Republican leaders are now examining how they lost the 2012 presidential race.
They should not just blame Mitt Romney, the messenger, but take a hard look at their conservative message and policies favoring the wealthy.
On paper Romney looked like the Republican Party’s perfect presidential candidate: Successful businessman, former governor, Harvard Law and MBA, strong debater, devoted family man.
But the articulate Romney had the wrong message. Even the best salesman cannot sell a bad product.
During the Republican primaries Romney went too far to the right to win over conservatives. He tried to moderate his positions during the presidential debates and in the general election campaign. He tried to soften his language on immigration and abortion. But it proved too late. Women and Hispanic voters did not forget Romney’s stance during the primary and the insensitive comments of his Republican colleagues.
Exit polls showed that the economy was the top issue for voters. Most said unemployment was their chief concern.
This hurts the GOP, which voters correctly view as the party that puts tax cuts for the rich above everything else when it comes to economic policies.
A majority of voters said Romney’s policies would favor the rich, while three-fourths said Obama’s policies would benefit the middle class or the poor.
Exit polls also showed that most voters approved of the federal government’s aid to U.S. automakers.
Exit polls showed that voters in Ohio, which was central to any chance of Romney winning, strongly supported President Barack Obama for championing the rescue of the auto industry, which Romney had opposed.
Exit polls also showed that Republicans have a gender gap.
Romney was not helped by comments by two Republican Senate candidates concerning pregnancies that result from rape.
Obama’s victories in Colorado, Nevada and Virginia are partly attributed to the huge turnout of Hispanics who voted Democratic.
The Republican Party is increasingly relying on older White voters while the electorate is increasingly becoming more diverse.
But the way to appeal to women and minorities is to not to just trot them out to speak at the Republican National Convention. The GOP also won’t appeal to the changing demographic that voted for Obama by referring to them as people who “want stuff,” as commentator Bill O’ Reilly said on Fox News.
“It’s not traditional America anymore,” said O’Reilly.
The Republican Party can continue to listen to O’Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Donald Trump and the Tea Party at its own peril.
The way for Republicans to reach African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians. women and young people is to change course. The GOP must move from the far right to more moderate positions.
(Reprinted from the Philadelphia Tribune)