If Republicans lose in 2016 it will be the sixth time in seven straight presidential contests the party will have lost the popular vote, according to Democratic strategist James Carville. Thus, if they hope to remain a party of influence, he said on This Week With George Stephanopoulos, they better win in 2016:
“The party knows -- and I use this word advisedly -- that if it loses the 2016 presidential election, the Republican Party as we know it today will be extinct.”
Fellow roundtable panelist Laura Ingraham quickly chimed in that Democratic strategists peddled the same talking point back in 2008, only to be proven wrong. How quickly we forget that Republican candidates cleaned up during the 2010 midterm elections, picking up scores of House seats (regaining majority control of that chamber) and a handful of Senate seats, too. Remember, this was only two years after Hope & Change swept the nation; public opinion, in other words, is fickle and impossible to predict.
But that doesn’t stop pundits from making sweeping predictions about the future of the Republican Party if they don’t win the next presidential election. Yes, if Republicans lose to Hillary (or whoever) in 2016, they may have to rethink their outreach efforts or perhaps their positions on certain issues -- but that’s a far cry from saying the party "will be extinct." Odds are that Republicans will control at least one chamber of Congress heading into 2016, if not both -- and may continue to do so after the elections are held. Does this sound like a party, then, that will be completely bereft of influence and power if they don't control the executive branch?
Republicans understand what’s at stake in 2016. Winning the presidency is of the utmost importance. But even if they don’t, the party will not find itself on the ash heap of history -- not yet anyway -- despite what some Democratic strategists and operatives might think.