Ideas and Demographics Favor Republicans
The 2012 presidential election was pivotal to the future of America -- the most important in our lifetimes, if not longer. As long as I can remember, they have all been described like that, but rarely are the effects irreversible.
In Republican circles, the requisite weeping and gnashing of teeth is well underway. The immediate reaction is to overreact, and to demand a reappraisal of Republican outreach to minorities. Cooler heads must prevail, however, for though Democrats won in getting out the vote, their vision of big government planning, spending, and taxing is still a loser in America.
Democrats were equally distraught after the 2004 election; indeed, many liberal elitists threatened to leave for Canada or seek solace in France. Before we could wish them "bon voyage," their party bounced back in 2006 and 2008...only to then suffer a sound "shellacking" in 2010. If history is prologue, the "six-year itch" will induce Republican gains in the 2014 midterms -- and if Obama obstinately pursues socialist policies, Republicans will likely administer another shellacking in 2016. Demographics are on the Republicans' side; all they have to do is select candidates free of foot-in-mouth disease.
Yes, I did say demographics favor Republicans. It may not be apparent for those inclined to wallow in post-election mire, but two of the fastest-growing groups in America are Hispanics and seniors, and both are more naturally imbued with conservative ideals. Moreover, exit polls show that America is still a center-right country. For example, 41% of voters described themselves as moderate, 35% as conservative, and only 25% as liberals.
Conservatism is far from dead, and Republicans must be discerning so as not to sacrifice their principles for the sake of courting intractable voters. For example, it's unlikely that young, single females, who prefer that government pay for their contraception, will ever cozy up to conservative notions of self-reliance and personal responsibility. Perhaps this is why Sandra Fluke, otherwise relatively unaccomplished, played such a prominent role in the Democratic National Convention. Interestingly, more married women (53%) voted Republican in 2012, compared to 51% in 2008.
Contrary to knee-jerk criticism from some despondent pundits, the Republican Party is inclusive and vibrant. Compare the talent on display at the Democrat and Republican Party National Conventions. While the Democrats paraded a series of hardcore liberals to rally their base, Republican speakers represented diversity and youth. They included Susana Martinez, who happens to be the first Latina governor (New Mexico) in U.S. history, and we'll never forget Florida Senator Marco Rubio's inspirational introduction of Governor Romney. South Carolina governor Nikki Haley, who comes from proud Indian stock, gave a prominent speech, and the only reason Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal pulled out was so he could lead his state in the aftermath of a hurricane.
The Republican tent could easily swell before the next elections. Hispanics -- again, the fastest-growing demographic in America -- are more likely to be pro-life, entrepreneurial, more respectful of traditional families, and just naturally conservative. However, due to the dynamics of the Republican primaries, this wasn't apparent with Romney as the standard-bearer.
Often taunted by primary challengers as a wishy-washy moderate, Romney was keen to prove his conservative credentials. Curiously, he described himself as "severely conservative," and he opted for a strident stance on immigration, such as encouraging "self-deportation" (that sounds severely scary) and rejecting the DREAM Act. But with a less severe approach towards immigration reform, perhaps adopting Marco Rubio's version of the "DREAM Act," more Hispanics will return to their natural home. Remember, Bush got around 44% of the Hispanic vote against Kerry in 2004 -- Romney got a paltry 27%.
Gov. Susana Martinez delivered one of the most powerful, palpable political images during the election season. At the RNC, she was mesmerizing as she described how politeness -- and a free lunch -- induced her and her husband, Chuck, to meet with Republicans as she pursued her political career. During the meeting they talked about taxes, families, small businesses, whether welfare is a way of life or hand up, and the role of government. A dazzling Martinez proceeded to bring the house down when she then said: "And when we left that lunch, we got in the car and I looked over at Chuck and said, 'I'll be damned, we're Republicans.'"
I bet that at least 44%, probably many more, of Hispanics are also Republicans. They may share Gov. Martinez's epiphany when they're free of the left-wing demagoguery on immigration.
Further undermining the knee-jerk punditry that demographics are against Republicans is this inconvenient fact: there are now more Americans age 65 and older than at any time in our history, and their ranks are growing faster than the general population.
As the ranks of senior voters accelerate, the youth vote decreases. I was once an idealistic, albeit misguided, young liberal before maturity set in. This is a phenomenon captured succinctly by Sir Winston Churchill, who said: "If you're not liberal at age 20, you have no heart. If you're not a conservative at age 40, you have no brains." This may explain why Romney outperformed with older voters, winning 51% aged 45-64, and 56% of those over age 65.
For sure, the next two years will be problematic, but even on ObamaCare, it's possible that 30 Republican governors (the most since 2000) can partially thwart its implementation. Also, for the sake of America, I hope that House Speaker Boehner will countervail Obama's misperception about having a mandate.
Here's some more Churchillian wisdom: "You can always count on Americans to do the right thing -- after they've tried everything else." It's premature for antsy Republicans to push the panic button; ultimately, ideas and demographics are on their side. It may take another election, but Americans, no matter their heritage, will not allow their country to degenerate into Greece.