Now that we’ve had a few days to decompress after the elections, I thought I’d offer my reactions to what happened.
A lot of Republicans may be asking “why?” It’s a fair question, but I’m shocked that so many Republicans actually thought that a- Romney would win, and b – the GOP would win the Senate.
The simplest answer is that it is very hard to beat an incumbent. Sure, there are numerous examples of incumbents losing, such as Carter or Bush, but you have to ask why did those incumbents lose? They lost because Americans were truly uncertain about wheter or not they were better off four years ago. Don’t get me wrong, the economy is bad, but not as bad as some Republicans are making it out to be. Not to drink the “kool-aide,” but the economy is slightly improving and confidence is slowly starting to be restored. Its not like we’re on the brink of nuclear war and we’ll using the Yen as currency starting tomorrow.
Many Republicans also did a poor job of explaining why Obamacare was bad. As soon as you reduce the cost of any good or service, why would that person then be inclined to vote for you if you promise to take it away? Republicans should have said “We’ll give you something better.” Running on “I’m taking your grandma’s healthcare away” is a bad idea.
I did a break down of some other things to think about below. Please feel free to add or disagree. Part of what makes a democracy great is our ability to peacefully share ideas and policy suggestions to make America a better place.
I hate to use a term that MSNBC uses on a regular basis, but if you’re wondering why we did not win the Senate, this is why. Look at Indiana, where Richard Mourdock says controversial comments about rape and abortion. And who could forget Tood Adkin’s legitamate rape comment. Voters are not as socially conservative as the GOP is. As soon as we realize this, and stop hating homosexuals and bith control, we can start winning again
Exit polls on election day showed that more Americans favor smaller government than bigger government. Most conservatives do not realize that banning birth control and gay marriage equals big government to many people.
In addition, members of this “caucus” do not do a good job at listening to opposing ideas. John Huntsman was given no chance whatsoever because he thought climate change was a real issue and because he was an Ambassador for President Obama. Our party needs to learn that “my way or the highway” does not work. Congress has 535 members that need to work together to get anything done. 2010 did NOT give us a mandate to become a “do nothing” party.
Look at the VA map of Allen v Kaine. Allen won most of the state, but lost places NOVA and Virginia Beach areas. Not only that, he lost them big. In order to win statewide, candidates must at least break even in places like Fairfax County and Loudon county.
Check out this map. If notice, its all red. Only problem is no one lives in the those red areas. All the cities (where the people live) go blue.
Let’s look at George Allen as an example. Exit polls showed that he lost women, blacks, hispanics, and people under 40. Losing all of those in not a good way to win. But he won people over 65. I don’t mean to sound morbid, but our party is dying off. We need to make inroads in the under 40 crowd and the only way to do that is to stop beating the drums on social issues.
As a side note, GMU went for Obama 75%.
All hope is not lost. In fact, us losing might have been the best thing possible for our party. Do you remember in 2008, when we had 8 years of George Bush, and the Democrats were the most organized they’ve ever been? Imagine if we had that energy and excitement on our side. The GOP’s problem in 2012 was that they had energy to get rid of Obama, but less energy in electing Mitt Romney. Even though many conservatives will start blaming Romney, I still believe he was the best choice we had. Newt Gingrich had too much baggage from the 1990s (in addition to his many affairs which voters saw hypocritical during the Clinton era). Rick Santorum is too much of a social issue die hard to gain any ground with reasonable people. Part of the political process is compromise, and Gingrich and Santorum only offered more gridlock. Our party needs to be open to other ideas and ideologies if we want to be nationally relevant.
As a random tidbit, it might be time to stop calling President Obama “the current occupant of the White House,” and show him the respect that the office deserves. If the GOP wants any respect if or when we are in charge, we need to give the same respect to President Obama. What the GOP does not realize is that they way they give criticisms can come across as racist and immature. To be taken seriously, we need to grow up.
Looking Ahead to 2013 and beyond
Its important for Republicans to start bouncing back now. While there are conflicting ideas on what our party needs to do, the point is that we need to be unighted as quickly as possible. The 2013 primary will do no favors for the GOP in Virginia, costing millions and turning friends into enemies, but the GOP needs to remember what the goal of all of this is: getting 50.1% in the election. Simply, we should only be doing things that get us 50.1% of the vote, and nothing else.
Voters in 2013 HOD races are going to remember the extreme legislation that was pushed through in the past session. It’s our job to make sure that we focus on the economy and jobs and make sure that we don’t sponsor extreme legislation if we do gain power.
I’m sure that there will be more to say in the coming days and weeks, but now those are my thoughts on the 2012 election.