As of Wednesday, November 7, the electoral count (FoxNews) stands at 303 – 206 in Obama’s favor, with only Florida having yet to complete their tallies. Aside from being shocked (I allowed myself to succumb to the eccentricities of the Morris/Rove/Barone/Ulsterman-WHI “Romeny’s-going-to-win-by-a-landslide” contingent), the bottom line is that Team Obama simply had a better ground game:
The story of the election: Obama turned out his base. As a percentage of the electorate, young voters (18-29) actually increased by a point. So did turnout among Latinos. And turnout among blacks matched 2008. O’s ground game was simply amazing.
On the exceptionally negative side, the following must be fully understood (and I’m convinced it’s not, by anyone on any side, yet):
- The Senate (for the next two years) is controlled by the Democrats. This means that even if the GOP-controlled House decides to, say, draw up articles of impeachment over a hot issue like the Benghazi massacre, it would very likely be stopped in the Senate
- The House, while still solidly in the control of the GOP (with no less Tea Party influence than it is now), gives Obama every chance to simply route Executive Orders around them without thinking twice
On the other hand, now that there are 30 States with Republican Governors, Tenth Amendment-based initiatives have become significantly easier to come by. Consider that 6 out of 10 such ballot initiatives passed last night by overwhelming majorities. Ironically, they were set to satisfy both the right (healthcare mandate nullifications) and the left (consumer-based marijuana usage).
Could it be possible that if the Federalists in DC become so overly zealous with mandates that the States — at least the most red ones — would rise up and say, “no?” Maybe, but the threat of federal money removal is a strong incentive to keep States in line.
Beyond the statecraft of it all, it is my opinion that the GOP needs to take itself to the proverbial woodshed and get a personality makeover:
- This race was not about ideology. On a local basis, Tea Party-backed candidates had no problems getting elected. It was only when certain pro-life senatorial candidates decided to dive head-first into foot-in-mouth syndrome did they lose handily
- White people no longer make up the majority of the electorate, even as much as they did ten years ago. Multiple ethnic groups are becoming bigger pluralities in the electorate
- Hurricane Sandy was Obama’s uncontrolled November Surprise. His being seen alongside New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was essentially the icing on the cake, likely giving Obama the extra point or two of “looking presidential” that he needed at the right time to push over the finish line. Why? Well, if Obama can be seen amicably appearing to deal with a disastrous situation next to an exceptionally outspoken Republican Governor, then the perception is that Obama can just as easily reach across the aisle as Romney could have
- Let’s not forget that it is nevertheless exceptionally difficult to unseat an incumbent President.
In my view, here is a key question that the GOP must successfully answer if it is to succeed at the national level, going forward:
Why is it that Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. can win a landslide victory from the Mayo Clinic but Rep. Allen West cannot? Seriously. What’s the difference?
I think the GOP has a trust and an image problem with a growing segment of the electorate. Why can’t the GOP be trusted with “minority” votes, even though its ranks include the likes of Gov. Mendendez, Gov. Jindal, Gov. Haley, and Sen. Rubio?
Tell me this: What’s the first reaction that Democrats have when the GOP speaks of one of the aforementioned individuals? You’re just putting a token [insert favorite ethnic group here] on the dashboard; it doesn’t mean anything.
Am I right? OK, then how does one turn this around?
Hint: In 2016, if the GOP does not nominate someone like Sen. Rubio as its standard-bearer, they will lose. I’m going to go ahead and call it, merely one day after the 2012 General Election.
Do I think the GOP has a conservative message issue? Yes. But conservatism isn’t the actual issue. Remember the bad logic? Just because someone possesses contraception doesn’t mean they will automatically go out and have sex with someone. Just because someone possesses a gun doesn’t mean they’re going to automatically shoot someone. Wrap such social issues up in libertarian terms and you win the argument.
The path to victory: Aggressively reach out to ethnic groups like your party depends on it (I think it does), and demonstrate that taking responsibility is both a good and cool thing to do. Then, celebrate the crap out of such victories at all levels in the organization and, in time, the trust and image issues will take care of themselves.
People think the system is stacked against them, and maybe it is. But people also conduct their lives in a generally conservative manner. Take advantage of that.
This comment from Prof. Jacobson’s bog links to EvilBloggerLady, further confirming my thoughts RE: expanding demographics (read: you can’t count solely on only white people voting with you to win nationally anymore).
Also: Wisconsin’s State government is now in full GOP control, even though they’re not sending senatorial candidate Tommy Thompson nor their share of electoral votes for Mitt Romney to Washington.
Regardless, Veep candidate and re-elected Representative from the same State Paul Ryan will be back in the next Congress, still chairing the Budget Committee in the House.
The House firewall remains intact, for now.
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