"It might take a generation for the Republican Party to make up for this year's losses," John S. Saloma, president of the liberal Republican Ripon Society and assistant professor of Political Science at M.I.T., told the Young Republican Club last night.
But, he continued, the Republican Party may reach the point where the best thing a moderate can do is jump off, join the Democrats, and let the sinking ship go down.
In a much more optimistic vein, however, Saloma outlined a program by which the GOP could recapture the presidency by 1972. By developing a moderate platform and nominating more effective candidates, he said, the party could successfully appeal to the basically pro-Republican suburban, upper-income voters who form as ever-increasing proportion of the population.
He called on the party to take an aggressive stand on issues on which Democratic policy has been "standing still." Specifically, he suggested a new national "race policy," a stronger foreign policy, and programs to deal with the affluence of the '60's.
Saloma also criticized the GOP for falling to nominate its most effective leaders. He said the Republicans would have won in 1960 "if Nixon had fought an effective campaign" and that Rocke-feller could have won in 1960 with any type of campaign."
Saloma warned, however, that "if the Republican Party doesn't wake up, '64 may be repeated in '68, and if this happens, the Republicans will be destroyed as a viable second party in the United States."
He said that the conservatives were able to take over the GOP because the moderates did not recognize the danger early enough to form their own program. The "ultra-rightists" and segregationists, he explained were able to "bully the rest of the conservatives around."
The net effect, Saloma said, was to significantly increase the power of the ultra-conservatives in the country and to make them "more dangerous than the Communists ever were."