There is an old saying in politics: Democrats fall in love, while Republicans fall in line.
From 1952 through 2007 (with the exception 1964) the Republicans had only three names on their Presidential ticket. That’s almost 55 years with either “Nixon”, “Dole” or “Bush” on the Republican Presidential ballot.
- 1952 Dwight Eisenhower / Richard Nixon (R) vs. Adlai Stevenson / John Sparkman (D)
- 1956 Dwight Eisenhower / Richard Nixon (R) vs. Adlai Stevenson / John Sparkman (D)
- 1960 John F. Kennedy / Lyndon Johnson (D) vs. Richard Nixon / Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. (R)
- 1964 Lyndon Johnson / Hubert Humphrey (D) vs. Barry Goldwater / William Miller (R)
- 1968 Richard Nixon / Spiro Agnew (R) vs. Hubert Humphrey / Edmund Muskie (D) and George Wallace / Curtis LeMay (American Independent)
- 1972 Richard Nixon / Spiro Agnew (R) vs. George McGovern / Sargent Shriver (D)
- 1976 Jimmy Carter / Walter Mondale (D) vs. Gerald Ford / Bob Dole (R)
- 1980 Ronald Reagan / George H.W. Bush (R) vs. Jimmy Carter / Walter Mondale (D)
- 1984 Ronald Reagan / George H.W. Bush (R) vs. Walter Mondale / Geraldine Ferraro (D)
- 1988 George H.W. Bush / Dan Quayle (R) vs. Michael Dukakis / Lloyd Bentsen (D)
- 1992 Bill Clinton / Al Gore (D) vs. George H.W. Bush / Dan Quayle
- 1996 Bill Clinton / Al Gore (D) vs. Bob Dole / Jack Kemp (R)
- 2000 George W. Bush / Dick Cheney (R) vs. Al Gore / Joe Lieberman (D)
- 2004 George W. Bush / Dick Cheney (R) vs. John Kerry / John Edwards (D)
Republicans used to dominate national politics. During the years 1968 - 1992 the Republicans won the Presidential popular vote five out of six times. Two Republican Presidential candidates won 49 states, Nixon in 1972 and Reagan in 1984.
Since then the Democrats have won five out of six Presidential popular votes (The asterisk being 2000, when Al Gore received 500,000 more votes than George W. Bush, yet lost the Electoral College).
The last Republican we had representing the North Coast in Congress was Frank Riggs in 1996. In 1998 Democrat Mike Thompson won the Congressional seat until Jared Huffman (D) won the newly redistricted 2nd Congressional seat in 2012.
State Assemblyman Wesley Chesbro (D) took office in 2008. Prior to that we had Democrats Patty Berg, Virginia Strom-Martin, and Dan Hauser. The last Republican to represent us in the California Assembly was Stan Staham in 1992.
On the State Senate side, Democrat Noreen Evans took office in 2010. Prior to Senator Evans we were represented by Democrats Pat Wiggins, Wesley Chesbro, Mike Thompson and Barry Keane. Peter Behr was the last Republican to represent the North Coast in State Senate in 1978.
So what happened?
Some have suggested changing the acronym G.O.P. from “Grand Old Party” to “Growth & Opportunity Party” or “Great Opportunity Party”.
“Grand” is not a word anyone uses today unless they are referring to a street name or a type of piano and “old” is a negative perception of their voters that the Republican Party needs desperately to move away from.
Think of the oil company BP, that morphed from “British Petroleum” to “Beyond Petroleum” after the Gulf oil spill.
To put the 2016 Presidential race in perspective, the Democrats are courting the left and center, while the Republicans have gone further to the right. A 2012 Washington Post poll had 30% of Republicans considering themselves to be “Tea Party” while another 20% considered themselves “Religious Right”.
This is why it’s going to be difficult for a moderate Republican Presidential candidate like New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to break out of the pack. It all starts in Iowa and the Republican Presidential candidates have to appeal to the Iowa Tea Party activists.
Keep in mind that when Frank Luntz, the national pollster interviewed 26 Iowa caucus voters in early 2012, half of them thought President Obama was a Muslim. To which Luntz said, “You realize what the media is going to say?”
Can you imagine what they would say about Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal? “He looks like one of them foreigners.” “Probably another Muslim.”
Although former Florida Governor Jeb Bush is a moderate, I believe the country has had its fill of Bush.
Donald Trump – two words: “You’re Fired!”
Sarah Palin – not smarter than a 5th Grader.
Michelle Bachman – Religious zealot married to a gay man. Called the “Queen of Mean” by Newsweek. She thought it was a compliment.
Herman Cain - the former pizza guy who couldn’t even name foreign countries.
Rick Santorum - lost his last Senate race by 18 points, the largest loss by a Senate incumbent in 40 plus years.
Ron Paul – has solid support from 5% of the voters.
Rand Paul - son of Ron Paul and a Tea Party Kentucky Senator.
Rick Perry – couldn’t remember the third department of the government he was going to eliminate. He was only polling at 4% in the Republican primaries when that happened.
Newt Gingrich – quit Congress in 1999 with 84 ethics charges. His entire campaign staff quit mid-campaign 2012 over “creative differences”.
Mitt Romney – “Mitt” named after the god of hedge funds has solid support to run again in 2016… from the Democrats.
And let’s not forget my personal favorite, Phil Davidson, who ran for Stark County (Ohio) Treasurer:
What can the Republicans do to turn around a party that used to win elections? How about getting serious candidates to deal with the serious issues our county has, and keep the circus off of TV?