HEY, THEY NOTICED – AT 8:37 A.M. ET: The Politico has noticed some very important changes in the candidate list of the Republican Party. As the lady sings it: "At Last."
For a generation, the Republican Party's demographic problem has been summed up in three adjectives: too old, too white, too male.
That’s why GOP officials are thrilled by the prospect of a South Carolina gubernatorial nominee whose profile boasts another three adjectives—young, Indian-American, female.
Suddenly, the historically monochrome Republican Party is flashing a few glints of color, with thirty-eight-year-old Nikki Haley the most prominent representative of a class that represents something of a breakthrough.
The congressional and gubernatorial primaries held so far this year have put the GOP on the verge of electing an array of diverse new faces to high office, which stands to upend the party’s country club image and perhaps even diminish one of the most enduring punch lines in American politics.
This won't solve the GOP’s deep structural problems in a rapidly-changing country—namely the party’s weakness among young and non-white voters—but the unusual crop of candidates plays against stereotypes of the party in ways that are a vast relief to top Republican strategists.
A bit of dissent there. It may not solve problems with African-American voters, who understandably see themselves as a distinct group. But I have to believe that young voters, who may not be quite as ideological as Democrats think, will take notice. They've become somewhat disillusioned with The One anyway.
There has never been a non-white female governor in the nation’s history—yet the GOP could elect two in November. New Mexico’s Susana Martinez, an Hispanic, won her party’s nomination last month and South Carolina’s Haley, who got just under half the vote in her primary Tuesday and is the heavy favorite in a runoff later this month.
COMMENT: I quoted Bill Bennett yesterday to the effect that "this is not your father's Republican Party." No indeed.
June 12, 2010