Will the Republican party be able to choose from a stronger field next time?

 

Mitt Romney may not have been the saviour they were looking for, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find a Republican who truly believes that a different candidate, from the array who put themselves up for the Presidential nomination, would have made a better fist of the job.

He was chosen as the “least-bad” option, from a buffoonish array which included Pizza magnate Herman Cain, creationist Michele Bachmann, and the serial adulterer, Newt Gingrich. The question now facing party loyalists is simple: will they be able to choose from a stronger field next time?

The immediate signs are hopeful. Several heavy-hitters, who held back from this year’s race, on the apparent basis that it’s never easy to defeat an incumbent, will spend the next three years quietly building a machine to challenge for the GOP nomination next time round.

The most obvious contender is Paul Ryan, who as Mitt Romney’s running mate is the de-facto next in line. This campaign has raised his profile, and left him with solid support among the party base, who at rallies have sometimes given him bigger cheers than Mitt. But whether it has helped, or hurt his standing among the wider electorate remains to be seen.

In the weeks after the Vice Presidential debate, Ryan was effectively banned from TV interviews by the Romney campaign, reportedly over fears that his hard-line views on abortion could present reporters with the tools for an ambush.

It’s possible that approval ratings for the hard-line tax plan that is central to his political identity were also identified as wobbly.

The second biggest gun is Chris Christie, the Governor of New Jersey. His handling of Hurricane Sandy, and bipartisan embrace of President Obama, has endeared him to moderate voters, and strategists often remark that if he could lose roughly half of his bodyweight, he’d have a compelling personal narrative, too.

Standing in Christie’s way are conservative Republicans, many of whom now blame him for Tuesday’s defeat. Rush Limbaugh, the influential talk-show host has called him a “Greek Column” for Obama.  Ann Coulter has complained that he’d decided to: “suck up to the grand leader.”

On purely pragmatic grounds, party loyalists may instead be tempted to vote for a politician from a crucial swing state. To that end, the relatively centrist Jeb “brother of George W” Bush, of Florida, or Ohio’s Rob Portman, would have a clearer path to 270 votes in the Presidential electoral college.

But if they’re looking to make a statement that Republicans have changed, primary voters must plump for a candidate who isn’t a white, middle-aged man.

On that front, they might consider Nikki Haley, the Sikh-born Governor of South Carolina, Susanah Martinez of New Mexico, or Bobby Jindal, the Asian Governor of Louisiana. But the odds-makers' favourites will instead Marco Rubio, a 41-year-old son of Cuban immigrants who hails from Florida, and is perhaps the most gifted public speaker on the Republican benches.

“If there's a winner tonight, it's the Senator from Florida, Marco Rubio,” influential conservative columnist George Will told ABC news yesterday. “All eyes are now going to be turned to him as a man who might have a way to broaden the demographic appeal of this party.“

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Refrigeration Engineer

£24000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: These refrigeration specialists...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Coordinator - Logistics and Supply Chain

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an operational role and...

Recruitment Genius: CNC Sheet Metal Worker / Fabricator

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Working within the workshop of ...

Recruitment Genius: 1st / 2nd Line IT Support Engineer

£20000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This specialist high tech compa...

Day In a Page

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral