When was the last time you met a Republican? And not just seen one on television; actually met a real live Republican?
Had to think about it didn't you?
Since 2006, and draamatically since last summers impending rout, Republicans have jumped off the sinking USS GOP to one of the following categories.
Like their Democratic brethren back in 2001, many former Republicans are now claiming to be "independent" or "non-partisan" since last summer. Many of them still feel strongly about "conservative values", but just want to duck out on the "stink of loser" that the Republicans were inevitably going to go through last fall. I suspect most of these newly minted independents will return to the GOP once the water warms up.
Many former GOPers are in this camp these days. Some came over because of the influence of Congressman Ron Paul and his philosophies of an isolationist foreign policy and anti-Federal Reserve issues. I bet very few of these newly minted libertarians ever return to the GOP; at least as long as the Dick Cheney influenced hawkish behavior continues by their national candidates. Also, many "western Republicans" like to tell people they are Libertarians- It makes them seem sexier, and insult the other parties at will.
Because of the massive (and fake) Cultural Wars wedge device, many Social Moderate and Liberal Republicans have jumped ship to the Democrats. The anti-gay, pro-torture, anti-civil rights, antiscience and hyper partisanship of the national GOP candidates for the last four cycles have done an amazing job in clearing out all of the non-fundamentalists. Until the GOP gets rid of its ridiculous Dark Ages/Luddite philosophy, and return to economic issues as a focus they will never see any of these people again.
So who's left? Well, currently about 21% of the voters are claiming to be GOP. Most of these folks, I suspect, have brand loyalty issues. It's like they have an elephant tattoo their arm, and don't have the $250 to get it remove. Or they made su ass of themselves with their family and friends "rubbing in" the Bush victorys in 2000 and 2004 that they would be humiliated to admit what a dumb choice they made. Twice.
I don't think the Republican Party is dead. The only way I can see that happening is having Sarah Palin as their candidate in 2012.
We can only hope.