SUMMARY OF THIS ELECTION: Bias in the media? Yep. Campaign ads filled with lies and distortions? Yep. Did Romney make mistakes, miss shots he could have fired? Yep. Why waste time and energy on that now? Take a deep breath.
FACT: Obama was a sitting duck, ripe to be picked off.
FACT: Obama won.
FACT: It wasn’t even that close.
FACT: The Republican base was totally energized and turned out.
FACT: Romney got fewer votes than a DOA John McCain got in 2008.
FACT: The Conservative BASE is too small. We need a bigger tent. We need positions that will attract more people.
Getting paranoid and ‘re-trenching’ with the ‘base’, etc. is a losing proposition. Sticking by the core ‘planks /positions’ is admirable, but will guarantee more loses – in particular, on a national level. This stance may work locally… analyze the office by how ‘local’ it is and who its constituents are…
U.S. House of Representative: local, more Republican
Governor: statewide, more Republican
U.S. Senator: statewide, swings but more Democrat
President: least local, Democrat
FACE THE TRUTH: More than 50% of the people trust conservative leadership on the economy, but LESS than 50% align with Republicans on social issues. We have GOT to find areas where migration on position has value – where it attracts more, but doesn’t compromise key beliefs.
HOW DO WE GET THERE: PEOPLE AND ISSUES
Key characteristics of traditional Conservative / Republican Party members:
- Self-reliant / industrious
- Hard working
- Family oriented / family values
Has historically been personified by:
- White men*
- Married women*
- Church-going Christians*
*As a percentage of the overall population, each of these groups continues to decline… (anecdotally, I also think that Baby Boomers typically align here, but as they get older and become reliant on government services promised to them (Social Security, Medicare, pensions, etc.) they will, rightfully, look to protect these services / vote Democrat.)
Largest percentage population growth sectors: African American, Latino, single women. Like it or not, most of the African American sector will never align with Conservatives.
Latinos represent the clear opportunity:
- Core values are closely aligned
- Overwhelmingly religious (regardless of persuasion)
- Family oriented
- Disproportionally located in southern states – (States traditionally conservative, so these Latinos are geographically aligned with as is conservative base)
Given this, we must ask ourselves: Why do they vote Democrat? Perceived anti-immigration stance? Probably doesn’t matter because it’s not been a top five issue in elections for years, but I’d spend the money to find out. As a ‘new’ group of growing influence, the opportunity to evolve our platform to include that population is still there (vs. AA, which has too much inertia.) My guess is there are two distinct groups within the Latino immigrant group – those who are coming here for a BETTER life and are willing to WORK hard to achieve it, and those that are coming for the freebies. We know where this second group goes.
We MUST concentrate on the first group.
NOW CONSIDER THIS ONE POSITION: ABORTION
Face the truth: Roe v. Wade is long established law of the land and will likely never be reversed (even though the pro-life position is growing.) Accept it, move on. Take it out of the platform. If anything, it should be a states’ rights issue – NOT a federal campaign cornerstone. This is a losing issue and it’s perceived negatively by the majority of single AND young women. And demographically speaking, women are the majority of the voting public. Abortion is also the most demagogued of conservative issues. There is also no merit arguing the extremes (late term abortion, abortion on demand, etc.) It’s a losing ISSUE. It is what it is; we are NOT going to change it. Leave it.
[As an aside, Romney’s attack on Planned Parenthood probably cost him huge numbers of voting women because of the PERCEIVED attack on their reproductive rights. Women do not see the asserted immorality of pro-lifers funding abortions via their tax dollars. Women see ‘ending PP’ as a termination of their reproductive rights. Whether this is right or wrong, it’s their perception. And in politics, PERCEPTION IS REALITY.]
It didn’t help the cause that Todd Akin, the Republican senatorial candidate running against Claire McCaskill in Missouri made totally ludicrous remarks about rape and abortion. The entire Republican hierarchy floor to ceiling should have walked away from this man and demanded that he withdraw, should have withheld every centavo of funding. He’s a nut, and McCaskill was ripe for the picking. She won. It should never have happened.
In conclusion….. drop all things to do with abortion. But what if we alienate…..? The reality is – where will they go? Single issue voters will stay home. The other pro-lifers….. will stay right where they are. Harsh but a necessary truth. But what about our ‘base’ if we change our platform? Will they switch to the Democrats? Ain't gonna happen. Will they stay home? Who knows? But more of them stayed home THIS year with Moderate Mitt on the ticket than did with Aisle-Crossing McCain IN 2008 - 3,000,000 more!!!!!
We have to start somewhere. There you have two of my major thoughts. We’re outnumbered. We have to begin to ATTRACT people, rather than just hope people will wander into the tent. We MUST offer an alternative that makes people say ‘YES – that’s what I BELIEVE, and that’s what I WANT!’ Can’t happen overnight.