The GOP has got to change.
So, we lost. At the very least that’s what it looks like at this point. President Obama will have prevailed with a comfortable electoral college vote advantage over Mitt Romney and if he’s lucky a plurality of the popular vote.
While I was anticipating a close Romney win, there are some real short term and long term problems we’re facing in the Republican Party that we’ve got to address if we’re ever going to have a hope of winning elections, I’ll talk about short term and long term issues and a basic solution that would fix them.
Memo to establishment Republicans: we have tried wishy washy middle of the road jelly spined Republicans in the last 7 times and our record 3-4. One of those wins was off the coat tails of a conservative icon and the other two wins was because the candidate positioned himself as a conservative. That is the electoral record, we won’t get into the governing record which is quite atrocious. What gets Republicans excited is vision, the leadership in Washington offered nothing compelling in 2010, but we had great candidates who went out there and got people excited about conservative ideas. This is what wins elections. I liked Mitt Romney by the end of the election, I think he is a good man, he seems like he has a stellar record of management and turning things around, but I was never terribly excited about him. And I suspect a large swath of the conservative wing of the party was more excited about getting rid of Barack Obama than they were about making Obama President, as McCain’s turn out in 2008 was better than Romney’s in 2012.
“Thank you for coming today Mr. President.” those where the words that should have come out of Chris Christie’s mouth, nothing more, nothing less. I understand that playing politics after a storm is a little bit crass, but the effusive praise Gov. Christie gave to President Obama was over the top considering an election was coming up in a few short days.
Why Governor Romney chose not to attack President Obama over Benghazi I will never know, but there you go… America has just re-elected a president embroiled in a scandal Sen. John McCain and many other believe is worse than Watergate.
Many people said President Obama didn’t offer a plan to run on and made the election about small issues, but who’s fault is that? If Mitt Romney hds been both more specific and more direct about his plans, he would have been the one framing the issues since President Obama had chosen not to have a second term agenda. Laugh at Herman Cain all you want, but 9-9-9 got America talking about the silliness of our tax code and what we need to do to replace it. Gov. Romney played right into President Obama’s hand, making him the boogie man for African Americans (“he wants to take us back to Jim Crow!”), women (“he hates our lady parts!”), and Hispanics (“he doesn’t like us”), they all turned out in higher numbers than expected, now here we are.
Education and Perception
Republicans have allowed conservatism to be pained as some sort of racist, sexist, homophobic neo-confederate movement. After 8 years of Bush, with a large swath of the electorate unaware of Ronald Reagan (someone who is 32 this years was born the year Reagan was elected) people aren’t exactly sure what conservatism is and what we stand for. We need to confront the Republican Party – either we’re a coalition of right-leaning, conservative, and libertarian voters committed to shrinking the size of the federal government or we just need to make the Republican Party go away and start something new. We need to remain true to our conservative principles, while rebranding ourselves for the 21st century (for example, instead of small vs. big government, simple vs. complicated government. People love simplicity, if we can explain that conservatism is simple and liberalism is complicated, it will appeal more to younger voters who have chosen Apple products over PC products.) We need new conservative voters in the Republican Party. And I hope to God we decide we will reject Sen. Rick Santorum’s admonition to purge Libertarians from our ranks. First of all, libertarians and conservatives are in alignment almost 80% of the time. We need to strengthen our connection with them.
Why do we automatically concede California and New York election cycle after election cycle? These two states have large conservative populations that live outside the cities that make them Democrat. The reason is we’ve rejected the cities in the Republican Party, we need to urbanize our party a little bit. We do that by building stronger operations in the cities, and educating people about conservatism. We also need to take a look at our approach. Calling the country “real America” while rejecting the cities is probably not a good idea, we don’t draw lines between people, that’s what the Democrats do, we are The United States of America. That’s what we need to stand for. A partnership with libertarians could help us out with people in the cities as well as younger voters.
The great thing is the conservative wing of our party is diverse and getting more diverse. Had we had a better night, Mia Love would have probably become the first African American Republican Congresswoman ever. It’s great that the conservative wing of the party is where we see diversity, but it’s got to translate into some inroads with the voters. President Obama will not be the nominee next time around – but African Americans will still likely overwhelmingly support the Democratic candidate in 2016. We should start a 20-40-50 plan. That is make it a goal that by 2016 we get 20% of the black vote, 40% of the Hispanic vote and 50% of other minority groups. We would do this not by pandering, but explaining how liberalism has failed them and how conservatism can help them and we would put people they can relate to — Love, Allen West, (even though they lost), Marco Rubio, Suzanna Martinez, Nikki Haley, etc. out in the front explaining these policies.
All in all – it’s a bummer, but it was to be expected. Romney had one good debate, he didn’t really have a plan, and didn’t run a good campaign. It’s over. Onward and Upward, let’s hope the GOP gets the message this time.