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The Radically Right Thing To Do

President Obama won big last night. Why I think the GOP needs to go back to the drawing board.

Watching the results come in last night, the difference between those who supported President Obama and those who supported Mitt Romney was obvious. Personally, despite how I cast my ballot, I felt as if I didn't have a dog in the fight. I watched more or less as a dispassionate observer (and as someone determined to get some giggles out of Twitter). So it was interesting to me that President Obama's supporters seemed confident, assured, and jubilant that their candidate was going to be given a second term to grow his legacy. Meanwhile, those supporting Mitt Romney looked as if someone had died.

In a sense, there was a death in last night's election. The Republican party's decades long strategy may have produced a narrow margain in the popular vote, but the proof of the pudding was in the Electoral College tally: for Mitt Romney to win the presidency, an awful lot of blue states had to turn red. That didn't happen.

And if the GOP continues on the same path, it won't happen for a very long time.

Let me share some words with you from Dr. Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and quite the conservative fellow. This was from Dr. Mohler's blog post today:

"No party can win if it is seen as heartless. No party can win if it appeals only to white and older Americans. No party can win if it looks more like the way to the past than the way to the future. The Republican Party could not defeat a sitting President with a weak economy and catastrophic unemployment. As columnist George Will has said, a party that cannot win under these circumstances might need to look for another line of work."

Let me say, "Spot on."

I know plenty of people who feel like the GOP no longer speaks for them. They feel alienated from the party because of its stance on immigration, abortion, gay marriage and other issues, but mainly because they feel the party is the last bastion of old, rich, white people. Fair or not, that's the perception. And perception has a lot to do with how votes are cast.

Just ask Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock.

On the flip side, when you consider that President Obama just won with big majorities among minority voters (women, African-Americans, Latinos), you see a party - despite advancing some positions some consider too extreme - that a large number of people believe is inclusive.

You can lay this election result at the feet of people chasing entitlements, or folks being too ignorant to see the President's shortcomings; you can write it off to a weak GOP candidate, or the ill-timed issues of Superstorm Sandy; but when people sit down and take a look at the election, what they'll find is that in the swing states that mattered most on the road to the presidency, voters took a look at the GOP, its platform and candidate, and said, "No thank you."

The GOP needs to go back to the drawing board. Throw out its platform. Abandon the same-old, same-old. Take a long hard look at the new America and then take some time to re-think how their worldview best addresses the needs of our changing nation. Then, they need to go out and live accordingly. It may take a few election cycles to find candidates that can best reach the people in those key states. It may take some painful crashes and burns with the hardcore members of the party until the reality sets in.

But rest assured, as several pundits pointed out last night, the GOP won't be able to reclaim the White House as long as it only wins the states it's been winning the last few elections. To make inroads where it matters, the GOP is going to have to do some work.

The question is, will the Radical Right do the radically right thing?

We'll see.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Jason Brooks November 08, 2012 at 11:45 PM
RL - I didn't write about the DNC platform because they didn't blow a winnable election (almost, but that only counts in horseshoes). I think Romney was a solid candidate, but the GOP lost this more for their inability to reach a wider base in key states. It's overly reductionistic to say that the only people who voted for Obama were people just looking to freeload. Sure, there are probably some in that vein, but I know far too many who voted for him because they felt like - flaws and all - his presidency would do more to address issues that impacted them. They looked at Romney (and, actually, the GOP as a whole) and believed he would not. The GOP needs to find a way to make inroads with women without being patronizing, they need to embrace the fact that many Latinos are turned off by their harsh sentiments on immigration (despite being ideologically aligned in most other areas), and they need to really look at the demographics of the country. Then, they need to make amends with the people they've lost over the years and start fresh. Of course, they don't have to do any of that. But as the election showed, they don't have win any elections either. The DNC will keep taking those turned off by the GOP for as long as those folks want to cross the aisle. When you add that to those who are either hardcore Democrat, or just want a freebie, you end up with a Democratic president for years to come. Just my thoughts.
RL November 09, 2012 at 02:11 PM
Thank you for the reply. Here is where I get confused. The GOP (generally speaking) supports free markets, less government, lower taxes, strong defense and personal liberties. Regardless of race, socio-economic class, etc. what is not to like about that idealology? Why should the GOP (or Democrat) have to pander to a "group"? But that is exactly what democrats do. I've got to believe there are plenty of folks of all races that agree with conservative ideals. The GOP's big mistake is addressing social issues. Better off leaving those alone. Regarding immigration - how can you put off Latinos if you want to enforce your own laws? If any immigrant is here through legal means, I'll support them 100%. I already do through their restaurants, stores, etc. Hope the mid-terms turn out better.
Jason Brooks November 09, 2012 at 02:30 PM
RL - I think in general, the principles the GOP espouses are embraced by people. The ideal of being able to make your own way in this country is why a great many folks come here. Where the GOP loses steam is in saying they want smaller, less intrusive government and then reverse themselves when it comes to select personal issues. This smacks of either hypocrisy or poor thinking, and the younger generation has absolutely NO patience for. The DNC has similar points in its platform, but they are not as blatant as the issues within the GOP's. Regarding Latinos, I think this is where the black and white of ideas gets clouded by personal experience; I think a great many of our Latino citizens, those either born here or naturalized, are supportive of the country's desire to have sensible, legal citizenship. But I think they also know people who have come here illegally, on the mere hope of being able to make something of themselves in this country. They don't see illegal immigrants as moochers and pests, but rather as good people hungry for a chance. I think if the GOP softened it's seeming "deport 'em all, let God sort 'em out" stance to something that makes access to naturalization easier and less frightening, you could see a huge change in that voting demographic. And, if the GOP can continue finding qualified minority candidates to run (instead of more whitey), they can make the same inroads across all demographics.
Nod December 07, 2012 at 05:53 AM
I agree! Just think about the comments Romney made after losing the election: President Obama won the election because he gave gifts, and so on. The gift to Latinos: preventing deportation of those under 30 (? correct age) who were brought to this country illegally by their parents, etc. And the "gifts" to other groups, as Romney called them. Gee, he did not sound or act very much like a leader .after losing the election.

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