Republicans face a huge challenge to keep the White House in 2008. The President has stood firm in his convictions, despite public opinion and the consequences to his legacy. After 8 years of George W. Bush, the nation is not only ready for a new president but for a new ideology.
It seems that Senator John McCain will be the eventual Republican candidate. As a moderate Republican McCain is the probably the candidate that offers the G.O.P. the best shot at winning come November. McCain probably has the best chance of appealing to independent voters and conservative Democrats.
This is a reality of Presidential politics. In order to win a candidate needs to keep the core support of the party, while appealing to independents and the 'swing' voters of the other major party.
This year the Democratic party has the instant appeal of a historic candidacy. If Senator Clinton is the nominee then America will have the chance to elect the first woman president. If Senator Obama is the nominee America will have the chance to elect the first African American president. There are Democrats who are offended at the notion that a win in November would come in part because of people simply voting for history. Despite this, the fact is there are people who will support a candidate of historic precedent. The are women who will vote for the first woman and African Americans who will vote for the first African American president. The fact that Clinton and Obama are both formidable candidates only makes supporting them easier.
In the face of this, in order to win in November the Republicans need to offer up a candidate who will appeal to those voters not inclined to vote for Clinton or Obama. They need to offer up someone moderate enough to appeal to Democrats and independent voters but there is a shameful reality. If the Republicans do win in the 2008 it will not only be because the candidate appealed to independents and conservative Democrats it will be because of what the candidate was not. Just as there are voters who will vote for the historic precedent of the Democratic ticket there will be voters who will vote for the Republican because it means not voting for a woman or an African American.
It's sad to think that there is an element of our society who can't or won't see past skin color or gender. It's tragic that this element will now lend its support to the Republican party and have their prejudices misrepresented as conservative values.
With a moderate candidate as the Republican nominee here is the opportunity for the party to reposition toward the center and to reconnect with the American people. Here is the chance for the Republican party to once again champion progressive ideals.
However, it is a shameful reality that a Republican victory would come in part due the prejudices of the American voter.
Cross posted at Papamoka Straight Talk