The Republicans are looking to realign the party’s politics and image as the 2014 mid-term draws near. To call 2013 lackluster for the GOP would be a severe understatement. They have invoked one scandal after another in attempt to discredit the president. Each one has backfired, further damaging the Republicans’ image and credibility. They are preparing for a new year, hopeful, but 2014 doesn’t look like it will be any better.
1. The GOP is Riddled With Scandal and Crime
The Republicans have wallowed in scandal and crime. The Bridgegate Scandal involving New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s top aide could bring about criminal charges, according to law experts. The aide, Bridget Anne Kelly, allegedly ordered the closing of lanes on the George Washington Bridge, one of the busiest bridges in the country, as a retaliatory effort against Fort Lee, NJ Mayor Mark Sokolich. The alleged retaliation against Sokolich developed because the Fort Lee mayor gave his political endorsement to Christie’s Democratic opponent, Barbara Buono.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s past has been riddled with crime and controversy. Scott was CEO of hospital chain Columbia/HCA before winning governorship of Florida in 2010. During the time in which Scott was CEO, the company was fined $1.7 billion for a Medicare and Medicaid fraud wrap. Scott claimed to be ignorant of the company’s fraud. After Scott won in Florida, he’s come under fire for several of his crackpot policies. He signed laws requiring drug tests for welfare applicants, voter suppression laws, and has kill thousands of jobs in the state. His laws have earned numerous lawsuits filed against him.
2. Political Contributions Are Lessening
The GOP is beginning to lose political donations for a number of reasons. Donors are getting older and the Republicans have a difficult time winning over young donors and voters. In the last nine months, two of the GOP’s wealthiest donors passed away. Texas billionaires Harold Simmons and Bob Perry passed away last year and were the second and third biggest contributors to Republican campaigns in the 2012 election year, spending almost $50 million.
Apart from natural events denting GOP money, many donors are outright pulling their contributions. Donors are giving less money to the conservative super-PACs FreedomWorks, Heritage Action, and Crossroads GPS. Contributors said the reasons for lessened donations are decreased approval ratings and poor performance of the Republican party since 2012. Which brings us to No. 3.
3. There’s Been No Return Investment for Political Contributions
Private contributors spent a total of $1.3 billion on Republican candidates in 2012, but the election results proved little to show for the extravagant expenditure. Hoping to gain a majority in both chambers of Congress, the GOP only retained the House majority. They lost six seats in the Senate, giving Democrats the majority, and the Republicans’ great white hope, Mitt Romney, lost the presidency to Obama.
Crossroads’ groups spent about $300 million on Republican candidates, including Romney, who lost several races in 2012. Recent filings to the Federal Election Commission showed that the group, American Crossroads, has only $2 million. Some contributors blame disruption within the GOP coming in the form of the Tea Party.
4. The GOP is Falling Apart From the Inside, GOP Infighting
The Tea Party was once a leader of Republican politics, heralded for, what they considered, their tenacity. But that tenacity turned into insanity, even by Republican standards. The Tea Party was the driving force behind the recent government shutdown that put nearly one million people out of work and hurt businesses. Recently, the Tea Party has gone on an all out rogue insurgency, creating a rift between them and traditional conservatives.
The Tea Party has railed against House Majority Leader John Boehner, calling him a sellout for compromising on a budget deal that ended the government shutdown. Boehner is looking to push the Tea Party on the fringe, but it’s very unlikely the Tea Party go quietly. The Tea Party has even surmounted donor pressure, exuding no fear to their donors and saying they no longer need their donors.
5. The GOP Has Wasted Five Years Attacking Obama Instead of Working
Obama’s election in 2008 became a living nightmare for the Republicans. They said Obama was that “socialist, anti-American liberal” who was born in Africa and shouldn’t be president. The GOP hasn’t slowed down, and conservatives have taken every opportunity at being anti-Obama, rather than focusing on their own politics. This tactic has severely hurt the GOP, and they have suffered a staggering loss in their approval rating, 28 percent at its lowest, because of their obstruction in Congress.
The Republicans have made a mockery of themselves because they have focused solely on attacking Obama. The Benghazi scandal, the IRS scandal, and anti-Obamacare-fueled government shutdown have all blown up in the GOP’s face. The only “victory” the GOP has enjoyed is playing dirty politics and filibustering any Democratic effort at passing legislation. But even that has contributed to their reputation as the loser party.
They are looking to rectify the past damage they’ve inflicted to save face in time for the 2014 mid-term elections. But considering mistakes that have festered on the Beltway and in American minds for far too long, it may be too little, too late.
Joshua de Leon is a writer and researcher with Ring of Fire.