So Where Do We Go From Here? Part One (The Presidency)
By now, the shock has worn off. The horror of it all is only beginning to sink in, but mostly, I stand astounded at what has happened. How could I have predicted the electorate so badly? Nate Silver knows the Electorate better than I do, and that sort of world isn’t the sort of world I feel comfortable living with. And yet, here we are. So, now, the question we’ll all be asking for some time to come: How did this happen?
Many conservatives—myself included– woke up this morning feeling quite good about how this election would go. The polling models, which showed Barack Hussein Obama holding on to slight leads in States like Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Florida were premised on what I certainly thought were ridiculous assumptions about the Electorate; to me, at least, it seemed preposterous that the voters who marched to the polls today would be anywhere close in terms of turnout to 2008. Democrats holding a nine-point turnout edge in Ohio, for example? After 2010, it seemed ridiculous. A +6 Democrat turnout in The State that Marco Rubio and Rick Scott swept in 2010 (my State of Florida)? That was just silly.
And so we looked at the polls, and the pollsters, with a certain amount of disdain. Hell, in my case, it was a tremendous amount of disdain. I didn’t think the numbers would look like 2010, but I was darn sure they wouldn’t look like 2008. So, when my fellow conservatives showed us models that showed what would happen with only a +3 D turnout, or a +1 Democrat turnout, I was happy. After the gains in party registration in 2010, and after four years of a disastrous Presidency, I thought it wholly impossible that the electorate would be close to the 2008 electorate.
I was wrong. Conservatives were wrong. Morris and Rove were wrong; Moe Lane and most of RedState were wrong. The electorate isn’t what we thought it was. We’ve lost a lot of voters, and the question moving forward is this: how do we get them back? Women are natural GOP voters, as are Latinos; we are losing them by wide margins (admittedly, Akin and Mourdock were little help among the former). And, over the next few weeks, we’ll hear pundits and prognosticators (mostly gleefully, as they’re mostly liberals) claims that the GOP needs to “move to the center” on this issue or that issue. They won’t be right. We didn’t lose this election because of the Latino vote alone, or because of the female vote alone.
Now, a caveat to that statement: ccertainly, the GOP must find a way to get those demographics into our column if we ever want to be competitive again on a Presidential level. We won’t win any elections moving forward with Latinos and women breaking against us the way they did tonight—not as the number of white men steadily decreases as a percentage of the population. But that wasn’t the issue tonight. Tonight, we could have won without them. The nail in our coffin this evening were those voters who, in the words of Alexis de Tocqueville, were bribed by the Congress by the public’s money. It was those voters who owe their idleness, and their bloated incomes and lifestyles, to the Public Sector Unions, and to food stamps and welfare. Over the past decade, we’ve simply let the numbers of these individuals grow too fast, and encompass far too many States: there are far too many voters whose votes were bought and paid for with entitlements and Union contracts. Sadly, Mitt Romney was right about the 47%. Those who Obama had plied with handouts weren’t going to vote against the man filling their pocket. The tragedy is, it’s our fault the 47% became as high as 47%. We thought there were enough voters left who put their country before their benefits. We were wrong. It turns out that Governor Romney was right—the 47% couldn’t be campaigned to, because Big Government Democrats did their campaigning through food stamps, Obamaphones and entitlements. The only question now is, where do we go from here? And, how do we get the groups that allowed this incompetent President to run up his margins in places?
Sadly, Conservatives in the Senate, House, and the White House have allowed a big-government, big-spending culture to flourish in this country over the last three decades. We’ve allowed welfare rolls to expand; Obama did much to help with this, but George W. Bush did little to slice them. We’ve allowed Social Security and entitlements to be bludgeons; we’ve allowed Public Sector Unions to grow too powerful. In chief, we seeded our own defeat, by watering the enemies of American prosperity.
So, what do we do? How do we get women back? How do we get Latinos? How do we get secular young people? How do we get out of a cycle where Democrats win by buying voters with entitlements, and use their victories to give out more entitlements? Right now, I don’t have the answers.