Following the 2012 election, the Republican Party has managed to blame their devastating loss on everything other than themselves.
They blamed the loss on the media, on super storm Sandy, on voter fraud, on a “bad candidate”, on Obama giving out free gifts, on Mitt Romney’s campaign managers, etc.
After all, a trouncing in the 2012 presidential election couldn’t possibly have anything to do with the nation simply rejecting Republican ideas…that is a sheer impossibility in the minds of most Republicans…it of course HAD to be something other than that.
Mitt Romney was actually the perfect candidate for a modern Republican Party. He was fiscally conservative yet more moderate and even liberal on social issues and the issue of healthcare.
That was who Romney was…only his party forced him to change, and it wound up costing him the election.
While governor of Massachusetts, Romney essentially said that he was personally against abortion due to his religious beliefs but that he would not use the rule of law to impose those beliefs on others.
A smart, simple and very American position on the matter; and one that the majority of the country would have more than likely supported.
Romney realized that the American healthcare system was incredibly broken so he essentially implemented Obamacare in Massachusetts. Upon signing the bill Romney said that his goal was to give “every citizen with affordable, comprehensive health insurance.” – sound familiar?
Since the implementation of “Romneycare” 98 percent of MA residents now have health insurance coverage versus a national state average of 82 percent.
In 2008, Romney said “Look, if people can afford to buy it, either buy the insurance or pay your own way. Don’t be free riders and pass on the cost of your health care to everybody else.” – Sound familiar?
And here’s the real kicker…90 percent of MA doctors said that the quality of care has improved since the mandate was implemented because people are now seeking preventative care which has significantly improved public health and driven down the number of hospital visits.
You see, the Republican Party was against Obamacare from the beginning simply because it was implemented by the Democrats. Republicans never had a true vision for the future of the American healthcare system, they only knew that they were against the law that the Democrats had come up with, even if it was a near mirror image of the law Romney had implemented in MA and a bill that Newt Gingrich had tried to pass nearly 20 years ago. This made the Republican phrase of “repeal and replace” a very difficult one for many Americans to digest during the election because the Republicans really had nothing to replace it with.
Romney was essentially forced to walk away from one of his key accomplishments as governor of MA because he was made to do so by the more extremist portions of his party.
My goodness, could you imagine if Romney would have been able to stand up and say “I implemented a healthcare law that now has 98 percent of my state insured, has caused costs to increase at a rate no different to the rest of the nation and has 90 percent of MA doctors saying that the quality of care has improved since the implementation of the law. Hospital visits are down significantly and the state’s general health has improved due to preventative care being more widely available” This was a true winner for Romney that he was made to abandon and which resulted in his new stance on the matter looking incredibly contradictory.
Romney was also forced to take stances on social issues that he didn’t even believe in.
Romney had already made it clear that he was against abortion personally but would not use the rule of law to impose those beliefs onto others, yet he was forced to take an anti-abortion stance during the election and chose a far right vice presidential candidate by the name of Paul Ryan whose anti-abortion views are extreme to say the least.
This was once again done to appease the more extremist portion of his party.
On the issue of immigration Romney essentially said “get out” to all undocumented workers in America including children of illegal immigrants. He spoke of “self-deportation” during the primaries and had no real plan for immigration reform. These were once again fairly extreme republican stances that played a huge role in Romney losing the election.
On the issue of gay marriage, Romney himself probably couldn’t have cared less about this issue, he was more interested in fixing the economy and getting the nation on the correct path, yet he was forced to take an anti-gay marriage stance by his party.
And then of course you had some of the other Republican congressional and senate candidates coming out with absurd statements about social issues that caught the attention of the nation.
You see, the current state of our political system is that you probably have about 40 percent of voters who will vote Democrat no matter what and 40 percent who will vote Republican no matter what; elections are won by reaching the 20 percent in the middle.
These people tend to be less conservative than the extremists portions of the Republican Party but also less liberal that the far left portion of the Democratic Party.
Romney’s personal views were more aligned with this 20 percent in the middle. But Romney’s problem was that he was forced by his party to go further right than these 20 percent of voters were comfortable with.
In the end, what happened was that the nation didn’t vote for Barack Obama because they thought he was doing an outstanding job, they voted for Obama because they were downright terrified of the Republican Party and there extreme views on social issues, immigration and healthcare.
If Romney had run on what Romney truly believed he would have won the election and he would have likely changed the entire Republican Party into a more moderate, modern party that could succeed in the future.
If Romney were given free reign he would have likely run on being fiscally conservative, would have promoted his healthcare achievements in MA rather than bashing one of the key accomplishments he had as governor of the state. He would not have been liberal on social issues per se, but his stance would have been that he wouldn’t use the rule of law to impose his personal conservative beliefs onto others, very similar to the stance he took while governor of MA.
If Romney were to have run for president while taking these positions, he would have likely captured a larger portion of those 20 percent of voters that could have been swayed in one way or the other.
Post mortem studies of the election loss have essentially proven this theory.
Polls and studies have essentially said that much of the country was with the Republican Party fiscally, but that they also viewed the party as racist, extreme and out of touch when it came to social issues, women’s issues, and the middle class.
It is difficult to win elections when a good portion of the country views your party as racist and out of touch with the middle class.
In the end, Romney didn’t lose the election; the Republican Party lost it for him.
Had Romney run on what he truly believed and wasn’t essentially forced to take the more extremist party stances, he would now be entering his fifth month in office, and would likely be doing a pretty damn good job of things.
The big problem for the Republican Party moving forward is that it appears they still have not learned from their 2012 election loss.
If anything they have become even more extreme on social issues. The party has gone to the far right on gun control issues. The party is holding firm against gay marriage and abortion. The party is continuing to waste time voting against Obamacare while not having a clear alternative of their own and just last week Republican Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn came out and said “women don’t want equal pay laws.”
The Senate is close to putting forth a true immigration reform bill, but this is essentially a waste of time because there is no chance this bill will pass congress, where most of the more extreme portions of the Republican Party reside.
There is an old saying that goes “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”
Based on the last election and the studies which have been conducted about the Republican’s election loss, it is clear what went wrong. The Republican Party has a clear roadmap of what they need to change and which direction they need to move in.
Whether they decide to follow that roadmap and change is a different story.
As of right now it seems as if the Republican Party has decided to continue down the same path that led to a trouncing in the 2012 elections. And if they continue to head down this path despite all of the data telling them to move in a different direction, they will have no one to blame but themselves for another trouncing in the 2016 Presidential election.
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