5 Things Republicans Need To Do To Get Back In The Game

It’s been a week since the election and I thought I’d give a little bit of closure to the whole thing by looking at what Republicans need to do to get back on the upswing over the next 2-4 years.

I will go in saying that I identify as Republican though I don’t push my ideology on people nor do I try to talk people who aren’t Republicans into changing their views.  All I ask is the same.

Even though the Republicans kept control of the House of Representatives, I think last Tuesday was a very disappointing day for the Republican party.  They had hoped for Mitt Romney to win the presidency, of course, and had hoped to, at the very least, not lose ground in the Senate, where there is a Democratic majority.

Neither of these things happened.

Never a chance

I had felt all along that a Romney win was out of grasp.  Even after the debate and even when various polls leading up to the election were showing that a Romney win was possible, I wasn’t buying it.  I wasn’t as confident as Sam over at Financial Samurai who actually had some bets going (bets which he won, but later donated the proceeds to charity), but I stuck to my conviction that Romney didn’t have a prayer, and once the results started coming in, I knew early on that he would lose.  I figured that he would have to pull off at least one upset even before the battleground states came into play.  Once I started seeing that the states that were supposed to go to Obama were all going to Obama, and by a large margin, it seemed only a matter of time.  And it was.

Why Was I So Confident?

I was confident that Romney would lose based on a couple of different accounts, and they tie back to numbers.

Here are the things that I think doomed Romey and the Republicans that they need to take some serious looks at between now and 2014 (the next Senate and House elections) and 2016 (when the Presidency is back in play):

  1. Anger – Every candidate is going to anger people in some fashion.  The fact is that Romney angered a whole ton of people when the video came out about 47% of the people taking from the government.  Even taking that aside, Obama’s plan to tax the wealthy angered the wealthy, but that’s a smaller subset of the population than can angered by traditional Republican policies.  One example of this would be immigration.  Republicans have made a lot of statement about immigration reform, which angers a great deal of the Latino population.  Adding up the number of people that Romney/Republicans angered during the election cycle, and it was a very tough uphill battle right from the get-go. They need to stop being the party that polarizes and be the party that…
  2. Compromises – As much as many Republicans aren’t going to want to compromise about issues relating to taxes and other policy, the fact is that gridlock is good for nobody.  The gridlock we’ve seen over the last couple of years has made the most recent Senate and Congress among the most unproductive, ever.  Continuing to stand their ground and give nothing might make the party backers happy, but if that wasn’t enough to win the election, maybe that’s not such a great strategy.  Wouldn’t it be great to be able to go into 2014 and 2016 able to deliver the message that it was the Republicans that allowed for gridlock to be broken, for the fiscal cliff to be avoided, and for other issues.  I actually think Romney had a good track record during his time as governor, and he would have been somewhat successful in ‘reaching across the aisle’, so hopefully his Republican counterparts take a lesson and actually follow through.
  3. Appeal to minorities – Republicans have, nearly without fail, been able to count on the white vote.  But, look at the census readings over the past few decades.  Minority population is growing at faster rates than that of whites, meaning that whites represent an ever smaller portion of the electorate.  Polls also show that most minorities vote overwhelmingly with the Democrats.  The study of these numbers could take an entire college course, so I won’t even attempt to touch more than to say that if the Republicans do not find away to capture some of the minority vote that they don’t have today, they are going to continue to fight an uphill battle.
  4. Groom someone now – Obama won’t be able to run again in 2016, so while he had it easy this year in not having to wage a primary battle, the Republican primary battle was a mess.  Many candidates that were expected to run didn’t, and it was pretty late in the game before they actually decided (reluctantly) that Romney was their guy. I think party leadership has been completely disorganized, and they need to find one or two people and start grooming them now (similar to how I think Obama was groomed the second after he nailed his speech at the 2004 convention).
  5. Don’t assume Obama will be Bush 2.0 – Obama’s first victory in 2008 was a no-brainer, and a good chunk of that was because the American people had soured so much on the Republican party largely because of the devastation of Bush’s second term.  John McCain (or anybody else) was simply not electable that year.  My fear is that the Republicans will simply count on the same thing happening in Obama’s second term, and will count on his failure that would provide a clear path to a 2016 victory.  Which could happen, but that’s a big risk to take if you ask me.  If it doesn’t, they’ll be left in no better position than they were this election.  And look where that got them.

At some point in time, another Republican will be elected to fill the Oval Office.  Though I’m sure many diehard Democrats would hope against it, the numbers make it a guarantee.  The above ideas are just some of the few things that I believe the Republican party must do if they want that to happen in the 2010’s (because they only have one shot left).

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13 thoughts on “5 Things Republicans Need To Do To Get Back In The Game

  1. I agree with all of this! I am an independent, but I lean a little on the liberal side. I think that Republicans are having trouble recruiting people like me- who are in the middle- because of all of the reasons you stated above. Additionally, the far right wing is just downright terrifying. I think they have some work to do to get back in people’s good graces.
    Overall though, I am just sick of the two party system in general.
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    • I agree. The far right seems to get the loudest voice within the party, but unfortunately they don’t represent the American public, i.e. they are not going to get elected until they get a better voice of reason.

  2. I think demographics are also the death knell to the Republican party. As someone who grew up during the Bush years and who hardly remembers the Clinton years, the Republican “brand” is simply tarnished. It’s a joke.

    Young people are far more socially liberal than generations before. I think the Republican party is pretty much over so long as Iowa and South Carolina are seen as the important primaries. It’s the social side of the Republican party that young people will never respond to. Frankly, I don’t care about gay marriage, and I don’t really think you’re going to balance a budget by talking about abortion. My generation sees right through that pandering, and we don’t really care to hear about it.

    Republicans need a different stand on foreign policy as well. It’s time to be honest with the American people and admit our failures. The current wars (Iraq is hardly over with 17,000 people still there) are the second and third longest wars in American history. Time to come home, use that money elsewhere, and stop talking up war at every single corner. These wars are the Vietnams of years gone by.

    I’ve got my money on Rand Paul in 2016. He’s probably the only guy who can sell himself to the most socially conservative wing of the Republican party while being mostly socially-liberal and fiscally conservative.

    Just my two cents.
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    • I think a lot of those types of issues that you mentioned may ignite and fire up the base, but as I alluded to, it just annoys many more people, making them seem (as you said) out of touch. Don’t know much about Rand Paul, but will have to take a look and see. I’m sure the 2016 campaign will begin soon enough!

  3. Honestly if more focus was put on fixing things and doing whats best for our country it wouldn’t matter who won. Heck we would need two separate parties to begin with. But being as it is you are right on most of the points. Appealing to the wealthy when most of the US is not wealthy is not going to win the electoral votes needed. Something of the things the bring up sometimes doing these elections you know is just fluff. Half of the ish never gets done!!!
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  4. Your numbers are useful in illustrating why the Republicans struggled. I’d also add that the Republicans need to be more likable. Yes, it can be frustrating to see the President play a celebrity role. But it works.

    G.W. Bush wasn’t too different either. Polls showed that Americans wanted to sit down with him, have a beer and chat. Voters want to like their candidate of choice.

    -Christian L @ Smart Military Money

    • True, though for some reason polls showed that virtually no Americans wanted to go hunting with Vice President Cheney.

  5. I’m going to have to disagree with you on this – “gridlock is good for nobody.” What I have seen in the past is that a very high percentage of the time, when we see bipartisanship or compromise, the size of the government grows! This is almost without exception. If compromising means passing a budget bill that increases spending, I think gridlock is DEFINITELY a good thing! We can’t afford to keep spending at the rates we have been, and that’s not even factoring in our massive debt. If you believe that drastically cutting spending is needed, and breaking the gridlock doesn’t cut spending (maybe even increases it), then gridlock is a very good thing.
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    • I see what you’re saying and I agree that the wrong choice is definitely not one we want to go to, but making no choice (aka ‘gridlock’) is not the answer either, at least in this case. They need to step up and do the responsible thing, not just fight for some unattainable agenda or leave the problem for someone else to deal with.

  6. I think you are spot on. I tend to vote Libertarian since I rather not have the government mandate so much, but that means that I am a hop, skip and jump away from being a Republican if they would come to the center on some issues. I am all about small government and living and let live. So I simply cannot vote for anybody that doesn’t at least try to make everyone equal. I truly think that ending slavery and allowing women to vote seems to be where we stopped. Everybody is equal – religion, sexual preference, color, or gender should not matter. I won’t be satisfied with this government, no matter what the ruling party, until everyone truly has equal rights. Let’s just say, I only vote to show that somebody in Texas waited in lines to rebel…
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  7. I’m right smack in the middle. I’d prefer to get rid of the party system and figure something else out that works. It’s just a tug of war. Dems win for a few years until people get tired Then Reps get it until the same thing happens. Most American’s don’t identify themselves with parties.
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  8. You’re definitely right saying that Rep. have always relied on the white vote. They need to start breaking into the big cities (as they mostly lean Democrat) and look to try and bring minorities out of poverty. Wouldn’t be surprised if a Minority is put up as a candidate for Rep. in 2016 albeit a Marco Rubio
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