Is it my imagination, or are we hearing about the GOP wrestling with why they lost the 2012 presidential election a little longer than they did in 2008? It’s four months past Election Day, but still, the conversation on all the news outlets seems to always include just one more story about why the Republicans lost.
The angst the Republicans feel is certainly palpable. They cannot believe they lost; they cannot believe that the Hispanic community went in such large numbers for President Obama; they cannot believe that 21st conservatism …lost.
So deep is their misery about their loss that they’ve been talking ad nauseum on how they must change. It’s a new day, they’re saying. “We get it now,” they say, and they’re looking at themselves and their policies …and the way they relate to the masses of Americans. Some of them are realizing, as Jeb Bush said, that people think they are against everything – gay marriage, abortion, Medicare, Medicaid, the poor …They realize that now.
But what they are saying they want to do is change their image, not their policies.
Donald Trump, one of the speakers at CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference), voiced concern that 11 million immigrants, if allowed to become American citizens, will vote Democratic. Trump said to allow that is suicide. It’s okay to let them vote, he said, but think of what we are doing! He wants America to remain “the way it was,” dominated by white men; “why don’t we let people from Europe in?” he asked.
“Tremendous people, hard-working people,” he said. “They can’t come in. I know people whose sons went to Harvard, top of their class, went to the Wharton School of finance, great, great students. They happen to be a citizen of a foreign country. They learn, they take all of our knowledge, and they can’t work in this country. We throw them out. We educate them, we make them really good, they go home — they can’t stay here — so they work from their country and they work very effectively against this. how stupid is that?” (http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2013/03/trump-white-immigrants-cpac.php).
Very little of what I’ve heard GOP leaders say indicates that the vast numbers of them understand the way the world is changing and how the GOP needs to be sensitive to those needs in order to build their base. Most of them seem to want to find a way to stay the way they are, while doing what they most to get more brown voters. They still don’t seem to care about increasing the number of black people.
It’s not just the GOP leaders, either. Conservative followers are helping to remind people of why the GOP is suffering a bit now. Footage of CPAC showed a clip where a black guy was conducting a workshop on racism and how people are tired of being called racists. He mentioned Frederick Douglass, who hated slavery…and a white guy gets up and said that blacks, under slavery, had free room and board. Why, he wondered, would anyone want not to be in such a cushy situation?
No doubt, that man would violently disagree with anyone who called him a racist …but he and so many GOP leaders do not seem to understand that the smug attitudes of racism will not be tolerated much more. Discrimination against blacks, Hispanics, women, gays and lesbians…is going to be tolerated less and less.
It would be refreshing if the GOP really understood that it has had a snooty attitude toward way too much of the American electorate. Some of its leaders are understanding, but it seems far too many still cannot.
The GOP lost because people need to know they matter, and the GOP simply did not reach out to and respond to the cries and needs of a growing number of non-white Americans and would-be Americans. People do not trust a political party which seems intent on letting the poor and the elderly, for all intents and purposes, fend for themselves. And nothing of what I’ve heard thus far indicates that they understand …or care …that it is their policies which have turned so many people off.
President Obama, in spite of his flaws and shortcomings, was and is effective of letting a wider swath of Americans know that they matter. The GOP did not do that, and they are now seeing the consequences of their actions.
That’s why they lost. So, can we note that and stop talking, every day, about why the Republicans lost in 2012? If the GOP cannot move itself into a different mold after seeing what happened in 2012, they deserve to lose…
A candid observation