Opinion: Chill Out, GOP - And Don't Abandon Your Principles

Monday, November 12, 2012 - 09:43 PM

GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks after conceding the race to President Barack Obama. (STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

After each presidential election, politically active Americans hunker down to write out their opinion on what, exactly, happened. This election has sparked this genre to an extent I've never seen before.

Article after article proclaims the Republican party is mangled and on the verge of death. Herman Cain, bless him, is calling for a third party. One of my favorite conservative writers, Kyle Smith, writes as pessimistic a piece as I've seen about the state of the party and the country.

And that's just the Republicans! Democrats are churning out pieces about how Republicans need to abandon everything they stand for and become more like Democrats in order to ever win again. The demographics are against the GOP! Mitt was overconfident and doesn't know real America! And, obviously, plenty of people took to Facebook to celebrate that the extreme rightwinger (Mitt Romney! LOL!) had been defeated because he was so extremely rightwing.

I understand the impulse of these pieces. Eight years ago when John Kerry lost to George W. Bush, I pointed, laughed and advised in my own piece to Democrats. I told them they needed to shape up or Republicans were going to win forever. The GOP had the presidency, the Senate, the House and the majority of governorships and state houses. Democrats were doomed!

Two years later Republicans lost the House and Senate.

What did I know? Not much. I was 27 at the time so can maybe chalk it up to semi-youthful silliness which makes it all the more perplexing to watch people older than me right now have so little historical perspective. The chatter on both sides of the political aisle is as if Republicans haven't won an election in decades and likely won't ever again. In fact, we just 4 years ago had a two-term Republican president and just two years ago the Republicans took back the House (and briefly the Senate).

Additionally, it seems that the most spectacular failure of the Romney campaign was their ground game. In the years I worked on political campaign, one truth always remains the same, no matter the candidate, no matter the election: if you don't get your people to the polls to vote on election day, you lose. It doesn't matter how slick the ads, how high the polls, the most important thing - the only important thing - is to get the people who want to vote for you to get to the polling booth and actually do it.

Parties win and parties fail. Candidates come and go. The Hillary Clinton line in regards to John Kerry "you don't have to fall in love, you just have to fall in line" always stayed with me. I advise neither falling in love nor in line with any candidate. The concept of political parties is to join like-minded people and make it easier to have a candidate represent them.

We won't all agree on everything. But discarding our beliefs to win is never the answer. It's ok for Republicans to take a week and really think about what we want our future to look like. It's not ok to decide we're going to be just like Democrats so that the next presidential winner can have an (R) after his name.


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Comments [4]

Quick question, Karol. Where's the principle in using $12M to schedule a special election rather than have the US Senate race on the same DAY as the general election? Is Gov. Christie has been dressing this decision up as 'letting the peope rule' but you know he is really just buying himself the possibility of a GOP-controlled Senate and Assembly with the public funds.

How does that square with furthering the public agenda? How is Christie anything other than a hypocrite for doing it?

Jun. 16 2013 01:24 PM
Marcello from Brooklyn

The problem (for conservatives...) is not that Republicans are not enough like Democrats but that the country as a whole is less and less like Republicans.
As you say, maybe things are going to change in the future but, at the moment, that seems to be the direction.
Aside from these demographic factors however, the biggest problem of the Republican Party is the Republican Party.
After an election, whomever wins needs to govern in the interest of the whole country not only only for those who voted for them.
But it has been decades now that the GOP has turned plainly into the "Party of the Rich and Privileged" and it is hard to continue to cater to the interests of a minority without the majority catching up with what you do sooner or later.
For many years the Republican Party establishment has compensated for this numerical disadvantage at the polls by using their trademark misleading rhetoric to goad the low-information voter or the single-issue voter, in other words, the right wing nuts that make up the core of your constituency. But in the last few years, with the rise of the Tea Party, the patients have taken over the asylum and the country, this time around, has taken notice.

Nov. 13 2012 10:05 PM

without the libertarian voters the GOP will NEVER win again. There is a major libertarian movement in America, 12 million Republicans did not vote... Those are the libertarians. If the next GOP candidate does not sound like Ron Paul, the GOP is going to continue to lose and lose and lose. Laugh all you want, I'm 1000% correct

Nov. 13 2012 11:01 AM
Robert A.Nesmith from Greenwich,Ct.06830

Mrs./Ms.Markowicz ...This has very little to do w/t identity politics an more in line with [BASIC] character issue's.....The GOP has entrenched themself into .....Let's say,one fantastic bind....In actuality it's better to have an not need.....Then it is too need and not [HAVE]....There in lay the GOP leading in the wrong direction to start off the 21st century.....Oh the irony of an politically challenged and confused electorate !.

Nov. 13 2012 02:29 AM

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