What did it all mean?

Byline: | Category: 2012 | Posted at: Wednesday, 7 November 2012

In a few days we should have nearly complete data about the final vote.  Analysis of what it all meant can wait until then.

. . . For the time being then I’m going to work on the much more enjoyable task of finishing my novel about wine, and the even more frustrating task of trying to put together a small business in our hyper-regulatory environment.

I’ll leave you with one final political pondering I expect to muse about these next few weeks: 

Is the Republican Party an irretrievably damaged brand?

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5 Responses to “What did it all mean?”

  1. Conrad Says:

    I don’t think the problem is the GOP “brand” per se. If the brand were that badly tarnished, then I think the Dem Party would be more like a majority party, with a conservative wing comprised of right-leaning voters and activists who simply wouldn’t want to be associated with the GOP.

    Rather than a branding problem , I think what we’re seeing is a country still mainly divided on political philosophy. What has happened, however, is that the 50-50 country of a decade ago has tipped 52-48 due to the libs’ weaponization of CULTURAL issues. Through the news media, Hollywood, and academia, the Dems have imposed a liberal social orthodoxy on the country as a whole that says, in effect, that if you go to church, if you believe in traditional family values, if you think people should be judged on the content of their character and not on the color of their skin, if you think illegal aliens need to be dealt with as lawbreakers and not as victims, or if you think the government can and should impose limits on doling out free stuff to people who may or may not need it, then you are some kind of racist, homophobic, anti-science meanie. It’s the whole subtext behind BHO’s tagline about Mitt: “He’s just not one of us.” He may be capable; he may be right about the economy and jobs, etc.; but he doesn’t think and feel the way we do.

    Intellectually, half the people may agree with Republicans, but the Dems have managed to flip the culture enough to make conservatives look and seem out of step with the soul of America, which now is primarily concerned with being a “nice guy” to the likes of Lena what’s-her-name, Sandra Fluke, “Julia,” and LBGTs and other minorities in general. Being “nice” to these folks has become the trump card that libs can play against conservatives to win the support of voters who respond mainly to emotional cues.

    Perhaps there’s some way the GOP help itself simply through re-branding, but that seems like an uphill battle given the libs’ control of the media. I suspect and fear that we will simply have to wait for the inevitable, disasterous consequences of the leftists’ policies to filter down into their own voters’ lives in order to get the GOP back in the game politically.

  2. Carl Hardwick Says:

    After the Great Depression, the Republican brand was terribly damaged and led to 40 years of Democrat dominance. An entire generation (and their children) were scarred by the memories of the 1930’s economic disaster that happened while the Republicans were in power.

    I’ve long feared that the same thing happened after the 2008 financial crisis.

    Sure, it almost certainly happened because of bad government policies that started with Clinton. But it’s a fact that it started while the Republicans were in power.

    A lot of voters have now associated that disaster with Republicans, just as their grandfathers associated the Great Depression with Republicans.

    Conservatives believe in small government and that didn’t prevent the 2008 crisis. Big government caused it, but for most people, 2008 financial disaster = Republicans.

    Also, wars of choice are now associated with Republicans. Maybe another reason for the 2008 and 2012 losses was set when WMDs weren’t found in Iraq. I think toppling Hussein (Saddam that is) was a good idea but most people think that the war wasn’t worth it if WMDs weren’t found.

    Terrible results like the 2008 financial crisis and the Iraq War can only be undone by countervailing events.

    Democrat policies led to high inflation and long gas lines in the late 70’s, which undid the damage due to Watergate and Reagan was elected, followed by Bush 41.

    If the Democrats enact policies that cause disasters, the GOP brand will be rehabilitated.

    If they don’t cause problems, the GOP will have to wait until the current generation slowly forgets GOP errors of the past.

    That might take a generation, unless the Democrats have bad results in the meantime.

    I think it’s pretty simple. When you’re in power and something catastrophic happens, people won’t vote for you until the other party does something equally bad.

    You can’t argue for a forceful foreign policy if failure is the result. You can’t argue for small government if an unregulated part of a heavily regulated industry blows up.

    Republicans have to wait until the Democrats drop the ball.

    That could happen in any number of ways, a nuclear armed Iraq, high inflation due to the deficits, crony capitalism that causes corruption on a massive scale, Obamacare raising taxes and/or health insurance premiums.

    But until something happens to prove that Democrat policies have led to bad results, Republicans will be out of power.

    By the time they get back in, the Supreme Court will probably have a 6-3 or 7-2 liberal majority. Obamacare will be baked into the system.

    Republicans only have themselves to blame for policies that failed in the real world.

  3. bonch Says:

    The Republican Party isn’t over. It holds the House, the majority of governorships, and the majority of state legislatures. I also think Obama isn’t some huge, socialist monster. People caught up in campaigns tend to believe the caricatures painted for each candidate.

    However, the Republican Party’s image has been tarnished by the social conservative wing. The abortion stance has turned off women, and the religious fundamentalism has turned off young voters and independents. Americans have been gravitating in this direction for many years, but the Tea Party seemed to have caught the GOP by surprise and caused it to swing right socially. Ironically, Republicans used to be more socially liberal–things like the individual mandate in Obamacare are actually Republican ideas, but in the need to differentiate from the Democrats and appeal to the Tea Party movement, the GOP has contradicted its past positions.

    A tweet going around last night read that if someone says “The rape guy lost”, and you have to ask “Which one?” then you know your party needs to modernize its platform.

    As for lasting Democratic dominance like after the Great Depression, I think that’s a bit of hysteria. The public will vote for the most appealing candidate regardless of party affiliation. Most of them don’t follow politics as closely as we do and will embrace whoever is more friendly and able to communicate well. The idea of the government getting out of your life is appealing to all voters, but that message hasn’t been strongly and humanly communicated since Reagan.

    I think Rubio will be the nominee in 2016 and will be the stepping stone for moving the Republican Party on issues like immigration and other social issues. If the GOP remains strictly anti-immigration, anti-gay, and anti-abortion, it will see continued losses. However, if the GOP was accepting of gays, women, and minorities, as well as pushing for smaller government and decreased taxation, it would be near-unstoppable. The party was formed, after all, with the goal of promoting individual rights in the face of slavery. In the eyes of the public, that goal of promoting individual rights has been lost along the way to appease “angry white men” in the social conservative movement.

    Ed: I agree with all but the Tea Party comment. It wasn’t socially conservative at all. (Although there were many attempts to portray it as so. Obviously successfully.)

  4. Watchman Says:

    The GOP was founded with two major goals–one was abolishing slavery, but the other was ending polygamy. So a focus on “social” issues is hardly new for the elephants.

  5. Carl Hardwick Says:

    I’ve been very sad after the election. I guess you were too, since the question you posed was, “Is the Republican brand irretrievably damaged?”.

    But maybe there is some hope, but it’s not necessarily in a comfortable way.

    The NYT ran an article that showed the shift in the vote.


    There was a pretty big move to the right, but not enough for Romney to win.

    One [interesting/devastating/disturbing/hopeful] statistic is that Romney won the white vote pretty much everywhere, even in New York and California. The white vote margin was 60-40 for Romney.


    The current thinking among conservatives and leftists is that with an increasingly large share of the vote coming from minorities, the GOP and conservatism are doomed.

    There’s another school of thought, something that Karl Rove pointed out on Fox on Nov 6. It’s almost impossible to defeat a sitting president who was elected after the other party was in power for two terms. Reagan in 1980 and Grover Cleveland in the late 1800’s were the only two times. That might explain why the GOP candidates this time were so weak. All the candidates knew it was a very long shot to win, given history.

    If that’s true, Obama was going to win no matter what. As the incumbent, he was able to run against Romney before Romney even won the nomination. And while Romney couldn’t spend money until the convention, Obama spent $200M in the summer to implement their “Destroy Romney” strategy. It worked in Ohio, Virginia and Florida.

    So maybe Obama’s margin of victory shifting from +9M votes to +1M votes is a hopeful sign. Maybe if the white vote shifts from 60-40 to 65-35, that will be enough for the GOP to win a majority again.

    It’s hard to say if that will happen. It’s harder to say if that’s a good thing.

    Is it a good thing that the black vote was 96-5 and the Hispanic vote was 75-25 for Obama?
    Who knows?

    There was a +4 shift in the white vote, comparing McCain to Romney. Another 4 bad years of Obama and another +5 shift could occur.

    So that does seem to be evidence that the Republican brand isn’t damaged.