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I think the Republican Party is right now going through the Stages of Grief and is currently on Stage 2: Anger. I think they'll eventually get through this and come out better for it, just like the Dems did in the early 90s.
It will be interesting to see who emerges as the Republican Clinton.
It's probably not anyone who's currently in the public eye, even if the turn around occurs after two Dem wins, as opposed to the three straight that the Reps had from 1980-88. And if the turnaround doesn't occur until 2020, then it's of necessity someone not currently in the public eye.
The problem for the Reps is that, unlike the Dems in the late-80s, there isn't a Republican stable of governors with cross-party appeal in the way that the Dems had their Southern governors throughout the decade. They'll have to build up that stable before they can start remaking the party.
Many moons ago I was undergoing a political change. My brother was a campaign manager for a Republican candidate for Lite Gov, and a good friend of mine was working on a campaign for a Republican US House candidate. I was reading Neuhaus, First Things, and even the National Review.
But I soon realized I could never fit in with the people who were at the helm of the Republican Party in North Carolina. While I was not Pro-choice, I was not pro-life enough. While I supported gun rights, I also felt that some regulation was feasible and necessary. While I was pro-family, the things I heard about single-parent families made me cringe. While, at the time, I thought homosexuality was a sin, I could tolerate the things my brother's collegues were saying. And while I was a strong proponent of the Judeo-Christian tradition, saying the Lord's Prayer at a political rally just felt wrong.
I voted for Republicans on more than a few ocassions, but.... I watched the Republican Party move further to the right, and felt left in the dust, and REALLY glad I did not make any kind of public or official commitment to the party.
Now I am very comfortable with Alaska Democrats, who are essentially a tad more liberal than 1980s moderate Republicans.