The end may be near for Republicans if they do not take back the White House next year, says the head of the Republican National Committee. Reince Priebus said Friday in an interview with the Washington Examiner that the Republican Party will be “cooked” if it fails to elect a conservative president in 2016.
"We're seeing more and more that if you don't hold the White House, it's very difficult to govern in this country — especially in Washington, D.C.," Priebus told the Examiner. "However, I think that we have become, unfortunately, a midterm party that doesn't lose and a presidential party that's had a really hard time winning."
Priebus added that he feels optimistic about the 2016 election cycle, but recognizes it is a particularly important election. He said it might be difficult for Republicans to recover if they don’t see a GOP victory next year.
“I do think that we're cooked for quite a while as a party if we don't win in 2016. So I do think that it's going to be hard to dig out of something like that," he said. "I don't anticipate that. I think ... history is on our side."
Typically, parties have struggled to maintain control over the White House for more than two terms in a row, which means Republicans may have the historical advantage next fall, according to the Hill. George W. Bush was the last Republican to win the presidency in 2004.
In recent years, Republicans have also struggled to adapt to demographic changes across the U.S. After Mitt Romney lost the 2012 election, Republicans said they wanted to do more outreach to minority and gay voters, and to improve the way they used data -- something President Barack Obama employed to his advantage in both of his elections. Priebus told the Washington Examiner that the party has been improving and is focused on electing Republicans at all levels in 2016.
“Our job as a national party is to elect Republicans, and it generally means House, Senate, presidential," he said. “We’re viewed at in a presidential year as the presidential committee that is responsible for helping elect the president, but at the same time, we have a responsibility to help pay for the ground operation in every targeted U.S. Senate race and the targeted congressional races as well, so it is our job to do all three,” Priebus added.