Reeling conservatives face ‘recalibration’ at their core

Republicans reassess makeup, tactics, war image

  • Former U.S. Sen. Scott Brown (left), Massachusetts Republican, hugs his wife, Gail Huff, at the conclusion of his concession speech Nov. 6, 2012, at an Election Night watch party in a hotel in Boston. Brown lost to Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren in his bid for re-election. (Associated Press)Former U.S. Sen. Scott Brown (left), Massachusetts Republican, hugs his wife, Gail Huff, at the conclusion of his concession speech Nov. 6, 2012, at an Election Night watch party in a hotel in Boston. Brown lost to Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren in his bid for re-election. (Associated Press)
  • Rep. Todd Akin, Missouri Republican and U.S. Senate candidate, is backed by family members as he concedes to Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill on Nov. 6, 2012, in Chesterfield, Mo. (Associated Press)Rep. Todd Akin, Missouri Republican and U.S. Senate candidate, is backed by family members as he concedes to Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill on Nov. 6, 2012, in Chesterfield, Mo. (Associated Press)
  • Mitt Romney campaign volunteer Lynn Short (right) and a supporter who wished not to be identified react as they watch presidential election returns at a GOP watch party on Nov. 6, 2012, in Las Vegas. (Associated Press)Mitt Romney campaign volunteer Lynn Short (right) and a supporter who wished not to be identified react as they watch presidential election returns at a GOP watch party on Nov. 6, 2012, in Las Vegas. (Associated Press)
  • Gail Bowman of St. Louis reacts Nov. 6, 2012, after hearing that Todd Akin, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Missouri, lost to Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill during Akin's watch party in Chesterfield, Mo. (Associated Press)Gail Bowman of St. Louis reacts Nov. 6, 2012, after hearing that Todd Akin, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Missouri, lost to Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill during Akin's watch party in Chesterfield, Mo. (Associated Press)
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Evangelicals, a mainstay in the conservative coalition that helped elect previous GOP candidates such as Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, did not come out in the numbers required to put Mr. Romney over the top in swing states this year.

The internal bloodletting likely will force the Republican National Committee to move its January meeting to elect the party chairman far away from Washington and its myriad consultants and interest-group pressures.

Some will blame RNC Chairman Reince Priebus for the electoral setback Tuesday and demand that he be replaced, possibly with a Hispanic woman, despite the party’s long hostility to so-called identity politics as practiced by Democrats.

“Injecting gender and ethnicity into choosing our party’s leadership is dangerous because, as conservatives, we must judge people not on their sex and national heritage but on their values, character, skills — in other words, their merit,” said Oregon Republican National Committee member Solomon Yue.

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About the Author
Ralph Z. Hallow

Ralph Z. Hallow

Chief political writer Ralph Z. Hallow served on the Chicago Tribune, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Washington Times editorial boards, was Ford Foundation Fellow in Urban Journalism at Northwestern University, resident at Columbia University Editorial-Page Editors Seminar and has filed from Berlin, Bonn, London, Paris, Geneva, Vienna, Amman, Beirut, Cairo, Damascus, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Belgrade, Bucharest, Panama and Guatemala.

 

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