Many pundits have written the tea party movement's obituary and are adamant in their belief that a shift in the nation's demographic composition spells doom for Republicans unless conservative ideas are abandoned.
But there is one way to bring a GOP that seems to reflect primarily the political philosophy of the deep South to a position that is palatable to an entire nation -- and without the prolonged bloodshed that actually crippled Mitt Romney's effort to defeat President Obama. The answer would be to start the Republican GOP contest even deeper in the South -- all the way to Florida.
The idea that an Iowa caucus and primaries in New Hampshire and South Carolina drain millions of dollars, exact all types of statements and positions taken in the heat of these battles, and cause potentially permanent rifts among Republican and conservative voters is truly amazing. Iowa's a great state, and so is New Hampshire -- but the fight for their delegates has created a cottage industry that arises every four years. And, for those who know the truth about this past year's fight for the GOP nomination, they led to bad blood and ill will that may well have contributed to another lost bid for the White House.
As for South Carolina, the state is larger and the "industry" is less important, but it can now no longer be said that a candidate must win South Carolina to win the Republican nomination. Newt Gingrich won South Carolina but could not survive the onslaught of negative ads and the massive need for organization and money necessary to win Florida.
It's a terrible thing to realize the huge amount of funds needed to run for president in our day and time. But it is a reality, along with the fact that any candidate who actually hopes to not only win a Republican nomination but the actual presidency must have a real and "social media" organization of world-class caliber to have any chance at all of capturing the White House.
To put it bluntly, it's time for the Republican Party to let the Democrats play games in the snow or learn how to eat grits overnight and start a move toward letting the big boys and girls who want to be president play in a big-time arena. For goodness sakes, start the GOP nomination contest off in what continues to be the nation's bellwether for a November presidential showdown: Florida.
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