What Obama’s Win Means for the GOP

by Michael Sorge - SUNY Purchase on November 7, 2012

Mitt Romney was too conservative. Or was he too moderate? Does the GOP need to reach out to Latinos more or move right and energize their conservative base? Today Republicans are left pondering why they lost this election.

Democrats are in a celebratory mode, despite a looming “fiscal cliff” and serious economic promises facing the nation. Republicans, many who predicted that Mr. Romney would pull off a decisive victory, were left confused but with plenty of blame. Karl Rove on Fox News was even criticizing the station for calling Ohio too early.

Late night reversals and predictions gave the presumed “red” state of Virginia to Obama. The intensely close nature of the Florida race showed that Mr. Romney was in for a tough night.

There is evidence for those in the GOP who claim that it is not the Republican vision that was rejected by American voters, but rather the extreme on the ideological right. Democrats retained control of the Senate after a series of Tea Party inspired nominations made gaffes regarding abortion and rape. If it had not been for these nominations, more traditional Republican candidates would have won, they claim.

Steve Hayes, columnist for the Weekly Standard, disagreed and argued that it was moderation and lack of serious conservatism that was culpable for the defeat. He said the future of the GOP relied on “substantive conservatives,” like Bobby Jindal. He argued that the American public wants “people who are big thinkers and who get stuff done and people like Scott Walker, Marco Rubio…”

George Will, a conservative commentator, said on ABC News that there were now “two factions in the Republican Party”, saying that there was a libertarian group focusing on pocketbook issues while the social conservatives focus on abortion and gay marriage. Mr. Will also derided the President saying that “Obama wants to be on the Mount Rushmore of liberalism.”

Though Mr. Obama retained a sizable part of the electoral college, the nation is still starkly divided. For much of the night Mr. Romney held a lead in the nation popular vote, though it is approximately 50 % to 49% for the President now.

A changing demography of the American electorate could also be a conundrum for future Republican politicians and leaders. Whites, though breaking toward Mr. Romney, are being overruled by a growing Latino community. Other minorities including blacks also overwhelmingly support Democrats and liberal policies.

“It is going to take a long time for the Republicans to get the state of the country,” Matthew Dowd, a consultant to George W. Bush, opined.  Many in and out of the GOP echoed similar sentiments.

In election night speeches to the divided public both Mr. Romney and the incumbent struck conciliatory and bipartisan tones. Mr. Romney chided “partisan” bickering while Mr. Obama specifically said he would “sit down with Gov. Romney” to deal with big issues.

President Obama’s speech was delivered in an optimistic tone, however he laid out a liberal agenda despite the fact that nearly half the nation voted against him and his policies. He stated that citizens must not ask what government will do for them and must rely on self-governance, while also saying that we are a co-dependent family.

How the social conservatives, libertarians, and moderate Republicans mend will take a long time to see. The crucial question among the caucusing Republican lawmakers heading to Capitol Hill is which post-loss narrative will prevail? Some fear a greater shift to the center, while others warn against a turn to the right.

What is certain is that all Americans will see partisan gridlock put to the test again soon, as the debate over the “fiscal cliff” comes near.

Fix Contributor Michael Sorge is a student at Purchase College, State University of New York.

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  • http://profile.yahoo.com/IGKIMVYO2JN57IHEH3S6HGLDHQ WILLIAML

    The GOP has a new dance called the Waffle.
    Whenever the RINOS die off, the GOP might amount to something

  • texasnative3

    Now that the final numbers are in for both the popular and electoral college tallies, it is clear that President Obama and the Democratic party did well this election cycle. The questions remains for the Republican Party to ask itself, “What happened?” No one can thoughtfully answer that question the day after, the week after or the month after. My bet is that the “answer” will be a mix of things.

  • mikeheart

    I truly think there is an evolving American population, as there pretty much has been for the past 200+ years. While the waves of immigrants of the 1900s were Irish, Italian, Chinese and Jewish, they eventually all melded into the US “melting pot.” This is now happening with the next wave of immigrants, who are primarily Hispanic and mixed Asian (Vietnamese, Chinese, Filipino, Indian). Somehow the Republican party has been beating the drums of: us vs. them. In California, we are all part of the mix (BTW I’m second generation white Italian-American), and this is why Republicans are not doing well in the state. The Republican party doesn’t represent many people I know and if you look at the numbers, the percentage of 38 million Californians who voted for Obama was quite small. The Republican party should be evolving it standards along with the populace because as a political party, it needs to represent the people in order for it to be effective.

    • HBninjaX

      The Republicans represent everyone, they don’t engage in identity politics. Individual liberty, a good paying job, and cheap energy are things that benefit everyone regardless of the color of your skin or whether your private part is an innie or an outtie. Pandering to specific groups only divides us. What the GOP needs to do is get its message out in a better way to reach more people, and to counter the Democratic stranglehold on pop-culture, the media, and academia.