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It's Hard to Be a Republican
Townhall.com ^ | November 13, 2012 | Mona Charen

Posted on 11/13/2012 5:50:46 AM PST by Kaslin

Even when the economy is terrible, when the incumbent Democratic president has not been able to demonstrate success on job creation or growth, and even when the standard of living for Americans is declining on his watch, the country will choose a Democrat "who cares about the problems of people like me" over the Republican. That alone is enough to make Republican heads spin for some time.

Many established beliefs about presidential politics have been proved false by Obama's reelection: 1.) The idea that, when unemployment is above 7 percent, incumbents fail; 2.) The notion that incumbent presidents who are reelected always increase their percentage of the vote over their first race; 3.) The idea that late deciders break for the challenger; 4.) The belief that if majorities say the country is on the "wrong track," the incumbent will be defeated. All wrong.

The problem with all of these so-called laws of politics is that they are based on a tiny sample. There have only been 20 presidential contests between 1936 (the year these "laws" are usually dated from) and today. That's too small a data set from which to glean reliable trends, far less iron laws of politics.

Romney made his share of mistakes. It's possible that if he hadn't alienated Hispanic voters during the primaries by his harsh anti-immigration stance, if he hadn't committed the "47 percent" blunder, and if he had more effectively rebutted the Obama smear campaign against him as a rapacious capitalist who was willing to inflict unemployment on thousands to increase his own and his shareholders' profits, he might have pulled out a victory.

But it's also true that Romney had many strengths, and Obama had many weaknesses. One lesson for Republicans in this defeat (beyond the issue, addressed by this column before, of immigration) is a familiar one that we must examine anew: The Republican message of free enterprise, self-reliance and individual initiative is a harder sell than the Democratic message of "Let the government take care of you."

This is particularly true among single women. Romney won male voters 52 to 45 percent, but he lost women 55 to 44 percent. While Romney prevailed among married women by 53 to 46 percent, Obama's margin among single women was a crushing 68 to 30 percent. Adding to the gloom for Republicans, fewer than half of American households now feature a married couple. The illegitimacy rate is 40 percent. And the women's vote has been increasing as a share of the total for the past several election cycles. In 1980, women were 50 percent of the electorate. This year, they were 54 percent of voters.

The decline of marriage is far more than just a political problem for Republicans. Unless reversed, it may represent the unraveling of our civilization. But it is also a political problem. The Democrats' message to single women is simple: We will give you free stuff. Free birth control. Free medical care. Welfare payments for your children if you are poor. Food stamps. The whole welfare state package. Women want security above all. You don't have to be a political wizard to sell that message. If it's not Santa Claus, it's certainly Mr. Rogers. Ironically, the worse the economy gets under Democratic governance, the more single women cling to Democrats to protect them from the consequences of that failure.

A Republican has the much more demanding challenge -- to persuade voters that smaller government and more free enterprise will improve their lives, their incomes and therefore their security. A good paying job is far superior to even the most lavish welfare benefits. That message has the advantage of being true, but it just may require a bit of political genius to sell it effectively.

That's not to say it cannot be done. If Republicans can find a candidate who conveys the requisite concern for the struggles of the ordinary person, whose personal story is not one of privilege, who conveys a Kempian enthusiasm for the glories of free markets and free peoples and who is pro-immigrant, that person could win. It may be Marco Rubio. There are other possible contenders: Scott Walker, Bobby Jindal, Nikki Haley, Ted Cruz and Susanna Martinez all spring to mind.

To be a successful Republican requires more brains and imagination than to be a successful Democrat. Fortunately for the party and the country, we have a deep bench.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS:

1 posted on 11/13/2012 5:50:51 AM PST by Kaslin
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Comment #2 Removed by Moderator

To: Kaslin

I don’t understand the fascination with Marco Rubio, but some, including Mona Charen, are already pushing him to be the Republican presidential candidate in 2016. Maybe I’ve missed his long list of conservative accomplishments and proven track record of small government governance.

It appears some like Marco Rubio, because they think Republicans should pander to Hispanics. I suspect Mona is part of the amnesty crowd who (foolishly) thinks Hispanics will suddenly love Republicans if we grant amnesty. Earth to Mona! The Democrats already offer amnesty and a whole lot more. You can’t out pander the pander party!


3 posted on 11/13/2012 6:07:46 AM PST by CitizenUSA (Why celebrate evil? Evil is easy. Good is the goal worth striving for.)
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To: CitizenUSA
You can’t out pander the pander party!

Precisely!

There are myriad reasons it's hard for conservatives and advocates of traditional American values to be active supporters of the Republican Party. And what tops the list is not just an absence of strong leaders with clear visions, but it's that in many respects the Republican Party leadership is openly opposed to the values of conservative Republicans!

4 posted on 11/13/2012 6:14:10 AM PST by glennaro
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Comment #5 Removed by Moderator

To: Travis McGee

The current top repub officials are desparately trying to save their positions by blaming conservatives and others. Conservatives and Tea Party members are so polite and tolerant that they are easy targets. But, the bottom line is, the top repub officials are responsible for the loss and the blame lies with them. At present, they are only making their situation worse. I, however, am not so easily fooled.


6 posted on 11/13/2012 6:41:40 AM PST by iacovatx (Conservatism is the political center--it is not "right" of center)
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To: Travis McGee

Anybody ranked the base constituencies of the two main parties by IQ or moral strength? It isn’t immigration stance that separates the parties—if you want more votes, market to the less intelligent and less socially moral. It isn’t any more complicated than that. You can explain virtually all election results with this simple analysis. If you want immigration reform that strengthens the nation and the future quality of life of its citizens, import wealthy high-achievers. If you want a more “third-world panache” to your nation, import those who can’t care for themselves and are seeking gov’t care.


7 posted on 11/13/2012 6:49:06 AM PST by iacovatx (Conservatism is the political center--it is not "right" of center)
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To: glennaro

There are a few realities that Charen ignores, in my opinion.

1. If you remove black women from the notion that women overwhelmingly supported Obama, then you discover that Romney and Obama were about even on women. The black population voted 98% for Obama. It seems to me that is more of an answer than some “war on women” notion. Now add in a 75/25 split of the Hispanic population and Hispanic women.

2. Consumers are rational creatures. If you offer them a better financial package than I do, then you are more likely to win them than I am. If entitlements are offering them more than the low paying and/or part time jobs that are available, then entitlements are going to win more of them than will low paying jobs. So, the real problem is the loss of middle and high paying jobs in the USA.

3. Finally, there’s the media. If the major media outlets are Fox, ABC, CBS, NBC, CNBC, FoxB, MSNBC, CNN, Talk Radio, Entertainment TV, Movies, NYT, WP, WSJ, and US Today, and you own 3 of those 15, then they are reaching a lot more people than you and a lot faster than you.

They can broadcast what they want and ignore what they want, and they are going to win the information war.

The above 3 are realities. I think #2 is critical. If we don’t get people in middle paying jobs, so they have something to protect, then we’ll never overcome racial and entitlement interests. And if we don’t get a better means of quickly disseminating authoritative news/information, then we’ll never get our message out as completely or as quickly as the opposition.


8 posted on 11/13/2012 6:52:00 AM PST by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It! True supporters of our troops pray for their victory!)
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To: Kaslin
It's hard to be an American and accept the "wisdom" of the electorate.
9 posted on 11/13/2012 6:52:32 AM PST by windsorknot
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To: Kaslin

Well, I’m not one anymore.

There is essentially no one in the party that represents what I believe, I would say that the best person in it is Allen West, and they are leaving him on his own, which disgusts me utterly.

Seeing as how I am well used to getting my ass kicked in elections now, I do not care what becomes of the GOP. I am more interested in watching their slow, much deserved political death.

Have fun, GOP.


10 posted on 11/13/2012 7:18:45 AM PST by chris37 (Heartless.)
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To: Kaslin

I’m not a Republican. I’m conservative.


11 posted on 11/13/2012 7:59:22 AM PST by onedoug
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To: Kaslin

“Many established beliefs about presidential politics have been proved false by Obama’s reelection:
1.) The idea that, when unemployment is above 7 percent, incumbents fail;
2.) The notion that incumbent presidents who are reelected always increase their percentage of the vote over their first race;
3.) The idea that late deciders break for the challenger;
4.) The belief that if majorities say the country is on the “wrong track,” the incumbent will be defeated. All wrong.

Mona is right on here.

I’d like to add #5:
“It’s the economy, stupid”.
For a growing number of folks, whether the economy is good or bad doesn’t make that much of a difference, so long as the gub’mint is takin’ care of them.

And #6:
“Social issues don’t matter”.
Well, now they do. And they are matterin’ more.
Particularly to voting blocks like the “ladyparts voters”, who gave (by Mona’s numbers) 68% of their vote to Obama. And they are a growing cohort, whereas married women are a shrinking one.

However, I don’t agree with Mona’s final conclusion:
“If Republicans can find a candidate who conveys the requisite concern for the struggles of the ordinary person, whose personal story is not one of privilege, who conveys a Kempian enthusiasm for the glories of free markets and free peoples and who is pro-immigrant, that person could win.”

We are NEVER going to win a majority of “the new immigrants”. I chose those words carefully. We may win some (as we did on November 6), but the ‘rats will always win the lion’s share of this vote. Picking a Rubio, Cruz or Martinez isn’t going to change this — we may add a percentage point or two (or few) to our tally, but it will still be nowhere enough to overcome the advantage the ‘rats have with these people.

That reality may indeed doom the Republicans to a “minority future”.

I can accept that.
For reality is what it is. It is not what we believe it to be.


12 posted on 11/13/2012 9:09:25 AM PST by Road Glide
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To: Kaslin

It’s difficult to beat Santa Claus, ignorance, and voter fraud.


13 posted on 11/13/2012 9:10:24 AM PST by SoldierDad (Proud dad of an Army Soldier who has survived 24 months of Combat deployment.)
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To: glennaro

Romney another sucky GOP country club republican’t from the GOP establishment. Full disclosure I am an American that just happens to be black. That doesn’t matter but I want make that point clear because I am sick and tired of hearing the myrmidons in the media tell white republicans that they need to reach out to black and hispanic voters more and tailor the messaging. First let me say this. If you don’t understand the meaning of limited government, individual liberty and the ability to own private property as well as unalienable rights. You are lost PERIOD. Blacks that vote for their slavers of the Democratic party suffer from the greatest case of Stockholm Syndrome in the history of Stockholm Syndrome. Here we have a group of Americans that have suffered through slavery, Jim Crow, Dred Scott, KKK, Civil War and Civil Rights turn right around and vote for the people that brought that upon the heads of blacks. That is more effective brainwashing in the history of recorded man. The is insidious and pathetic men like Frederick Douglass and Booker T Washington saw this coming and so should we. Obama and Romney are our fault they are two sides of the same coin and that is why 3 million republican voters stayed at home. He was worse than McCain and didn’t suffer Obama to the attacks that he launch during the primaries. That is telling about Mr. Romney as well as the lack of response from him when they attacked his wife’s treatments for her MS. Someone attacks my wife I get ballistic, I don’t know about you. Even Sarah Palin went off when her kids were attacked as well as Michele Bachman. Ladies and Gentlemen we must not give up hang in there and keep fighting.


14 posted on 11/13/2012 9:27:45 AM PST by Warrior Nurse (I am an American Fighting Man, fighting to keep our country free from despots and idiots)
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To: Warrior Nurse

Really appreciate your perspective (and the time you took to present it). Thanks!


15 posted on 11/13/2012 9:32:38 AM PST by glennaro
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To: Warrior Nurse

“...Even Sarah Palin went off when her kids were attacked...”

Yes, at some point putting your family first means you endanger/trouble them to fight on and face down the enemy. As you said we “keep fighting”.


16 posted on 11/13/2012 9:47:44 AM PST by Monterrosa-24
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To: Kaslin
"The problem with all of these so-called laws of politics is that they are based on a tiny sample."

Oh I see. It's the polls that are wrong. We couldn't possibly have nominated the wrong candidate, lost the issue of Obamacare by nominating it's architect, lost the social conservative issues by nominating someone with a worse record than Obama, and lost the economic debate by failing to enunciate much of a jobs or economic policy. It's got to be the polls, it can't be our candidate.

17 posted on 11/13/2012 11:19:44 AM PST by DannyTN
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To: onedoug

nicely said


18 posted on 11/13/2012 11:21:38 AM PST by Hegewisch Dupa
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To: xzins

I agree. Especially #3. He who controls the information controls the perception.


19 posted on 11/13/2012 11:27:49 AM PST by Fu-fu2
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To: Kaslin

Mitt Romney would be President today if he had secured 333,908 more votes in four key battleground swing states.

Romney lost New Hampshire by a margin of 40,659
Romney lost Florida by a margin of 73,858
Romney lost Ohio by a margin of 103,481
Romney lost Virginia by a margin of 115,910

The Dems out hustled the Republicans in big urban areas and shipped in voters by the bus load. The fact that this is an effective strategy shows how close Presidential elections have become. The US is 50/50 evenly split and the same election has played out since Bush/Gore. It is like watching two evenly matched teams playing a tug of war. When the flag jerks slightly over to the Dem side, the media types start screaming that the match is over, put a fork in the Republicans. Then half the Republicans run around in a circular firing line because they lost this round by an eyelash, when the score is 2-2 since Bush/Gore.

The country will survive Obama, the world will not end. Giant empires like the US move very slowly from a long term historical perspective unless there is a civil or world war.

Can the Republicans win the next one by becoming Democratic-Lite? Why would a Obama voter pick a substitute when they can have the real thing? If the economy continues to tank and the Federal government can no longer afford to subsidize 47% of the population because of lower tax revenues and a continued contraction in Main St, how will that factor in to the next election? If this happens will Obama and the Dems actually be held responsible? What if the MSM keeps closing shop and loses more of their king making power, how does that change the next election? It is easy to play “what if” games, but that does not usually mean you are any better at predicting the future outcome, especially during chaotic times.


20 posted on 11/13/2012 11:53:19 AM PST by Gen-X-Dad
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To: Fu-fu2

Exactly.


21 posted on 11/13/2012 1:05:49 PM PST by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It! True supporters of our troops pray for their victory!)
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To: Gen-X-Dad
Yeah he could have been President elect if that arrogant, lazy, lying pos occupant resident had run an honest election and had not planned stealing it. Which he did when he told the Russian president accidentally (that idiot was aware that the mike was open) that he had more flexibility after the election

Obama open mic slip: 'After my election I have more flexibility'

And there were other instances that made me wonder, how can he be so sure to be reelected, after all he had nothing to run on

22 posted on 11/13/2012 1:27:18 PM PST by Kaslin ( One Big Ass Mistake America (Make that Two))
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To: Kaslin

She missed #5: Breaking the Reagan Coalition by turning your back on SoCons will sink you.


23 posted on 11/13/2012 1:46:52 PM PST by Cyber Liberty (Obama considers the Third World morally superior to the United States.)
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To: Kaslin
It's possible that if he hadn't alienated Hispanic voters during the primaries by his harsh anti-immigration stance, if he hadn't committed the "47 percent" blunder, and if he had more effectively rebutted the Obama smear campaign against him as a rapacious capitalist who was willing to inflict unemployment on thousands to increase his own and his shareholders' profits, he might have pulled out a victory.

The first two items: I don't believe they made any difference whatsoever. The third, yes.

24 posted on 11/14/2012 2:00:37 AM PST by Rummyfan (Iraq: it's not about Iraq anymore, it's about the USA!)
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To: Kaslin

bfl


25 posted on 11/14/2012 6:35:29 AM PST by Yardstick
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