Report: Establishment Republicans are worried that their party is on the eve of destruction
Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei, who pride themselves as pulse-takers of Washington politics, DISCERN a sense of panic in certain quarters these days:
It is almost impossible to find an establishment Republican in town who’s not downright morose about the 2013 that has been and is about to be. Most dance around it in public, but they see this year as a disaster in the making, even if most elected Republicans don’t know it or admit it.
Several influential Republicans told us the party is actually in a worse place than it was Nov. 7, the day after the disastrous election. This is their case:
• The party is hurting itself even more with the very voters they need to start winning back: Hispanics, blacks, gays, women and swing voters of all stripes.
• The few Republicans who stood up and tried to move the party ahead were swatted into submission: Speaker John Boehner on fiscal matters and Sen. Marco Rubio on immigration are the poster boys for this.
• Republicans are all flirting with a fall that could see influential party voices threatening to default on the debt or shut down the government — and therefore ending all hopes of proving they are not insane when it comes to governance.
These Republicans came into the year exceptionally hopeful the party would finally wise up and put immigration and irresponsible rhetoric and governing behind them. Instead, Republicans dug a deeper hole. This probably doesn’t matter for 2014, because off-year elections are notoriously low-turnout affairs where older whites show up in disproportionate numbers. But elite Republican strategists and donors tell us they are increasingly worried the past nine months make 2016 look very bleak — unless elected GOP officials in Washington change course, and fast.