The Republican party gladly embraced the religious fundamentalist right and reactionary Catholics to win elections. Now these unsavory groups form the spine of the party, and everyone knows it. We have a bit of real world experience dealing with religious fanatics now, and Americans are increasingly skeptical of the exclusionists christians among them.
Fundamentalists live to be persecuted, and we refuse to do so. Actually the coming "Great Ignoring" will be pure hell for the Party of God. I have previously pointed out the weak seams in the Republican juggernaut, and the reality of their internal fractures are now apparent to all. Looking at the polls about twenty-two percent of the electorate lives in Limbaugh Land. There is a five point swing in that figure depending on current events, but that is the Republican Base of renowned. Every R is grubbing for that hand of doom in their primaries, and can't walk back far and fast enough for the general elections. If I had to design a losing strategy and insert it into the soul of their party I couldn't do better.
Now I don't necessarily think this is a good scenario, at least in the long run. America made its nut based on a two party system, and that means something other than the Democratic party out there taking a center-right position. That party will probably call itself "Republican," but will bear little resemblance to the current Rs. When I say center right I mean people like McCain, and not pocket loons like Jindall.
I suspect the Repubs will purge all but the fringe in 2010, get reduced to a Southern party with about thirty-two Senate seats and no hope of doing better. All good. It will take Obama two terms to undo some of the damage inflicted by Bush, and a term or two of Hillary to finish the job. By then We will probably need a term of classic Republican sobriety to get the bureaucracy under control. Democrats have their lunatic fringe, and making them happy is impossible in the real world. Meanwhile we can bask in the glory that is Obama, and look forward to eight years of as much peace as is possible, given the mess, and a bit of returning prosperity, even though it will never be the same as it was. That's a good thing.