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GOP's Beck-Limbaugh wing misreads Hoffman's loss in New York

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This belief could backfire in a big way because it fails to recognize – or willfully ignores – that a one-(strict)-size-fits-all political approach won't appeal to voters across diverse states and regions.

That the Republican Party would undergo some form of introspection after expansive losses last year was to be expected. What makes the party's rightward lurch so destructive is that its leadership is bereft of any centrist voices, as virtually every moderate Republican has retired, been defeated, or has switched parties. When policy stances are crafted by GOP congressional leaders, there are simply no moderate voices in the caucus room to give a different viewpoint.

There is no better illustration of this trend than the current composition of Congress. The Partisan Voting Index measures each congressional district's partisan lean, and, according to its numbers, there are just eight Republicans representing Democratic-leaning districts; conversely, 69 Democrats sit in GOP-leaning districts. At the start of the previous Congress, the split was 48 to14 for Democrats, and 28 to 25 in the prior one.

A national party cannot sustain itself if it does not carve a presence in inhospitable territories. This is why moderates play a key role: they inject fresh insight to perspectives dominated by partisanship, and they help grow talent for Senate and gubernatorial races.

Other measures demonstrate the Republicans' weaknesses. A mid-October CNN poll found that only 36 percent of Americans view the GOP favorably, while 54 percent view the party negatively. The split for the Democratic Party was 53 to 41. A more recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found just 25 percent viewed the GOP positively and 46 viewed it negatively. It also revealed that just 17 percent of respondents identified themselves as Republicans, versus 30 percent as Democrats.

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