Republicans Need To Find Their Clinton, Says Beachler

“The question for a defeated party is ‘what, if anything should we change?’ Usually the first time a party loses it often makes the wrong choice. The democrats might say ‘we weren’t liberal enough’ and the conservatives say ‘we were not conservative enough.’ So it often takes two or three elections for a party to figure out a new strategy,” says Donald Beachler, associate professor of politics.

He cites the British election of 1979 as a prime example. When the labor party lost to Thatcher, they decided, under Labour Leader Michael Foot, that they were not far enough left. In 1983 they ended up being obliterated; they lost again to conservative Margaret Thatcher. “Someone called the 1983 Labour Party manifesto the world’s longest suicide note,” said Beachler.

”Most elections are won in the middle. So the question for the Republican party is who will be their Clinton? Clinton made the Democratic Party more acceptable to middle America. He took such issues as crime and welfare off the Republican agenda. You will notice there was no talk of welfare or crime in this presidential campaign. So Clinton won over the middle on issues that had deeply alienated parts of middle America. None of the candidates that we saw in this primary —Romney, Huckabee or Palin—are center-right candidates. So who do the republicans have that can make them sell in the middle? ” said Beachler.

Known as the encyclopedia of Congress around the Politics Department, Beachler has written on labor unions and American politics. He also numerous papers and articles on Congress, public policy, social security reforms and proposals, social security as the third rail in politics, the long-term viability of social security, federal taxes and the budget, elections, voter turnout, as well as politics and race.

Beachler co-authored Winning the White House 2004. His chapter “Ordinary Events and Extraordinary Times: The 2002 Congressional Elections” appeared in Transformed by Crisis: The Presidency of George W. Bush and American Politics.

Originally published in News Releases: Republicans Need To Find Their Clinton, Says Beachler.

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