Larry Sabato looks into his Crystal Ball again, this time for the Republicans. For die-hard partisans, the view isn’t all that good:
In order to achieve the task of grasping a third consecutive presidential term, the Republicans almost certainly must fulfill several conditions:
President Bush must have had a successful second term, with significant policy achievements in several areas.
President Bush must be relatively popular–which for this polarizing president means maintenance of a job approval rating around 50 percent or better in national surveys.
The economy must be fair to good, and the international outlook (terrorism, Iraq , etc.) must be generally acceptable to the American people.
Finally, and perhaps most important of all, the GOP must nominate a moderate-conservative within the American political mainstream, taking care not to go too far right but also not too far to the left of the dominant conservative activist corps.
Should a moderate somehow win the GOP nod, say in a split field of conservatives, this political earthquake would likely generate a third-party, right-wing candidacy that could doom the Republican nominee in the fall by splitting the GOP vote.
Me, I’d gladly vote for a moderate from either (any?) party – so long as they’re a hawk on the war.
NOTE: If you missed it, last week’s Crystal Ball, on potential Democratic nominees, is here.