow, and in a not-to-distant future we could see the tides begin to change.
But only time will tell.
Caleb Thornton is a senior political science major. His column appears Thursdays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.