Here at Conservative Island, we’re still picking through the rubble that was the 2012 presidential election. This one stings more than others in the past, because many of us genuinely felt that Mitt Romney was going to defeat Barrack Obama, and that all of the numbers were polling in our favor. While the candidates were virtually tied in almost every poll leading up to election day, we were reassured by political experts that the undecided voters always break in the challengers favor, and that no way would people vote for a second term of economic gridlock and poor leadership.
Flash forward a few weeks and the confidence has been completed wiped away with a feeling that the Republican party now needs to rebuild and re-establish what it stands for. Their failure to win over Latinos, young single woman, and other micro groups of the populace are now claimed to be a demographic shift that has made the United States a forever liberal and blue nation.
Long have we conservatives thought that our primary message of small government, minimal regulation, and low taxes would be a message that should appeal to everyone across all racial and gender gaps. A wise old Republican congressman once said that the only color Republicans care about is green, when he was asked about racism in America. We conservatives continue to believe that anyone can “make it” in America if they are willing to work hard enough, pull themselves up by their boot straps, and take personal responsibility for their lives. This should be a very easy sell, because we’re selling the American dream — and the right for anyone to become wealthy and happy in America today.
Why doesn’t the message of political conservatism work on many people in America today? Well, let’s first examine what the message was that these groups were hearing and why. If you tuned into your friendly neighborhood liberal media outlet during the election, you were told that the true feelings of the Republican party toward women were being presented by the likes of that notable idiot Todd Akin, who proceeded to explain to women what rape was and why they needed to consider babies born out of rape to be a “gift from god”. They completely disregarded that 99% of Republicans in the country disagreed vehemently with his ridiculously radical views, and even Mitt Romney asked him to get out of the race immediately after making these comments.
By letting people into the Republican party like Todd Akin, and allowing them to run for office as Republicans – we set ourselves up for disaster. Situations like this were expertly used by the Democrats to make the Republican party appear to be run by a bunch of crack pots. We were made to once again look like a male-centered party, where women are routinely disrespected and expected to listen and obey. In this day and age it’s hard to believe that it would even be possible to convince the American people of such a thing, especially when many in the Republican party now consider themselves to be pro-choice. Even Mitt Romney, who had been a very pro-choice governor in the state of Massachusetts and was described as “too liberal” by many in the Republican party was colored to be one of the worst anti-woman’s rights candidates in the history of the USA.
I’m not saying our candidate wasn’t weak, because he obviously was. We chose to run a career politician from New England who many conservative Republicans found to be a downright offensive choice that they had to hold their nose to vote for. Many apparently did not show up to vote for him at all, which could be factored in as a huge reason why the election was lost. Romney was seen by many to be too wealthy, aloof, and disconnected. He never looked comfortable in his own skin, and he looked guilty for his financial success whenever the topic came up. Instead of embracing the money he had made, and sharing stories about how anybody could achieve greatness in America — he avoided the issue, and never brought it up. The guy’s refusal to release his tax returns made most Americans feel that he was hiding something, and the fact that he had only paid 13% in taxes on the returns he released made most lower income Americans feel like they were getting the shaft. Obviously many of us conservatives who employ CPA’s, own our own small businesses, etc — understood fully how someone could make so much money and pay so little tax, but your average Joe-sixpack in America thought this was nothing short of criminal.
The point I’m trying to make here is that not only did we give the Democrats many gifts this election, but we also allowed the Democrats to label us for the American people. In the great tradition of James Carville, they talked about the points they wanted to talk about long enough — until they had successfully framed the debate. Instead of spending time focusing on our message of economic freedom for all, opportunity to achieve great wealth, keeping government small, etc. — We allowed the Democrats to drag us into arguments about Romneys tax returns, free birth control pills, “self deportation” (Whatever the heck that means?), rape, planned parenthood, and gay marriage. None of which were ever on Romney’s agenda. It was clear from the very beginning that they did not want to talk about the economy, small business, capitalism vs. communism, Marxism, and socialism — or anything else that would be an obvious win for us.
In a future blog I’ll be writing about where we should go from here, what lessons can be learned, and how to defeat the Democrats in future elections.