President Obama’s re-election is the second consecutive time the Republicans have failed to put forth a winning candidate in the race for POTUS. Obama’s first-term victory shouldn’t have been too surprising because of the catastrophic state America was left in after the Bush administration. In contrast, the President’s second-term victory was much different and it could be a signal for the Republicans need for change. After all, the Republicans had quite a bit to use against President Obama in the last election. However, their candidate turned out to be Romney and we all saw what happened there… A man with a long record of flip-flopping who also had disastrous organizational problems within his campaign simply could not win. And, keep in mind, this is even with President Obama’s faults (he is by no means the worst President, but the possibility of being defeated was quite viable when you look at his record).
So this begs the question… Are the Republicans becoming “unelectable” in the race for President?
I do not think they are becoming “unelectable,” but I do think they are becoming more unpopular. Here are the two most prominent reasons which I can think of, although there are definitely more:
- The polarization and fragmentation of the Republican party
- Refusal to compromise, especially with social issues
First of all, the polarization/fragmentation of the Republican party was extremely evident during the primaries. It took ages for Romney to gain some real traction and uniting the base was still difficult. Many major Republican players didn’t truly support the man until he was literally the only option remaining. Romney appealed to such a conservative base during the primaries that even he knew how he wouldn’t be electable during the main election. That’s why we saw such a drastic change in his policies as the election neared. His rhetoric during the debates with President Obama would not have been as successful to the Republican base during the primary elections. Such sudden changes only caused the fringe voters to become even more uncertain about Romney’s positions, swaying them towards President Obama.
The polarization also lead to some incredibly rash statements by various Republican Congressmen and/or candidates over the last year or two, specifically on the issue of abortion. Below are two quotations.
“If it’s a legitmate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
- Republican Congressman & Senate candidate Todd Akin (MO) on August 20, 2012
“When life begins with that horrible situation of rape, that is something that God intended to happen.”
- Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock (IN) on October 23, 2012 (1 day after being endorsed by Mitt Romney)
It would be foolish to think that the majority of the Republican party thinks this way, but these two individuals (among others) managed to hurt the entire party’s image by saying these ridiculous statements. This is just one example of outlandish and extreme views being detrimental to the Republican party.
Next… Refusal to compromise, especially with social issues.
Out of all of the major social issues presented in the debates, I think abortion is the only issue which has a sound argument on both sides. It is a true philosophical discussion; when does life begin and is it moral for humans to interfere with the developmental process? Sufficient responses to the abortion debate are most certainly not “they’re baby killers!” or “it’s my body and I can do what I want with it!” Neither of those arguments truly capture the complexity of the issue at hand. But as sound as the core argument may be once one wades through the partisan hackery, it almost doesn’t matter. The Supreme Court has made its decision on the issue. We’ve had so many Republican Presidents during Republican majorities in Congress, yet nobody was able to make ANY progress with the issue (in terms of overturning the Supreme Court’s decision). There is no way that the decision will be overturned and there are much more important things to focus on during this incredibly difficult time – like the endangered lives of the already born. A politician’s view on abortion shouldn’t be a deciding factor in an election.
Gay marriage is the other huge issue that the Republicans fail to budge on. I’ve already discussed this issue in one of my first posts (http://simple-politiks.com/2012/07/19/gay-marriage/), but I don’t think that the Republicans will be able to fight the gay marriage debate for much longer. So many people, especially in my generation, don’t see the point of refusing to let gay couples marry. The longer the Republicans allow gay marriage to be a political issue, the more bigoted they will appear and less support they will garner.
Legalization of marijuana is a difficult social issue for many people to overcome (particularly the generation from the War on Drugs) but it too will be an irrelevant issue in the coming years. In a much more recent post I also discussed this issue: http://simple-politiks.com/2012/10/10/revisiting-the-marijuana-debate-2/. Its restriction, for medicine in particular, is not logical at all when you look at the various other drugs out on the market (including prescription medicine which is surprisingly more dangerous in many cases). This issue isn’t as big as abortion or gay marriage, but it is another example of a failure to budge on social policy.
The future of the Republican party doesn’t look very good to me if they do not begin to make some serious considerations to their platform.
Fiscal and personal responsibility are great principles to support, but the true ideology of conservatives is being misrepresented by a fragmented and socially-challenged Republican party.