A Hard Reality of Romney's Loss: Demographic Change
In preliminary analyses, the 2012 electorate was closer to the 2008 than the 2004 electorate. Blacks, Hispanics, younger Americans, and single women in large part fueled President Obama's reelection victory. More than Romney's shortcomings, more than voter fraud, and more than evident mainstream media bias, changes in the nation's electoral makeup would have made it hard for a better challenger than Mitt Romney to win.
With two consecutive national election victories, Democrats are demonstrating that 2008 wasn't a fluke. 2008 and 2012 are the stuff of realignment. The electorate has changed, and conservatives need to come to grips with that fact and formulate strategies that take these changes into account.
If a moribund economy, reckless government spending, and an unpopular government health care scheme couldn't sink Mr. Obama, what can? As American Thinker contributor Steve McCann wrote in a post earlier this morning:
It is obvious that this nation has not fallen to the depths necessary to awaken it to the dire prospects over the horizon that will assuredly come to past with the leadership the people have chosen.
Indeed. The nation may have to touch bottom - or come close to doing so - to change not just minds, but hearts.
For now, Mr. Obama's majority coalition is evidently willing to accept a flat economy in exchange for more government-provided security; a generation of Americans who grew up over-leveraging their credit cards and incurring chronic personal debt seem heedless to the massive debt that Uncle Sam and Mr. Obama have racked up; and these voting cohorts either embrace ObamaCare or aren't fussed about government dominating their health care.
Conservatives can spend months blaming this or that for Romney's loss (or Romney himself) or accept cold reality and get on with the job of finding ways of connecting a new generation of voters to conservative principles and policies. It won't be an easy task, and will take time, patience, and dogged persistence. It may well mean accepting electoral setbacks in the interim. But as Ronald Reagan was oft-quoted as saying, he didn't change his principles or worldview to accommodate voters; voters changed theirs to accommodate his.
Don't expect the Republican establishment to adhere to conservative principles moving forward. After all, the GOP establishment is about keeping skin in the game. If moving to the middle (code for tacking left) is what's required in Republicans' minds to stay "relevant" and have or acquire power, they will seek to push the party leftward.
Hence, a major fight for conservatives will be to wrest the Republican Party from establishment's hands. It's a fight that conservatives must win. The Republican Party is infrastructure. Better to takeover that infrastructure than try to recreate it through a third party.
Another big fight will probably be with House Speaker John Boehner and his lieutenants. There will be enormous pressure on the Speaker and his leaders to accommodate and compromise with the president. The House Republican majority remains the only obstacle to retarding Mr. Obama's gambits.
Conservatives should take heart, though. Mr. Obama inherits his own mess. A moribund economy is likely to slide back into recession if the president persists in hostile policies toward free enterprise and business. The dollar continues to be debauched through quantitative easing (printing funny money). Mr. Obama isn't likely to modify his spendthrift ways. The national debt will expand, not contract, in the coming four years.
The president still has to answer for the Benghazi debacle and his ensuing cover-up. Conservatives must move heaven and earth to hold the president accountable for his actions, even in the face of continuing mainstream media silence and, perhaps, public apathy. Four dead patriots cry out for justice. Conservatives must continue to stand against the injustice done these four Americans and against the shameless lying that the president and his minions indulged to escape accountability.
Mr. Obama's policy of rapprochement and appeasement of the Muslim world is in tatters. Muslim terrorist groups are resurgent in the Middle East and elsewhere. Egypt is being radicalized. Iran continues developing nuclear weapons capability. Israel is more imperiled daily. Conservatives need to continue to draw stark differences with the president over critical national security and foreign policy issues.
Conservatives must also carry on in the fight for free religious expression and rights as basic to every American. Mr. Obama will not likely abate in his efforts to bring churches and their agencies to heel in his desire make them contraceptive and abortion providers. No doubt the president's Justice Department will seek new routes to attempt to apply discrimination laws to the discharge of ministers, priests, and rabbis.
Yes, the electorate's demographics are changing, but conservatives' adherence to bedrock American principles cannot waiver. Conservatives must be watchful and cheerfully insistent in the rightness of their cause. Conservatives must be missionaries, who with faith, optimism, and unfailing determination reach out to voters not now persuaded that conservatism is the best hope for a prosperous and safe future.
Bitterness, spite, and endless blame-finding won't advance the conservative cause. Voters must be persuaded, not chastised. The fight for liberty and the nation's future continues. Let us conservatives join that fight confident in our beliefs, humble in our ways, and resolved to prevail.