The Republicans were badly battered Tuesday night in the general election. Without Florida’s results, Obama cleaned Romney’s clock 303-206. That’s quite a bruising in an election cycle that the Republicans should have easily won considering the miserable state of the economy. The Republicans lost Senate seats they should have won because of outrageous ‘legitimate rape’ comments by socially conservative candidates and they even lost a few House seats.
More to the point, the Republican Party is disintegrating because it literally has 3 factions that do not peacefully co-exist: 1. the New England styled Rockefeller big government Republicans 2. the social conservatives who tend to only vote their so-called intolerant values and 3. the spirited assortment of Tea Party reformers, Libertarians, Ron Paul supporters, Independents and other fed up conservative voting blocks who can no longer even hold their noses and vote for big spending, big government Republicans. The GOP can no longer hold its fractious base together; hence, it’s got a dwindling base and the problem has existed since 2006.
Let’s start with Mitt Romney. He really only had to campaign on 3 issues because in politics, the message is everything. The American people, especially fiscal conservatives to Libertarian leaning types, are fed up with the endless wars, the nasty economy, the corruption in the District of Crime (DC) and mountains of spending and debt. All Romney had to do to win was pounce on these 3 issues over and over:
1. Support military spending sequestration and promise to bring foreign policy out of the closet and put it on the table for a real bipartisan debate simply because we can’t afford the existing foreign policy. But what did Romney do? He appeased the military gods and promised to increase military spending by over $2 trillion. Military spending is not the same as defense spending. We need to understand the difference because there are indeed legitimate national defense needs that do not include traipsing around the planet in a display of muscular military might that includes costly bombings, invasions, occupations, very expensive rebuilding, civilian death tolls and deadly drone bombings.
2. With an ailing economy, Romney should have focused on why America is bleeding jobs, namely that US corporate taxes are the highest in the industrialized world and Fedzilla’s monstrous regulatory apparatus is strangling the economy by driving jobs offshore. What Romney should have done was campaign on ending the corporate tax – that’s right – reduce it to ZERO, and reign in destructive regulatory powers.
3. Most Americans absolutely do perceive that corruption in the District of Crime is epidemic as well as a finely tuned system of patronage, crony capitalism, corporatism, bailouts and corporate welfare. All Romney had to do was campaign on NO bankster or corporation bailouts and subsidies.
The fatal flaw of the Republican Party is that it truly believes that all it has to do to win elections is fire up the defense hawks and the religious right. The formula is no longer working. Even more interesting is that voter turnout was down 14 million over 2008.
With 97 percent of precincts reporting, The Associated Press’ figures showed more than 118 million people had voted in the White House race, but that number will go up as more votes are counted. In 2008, 131 million people cast ballots for president, according to the Federal Election Commission.
Experts calculate turnout in different ways based on who they consider eligible voters. A separate, preliminary estimate from George Mason University’s Michael McDonald put the 2012 turnout rate at 60 percent of eligible voters.
Let’s move on to the Senate.
Before the election results, the Democrats controlled the US Senate with 51 Democrats, 47 Republicans and 2 Independents who typically vote with the Democrats. The day after the 2012 election, the Democrats will have 52 Senate seats and the Republicans are down to 45 (Politico). The Republican Party is famous for running hardcore social conservatives in the US Senate, something they can get away with in a House race simply because the districts are carved out to guarantee perpetual Republican or Democrat victories. A Senate race, however, is statewide and is highly susceptible to a myriad of factors.
Obama didn’t win because of his job performance or popularity; he was re-elected because he was perceived as the lesser of the two evils. The Republicans managed to reinvent themselves as the reincarnation of big spending, warmongering George Bush. In 2008, I remember talking to Republicans who greatly feared John McCain because they felt that he was so mentally unstable that if he had the nuclear button to push, he’d push it. Incredibly, Republican Party has also succeeded in branding itself the socially intolerant War Party.
In 2010, the Republicans stood an excellent chance of winning 2 Senate seats in Colorado and Nevada (Harry Reid was facing a tough re-election campaign). But the social conservatives who dominate the Republican primary voting base nominated Sharon Angle to run against the seasoned and ferocious campaigner Harry Reid, and Ken Buck for the Colorado senate seat. Harry Reid was vulnerable and even a liberal commentator noted that a wet noodle could have defeated Reid. Both Angle and Buck lost. Why? They were not only pro-life but they were radically pro-life and both endorsed the position that human life begins at the precise moment of conception, that all abortion under any circumstances should be outlawed and that America needed a constitutional amendment defining human life as beginning at the precise moment of conception. That is definitely not a position that appeals to most voters and it’s also a position that is a guaranteed ballot box loser.
Christine O’Donnell, of the “I am not a witch” Sarah Palin endorsed variety, lost her Senate bid in Delaware but that was probably expected in a reliably blue state.
It’s 2012 and the Republicans once again had an opportunity to take the senate. In Indiana, Richard Mourdock defeated the aging veteran GOP’er Richard Lugar in a primary, and was considered a shoe-in. In Misouri, Todd Akin stood an excellent chance of defeating Democrat incumbent Claire McCaskell in a general election. But once Akin let loose with his now infamous “legitimate rape” comment, he started sinking in the polls. Mourdock followed up with an Akin styled rape comment and his advantage started to also sink. Both Akin and Mourdock lost. In fact, McCaskill crushed Akin 54.7% to 39.2%. How’s that for a voter referendum on a contentious social issue?
Republicans will opine that their presidential candidate was flawed. In reality, it’s the Republican message that is deeply flawed. Yeah, Mitt Romney was a flip-flopping candidate but that’s not unusual with the political class. What really sunk the GOP Tuesday night is the total lack of a viable message to solve big problems combined with social conservatives who scare voters away.
Moving forward, I do believe that the conservative movement has an awesome opportunity to rebuild the party and get rid of its destructive elitist command and control hierarchy that is arrogant and clueless beyond belief. I also believe that there is an energized youth movement to get the Republican Party back on track by advocating for less federal powers, less spending, less war and less civil liberty crushing legislation like the Patriot Act and NDAA. The District of Crime has become a feeding trough for voracious corporatist pigs gorging on tax dollars as well as a gargantuan symbol of the concentration of wealth and power.
Winning the future and winning the hearts and minds of the people by advocating for peace, liberty and prosperity absolutely requires shoveling out the filth, rot and decay that has destroyed American conservatism and infested the Republican Party with a fatal disease.
Losing isn’t the worst thing that can happen. Losing should be a time for profound soul searching to figure out what has gone wrong and why. Losing can be replenishing, cleansing and ultimately a good thing. The Republican Party stands no chance of ever rising again until the day dawns when the GOP actually stands for something besides big government, big spending, big deficits, big piles of debt, big corporate welfare, big bankster bailouts and endless wars.
Conservatives, liberty activists, constitutionalists and fiscal conservatives now have an awesome opportunity. Will they blow it, again?