The new Congress that officially assembles next January will have a distinctive reddish hue after the 2014 midterm elections, with Republicans gaining majorities in both the House and Senate for the first time in eight years.
Clemson University Political Science professor David Woodard says now the Republicans must show that they can govern, shifting away from Tea Party-led obstructionism. Woodard said the GOP has to appeal to a national electorate and that will have to include appealing to more minority voters to have a chance at the White House in 2016.
“One is to get a presidential candidate like Texas Senator Ted Cruz or Florida Senator Marco Rubio,” Woodard told South Carolina Radio Network. “The other is to get Tim Scott out there talking to African Americans across the South about conservative values and conservative policies that may appeal to them.”
Woodard says Republicans will no doubt continue to battle with President Obama, but how they conduct that warfare could very possibly determine how the GOP will do in the 2016 election. That will include intra-party discipline, he added.
“When they pass a moderate policy, like immigration or a budget, they can’t have the Right attack them so ferociously that they can’t run on those accomplishments in 2016,” he said.
From a Congressional standpoint, Woodard says established GOP members like Lindsey Graham must lead the way in passing compromise legislation, while making sure the “hard right” members of the party stay in step.
“If the conservatives split off from the mainline Republicans and they divide by 2016, the GOP will be a minority party.”