I suspect that the Republican Party's demise will be more like the cassette tape than the 8-track, a subtle thing that many households will be unaware has even happened.
As of today, the poll aggregators at Huffington Post show 271 electoral votes in the "strong" Obama category. Even if he loses every other electoral vote (the 61 that lean towards Obama, the 15 that are tossups, and the 32 that lean toward Romney, 108 in all, plus the 170 that are strong for Romney), he still wins the election.
It's also interesting that the Senate race, which earlier looked as if the Republicans would obviously win, now looks like a toss up. Today's best bet is that the Democrats will retain their majority.
This after nearly 4 straight years of unemployment rates over 8%. To paraphrase Reagan, if not now, when? If the Republicans can't win in this environment, when can they win?
Republicans are already trying to blame Romney, who, while clearly the most viable candidate in the Republican primary, has seemed at times as though he's intent on beating himself. His gaffe per week quota ensures his inability to get on message. Worse, for him, American's growing optimism about the economy makes that message resonate less. It could be that he's the problem but I think that if the governor of Massachusetts had been allowed to run (that is, the Romney who is more moderate, less ideological and more of a problem-solver), he would have won. Or at least come close.
The real problem with this campaign seems to be the Republican's agenda. And yet Republicans will do well enough in this election that they'll be caught in a kind of political purgatory, convinced that their problem is candidates when it is, most likely, platform.
Against abortion? They could probably still win a national election. Against abortion in the case of rape and incest as well as working to remove access to contraceptives? They'll lose elections at the national level.
Low taxes? Probably win the election. Insistence that taxes not go up a penny when taxes as a percentage of GDP are at their lowest rate in half a century and we have a massive deficit? They'll lose.
Tax cuts for the rich? Probably still win. Tax cuts for the rich when we still haven't paid for the last tax cuts and now have a massive deficit? They'll lose.
Strong defense? They probably win. Saber rattling against Iran and insistence that we stay longer in Iraq and Afghanistan when our troops are so exhausted and stressed that they're more likely to die of suicide than in combat? Lose.
Cheap talk about fiscal responsibility? They'd win. Costly talk about specific cuts needed to actually balance the budget without raising taxes? They'll lose.
Admitting that climate change is man-made but having no plan to address it? Win. Insisting that climate change is a hoax? Lose.
Cracking down on illegal immigration? They could still win. Refusing to offer a route to citizenship to young adults who've known no other country? They lose.
The Republicans have become a caricature of, well, Republicans. Demographics suggesting a growth in minorities, a young generation that finds opposition to gay marriage baffling gradually replacing an elderly generation that finds the very fact of homosexuality wrong, and a growing divide between rich and poor all point to hard days ahead for Republicans. Still, they'll likely win just enough elections, and the extreme right will remain just vocal enough and influential enough, that the party is likely to go out with a whimper instead of a bang, only gradually losing their influence at the national level.
Republicans who don't want this to happen have two choices. Either let moderates write the GOP platform while putting the Tea Party back in the pantry or hope that Obama opens the first debate with a "Praise Allah!"