When Mitt Romney chose Paul Ryan as his running mate for the 2012 election, presumable to push fiscal issues to the forefront of the discussion, it was a move that cements the objective of the Republican Party as narrowing its interests to serve the wealthiest Americans and big corporations rather than the broad umbrella that the party had previously been trying to claim.
By choosing a VP who's primary distinguishing characteristic in Congress has been pushing a budget that would attempt deficit reduction by displacing the bulk of tax burden disproportionately onto the poor and the backs of the working class, Romney has also proven himself unable to connect with the needs of common citizens. While it is true that Ryan has a vocal fan base among Conservatives, it is unlikely that the campaign season will progress without this choice being more harmful to the ticket than helpful. Headway that had been made four years ago in the way of diversity has now been completely undone. While Sarah Palin had no place on a legitimate ticket, and her legacy in terms of prominent female Presidential hopefuls has been less than promising within the Republican's ever-more Conservative universe, there is no question that at least broader options were being considered last time around. But the reality is, the only non-male and non-white hopefuls are far-Right crackpots or some other type of crackpot that still somehow appeals to the Tea Party contingent. Beyond that, where most sensible Republican people live, these (large) groups are unable to gain enough traction or make a big enough splash within their own party.
With the Republican Party edging every further Right with each election cycle, there is a strong chance it will marginalize itself enough to finally make a real third party option a reality within a few years. The pre-Reagan party that existed with a sense of caution about the current iteration's obsessions would stand a much greater chance of popular embrace these days. The biggest problem with the current party is that it not only embraces, but passionately embraces many of the positions that are actually responsible for having caused most of the problems we are facing today.
Without the spine to acknowledge that the loudmouths in the Tea Party are not tuned into any sort of fiscal or social reality, the Republican leadership is allowing the party to become nothing more than a fringe group. Unfortunately, it is a fringe group that still wields a large amount of political clout and way too much power in Washington. The sooner that the citizens of this country wake up and realize it is no longer the party that they think it is, the sooner the Republican Party can either be reclaimed or recognized as the special interest coalition it is and replaced by something more representative of the greater masses. From Lincoln to Eisenhower, former Republican Presidents are rolling over in their graves, restless and waiting.