Republicans must regain the confidence of Americans and recast their message to voters to avoid a catastrophe in the fall congressional elections, top GOP officials said Wednesday in a stark postmortem of a loss in rural Mississippi.[Republicans fear public has lost confidence, May 14, 2008]Successful politics is a combination of money and votes. Traditionally Republicans have excelled in the fund raising arena—and that overcame the lack of popularity of many of their key issues. Since the Nixon/Ford/Reagan/Bush capitulation on the issue of immigration, there is really no broadly popular issue the Republicans have any more.
Now, the potential rebirth of the Republican party may be seen in elections like this one in a solidly Republican state (where the GOP primary effectively is the election).
Robert Gehrke and Cathy McKitrick write in the The Salt Lake Tribune:
OREM - Rep. Chris Cannon barely escaped with his political life on Saturday. Jason Chaffetz, a former chief of staff to Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr., nearly knocked off the incumbent in the Republican State Convention, but instead will face Cannon in a June 24 primary. "A win is a win," said Chaffetz. "We're going to go out and take it to Cannon right from Day One." Chaffetz captured 563 Republican delegate votes, or 59 percent of the total. Cannon received votes from 391 delegates, 41 percent of the total. Chaffetz could have captured the nomination outright with 60 percent of the vote - a 10-vote swing.The big difference in the positions of Chaffetz and Cannon are on the topic of immigration. Cannon has a mediocre C rating on immigration—and loves programs like H-1b. Chaffetz is pretty much a Tom Tancredo style Republican.
It may take more than addressing the issue of immigration to make the GOP a successful political party again. However, without it, the GOP is simply an employers lobby that can't compete nationwide.