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Posted by on Feb 6, 2013 in Politics | 5 comments

The Republican Base Problem

Cliff Owen/Associated Press

The Republican Party has a base problem that may have already cost them control of the Senate.  There was Todd Akin and Richard Murdoch in 2012 – Sharron Angle and Christine O’Donnell in 2010 who were able to win primaries but unable to win general elections because they were just- well crazy.  Establishment Republicans are trying to stop the bleeding but they have a problem in Iowa.

The Republican Party may be dealt another far-right candidate in a potentially competitive U.S. Senate race if a poll released Tuesday is any indication.

Rep. Steve King (R-IA) is the favorite among Iowa Republicans to run in next year’s contest to replace retiring Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), according to the latest survey from Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling. The poll showed 41 percent of usual GOP primary voters in the state identifying King as their preferred candidate over three other Republicans. Rep. Tom Latham (R-IA) was a distant second with 22 percent support among Hawkeye State Republicans. Neither King nor Latham so far has declared an intention to run.

Some conservatives, including a new group backed by political operative Karl Rove, have warned recently that nominating King would put Republicans in the same bind they found themselves in the previous two cycles, when the party squandered prime pick-up opportunities in Senate races by fielding candidates who turned out to be too extreme for voters.

Doug Mataconis:

The problem for the GOP is two fold. First, Iowa’s Congressional Primary’s are closed, which means that the electorate will be restricted to a Republican electorate that tends to be more conservative than the state as a whole. Additionally, King’s popularity among Christian and Tea Party groups is likely to be a boon to him in a primary race where voter turnout is likely to be low. Second, of all the potential GOP Senate candidates in 2014, King is clearly the furthest to the right and the one most likely to commit an unforced error like the ones committed by Todd Akin and Richard Murdoch.

This is a problem created by the Republican Party but to a greater extent  the conservative media machine – think FOX news and talkers like Limbaugh.  They encouraged the paranoia of the already paranoid and suddenly the lunatics had taken over the asylum.

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  • zephyr

    I’m sure many republicans would like to blame it all on the tea party at this point but that’s a cop out. Thier problems go deeper. If the GOP isn’t thinking in terms of a major transformation by now they still don’t get it. Self examination is rarely easy and so far they’ve been good at avoiding it.

  • The_Ohioan

    Just as Harlem voted for Adam Clayton Powell through thick and thin, Iowans are perfectly capable of picking who they want for a Senate race. If they are inordinately fond of FOX and Rush Limbaugh, they will choose based on their recommendations. The Dems problem will be in coming up with a candidate Iowans will approve.

    Until the GOP reforms FOX and friends the problem will belong to all of us. I’d think it would be cheaper to buy Rush’s contract from Clear Channel Communications (it runs through 2016) than to spend money combating candidates like King.

  • clarkma5

    Open primaries, independent processes for congressional redistricting, campaign finance reform! *leans back and dreams of what could be*

  • slamfu

    The GOP base of today is comprised of morons who don’t use facts to make decisions, and are easily manipulated with fake information that “seems right”. I site as evidence for this the GOP primary for the last election. I also site the massive popularity of conservative talk radio and FOX news who are well known and documented for spreading misinformation, ill informed opinions, and just plain weirdness out of left field. When the tens of MILLIONS of people who fit into that category are ready to play in the real world instead of their make believe one, the GOP can start getting back to being a real party.

  • zephyr

    A good example of what slamfu is talking about would the utter shock on the part of so many “conservatives” when Obama trounced Romney last November. They seemed to believe it was somehow their turn and couldn’t imagine there wouldn’t be enough people who hated Obama as much as they did. (Of course these were also the same people who believed Sarah Palin was a superhero when she arrived on the scene.) This is what a political party looks like when it starts morphing from a grouping of people with similar ideologies into something more like a cult.

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