The Republican Party may not be extreme after all

The GOP will nominate a Mormon from Massachusetts as their presidential candidate and a congressman from Wisconsin as his running-mate. It's a party in transition. Photo: Associated Press

WASHINGTON, D.C., August 28, 2012 — Who would have thought four years ago that the Republican Party will nominate a Mormon from Massachusetts as their presidential candidate, a young congressman from Wisconsin as the vice-presidential nominee, and a New Jersey governor as their keynote speaker? Yet, here we are.

The GOP is a party in transition, but it appears to be slowly branching out of its southern roots into the West, South-West and Midwest. Some of its convention speakers include:

*Mia Love: A 36 year old African-American Mormon running for Congress in Utah. If she wins, she will be the first black Republican woman in Congress.

*Gov. Susana Martinez (R-NM): The first Latina governor in the country. With a 60% approval rating in a blue state, she is one of the most popular governors in the country.

*Gov. Nikki Haley (R-SC): The first female governor of South Carolina and the second Indian-American governor in the country.

*Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ): The convention’s keynote speaker and also one of the most popular governors in the country. According to a recent Fairleigh Dickinson University poll, Christie has a 56% approval rating in the state of New Jersey.

*Gov. Bob McDonnell (R-VA): Also one of the most popular governors in the country. The latest Quinnipiac poll shows that he has a 53% approval rating in the state of Virginia.

If the speakers above are any indication of what the future of the GOP looks like, it does not appear to be a party that has been taken over by Tea Party extremists as many argue.

Certainly, the party’s most conservative legislators are in the House of Representatives. A current member of the House Republican Caucus is more conservative than that average Republican voter. By the same token, a current member of the House Democratic Caucus is probably more liberal than the average Democratic voter.

That’s just the nature of the House of Representatives. Its members tend to be more partisan and ideological. They are only there for two years at a time, so they want to make their mark quickly, and as a consequence, they tend to be louder, less loyal to the party, more passionate, and intransigent.

By and large, the Republican Party is still a center-right party. Many of its members may hold some views that are outside the mainstream, its party platform may include some ideas that many Americans are not in favor of, but the Party’s governors and senators govern within the mainstream of American politics.

Nevertheless, the Republican Party still has a long way to go to repair its Party brand. It has to convince women, Hispanics, young voters, and African Americans that it is a party that welcomes them.

As the new leader of the party, Gov. Mitt Romney will have to lead the charge. His convention speech will give us a better indication of the future of the Party.


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Ayobami Olugbemiga

Ayobami Olugbemiga is a Political Sales Team Leader at NCC Media where he develops Cable TV advertising schedules for political candidates and interest groups. An award-winning collegiate journalist, Ayobami received his Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and is currently pursuing his Master’s degree in Political Management from George Washington University’s Graduate School of Political Management. 

In 2013, he was honored by the Society of Professional Journalists with a Mark of Excellence Award for Online Opinion and Commentary. Follow Ayobami on twitter at @ayobamiao


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