I associate the Republican Party with competition. The Party promotes free market ideals – even in education where it promotes charter schools and vouchers so that traditional public schools will have to improve if they want to successfully compete for students.
So why doesn’t the Republican Party embrace these ideals of fully? Republicans won reelection to the House in large part thanks to uncompetitive redistricting.
This makes the GOP weaker in the long run because it protects out of touch politicians from competition and from reality. Gerrymandering means that Republican Representatives can be oblivious to long-term demographic changes that are reshaping the electorate while Democratic Representatives in safe “districts” must disproportionately confront them. The lack of competition makes the Republican Party weaker and less responsive to demographic change. Only watching Fox News probably isn’t helping either.
The ramifications of this uncompetitive behavior likely influenced the outcome of the Presidential race and made it harder for Romney to win. Mitt Romney embraced positions associated with the far right of the Republican Party in order to win the primary nomination. Many of his opponents who forced this shift in Romney’s positions were elected to the House from uncompetitive districts. Bachmann’s district is estimated to be 8% more “Republican” than the nation.
If the Republican Party wants its next generation of leaders to be able to win state and national elections, it should embrace competition and renounce gerrymandering. It should create House Congressional Districts that reflect demographic trends. It should want to elect Representatives who could have a real shot at winning a state or a national election, not just those who can win in a District where the competition (and reality) have been eliminated.