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The Boston Globe


Tom Keane

The Republican Party isn’t dead

With Barack Obama’s successful bid for a second term, the conventional wisdom is the Republican Party is dead. Don’t believe it. Such obituaries for political parties have been written many times before — in 1972 after Richard Nixon trounced George McGovern; in 1980 when Ronald Reagan crushed Jimmy Carter; in 1988 when George H.W. Bush routed Michael Dukakis; in 1992 with Bill Clinton’s win over Bush — and they’ve all turned out to be untrue. So too this time around. For one, the magnitude of the 2012 GOP loss is just not that great, a matter of small, correctable things and not a wholesale rejection of its small government message. For another, party members are chastened. You may not agree with them, but they’re not stupid — and they’ll fix what went wrong. Resurrection is near.

Not in the Bay State, however. Massachusetts, as commentator Jon Keller has observed, is “the bluest state,” and we showed that to a fare-thee-well this time around. Seriously: If scandal-plagued Representative John Tierney can’t be beaten by a gay, moderate Republican, then the GOP’s hopes of resurgence in the Commonwealth are about as likely as David Petraeus being named “Husband of the Year.” Sure, we might well elect a Republican governor in two years. But the state GOP will continue to operate on the margins.

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