We are one week from the Iowa caucuses and things don't look good for the GOP:
If I were running the Iowa Republican Party, I would be seeking to vastly increase the turnout at the Jan. 3 caucuses. After all, those who turn out can be recruited to help in future Iowa Republican campaigns. I would be especially interested in attracting new young voters; the median age of 2008 caucusgoers was nudging up toward 60.
Yet despite polls showing that Republicans are enthusiastic about the coming campaign and determined to defeat Barack Obama, Iowa Republican insiders are predicting that turnout will not exceed and may not even reach the 119,000 of 2008, when Republicans were dispirited about their party's chances. Puzzling.
Low turnout is indicative of an enthusiasm gap and also coincides with what recent polls have shown us - a Republican base that isn't that excited about the election. Sure Republicans want to see President Obama voted out of office, but the problem is who they are going to replace him with?
Can they stomach 4 or even 8 years of Newt Gingrich or Mitt Romney?
Would it be better to suffer through another 4 years of President Obama, at least knowing what they got, then spend that 4 years regrouping to find a better candidate?
If I were a betting man I would place my money on the second option. 2016 doesn't seem that far off, but 2020 does. If the GOP ends up putting a Mitt Romney or Newt Gingrich in the White House that means the Democrats could come out with Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden in 2016, then the Republicans may likely be screwed until 2024.
The GOP is facing a real dilemma right now and that dilemma could end up really helping President Obama. The key take away from all of this is to not watch who wins the upcoming primaries, but rather check out the key turnout number. That will be the best indicator of what will happen in the fall.