So, why were Willard Mitt Romney and other Republican Party candidates basically annihilated during the 2012 elections? The answer is simple – in addition to the genius of the Obama campaign strategists, I believe there are four major reasons why Romney and other Republicans lost—(1) Flawed Leadership; (2) Far Right Agenda; (3) Lack of Credibility; and (4) Resolve of the American People.
Flawed Leadership – Romney had been practicing to become President since 1994 but was not prepared for the journey. He should have known that his taxes, off-shore accounts, Bain Capital, and his Massachusetts healthcare law would become significant campaign issues. This past March, former presidential candidate Rick Santorum suggested that “re-electing President Barack Obama would be better than electing Republican rival Mitt Romney.” Fox News commentator, Ann Coulter, said that, “If we don’t run Chris Christie, Romney will be the nominee and he will lose to Obama.” This past January, Newt Gingrich called Romney “a liar who would mislead the American people if elected to the White House.” Romney’s leadership credentials were flawed and Republican leaders especially the Fox News crew disdained him.
Far Right Agenda – The Republican Party’s far right agenda especially dealing with women’s health and civil rights issues angered an extremely large constituency. Congressman’s Issa’s hearing on women’s contraception without permitting female testimony and Rush Limbaugh’s attack on Sandra Fluke intensified the problem. Richard Murdock’s comment that rape resulting in pregnancy was “something God intended to happen” and Todd Akin’s comment about “legitimate rape” were not only reprehensible but alienated women. The selection of Paul Ryan as the vice presidential candidate who has views similar to Murdock and Akin was a problem as well. Abortion rights also became an important political divider and when Romney talked about appointing Supreme Court Justices to overturn Roe vs. Wade, his popularity continued to wane. Pro-choice does not mean pro-abortion. Romney’s “self deportation” comment that he made during a Republican presidential primary turned-off many of the Hispanic population. The threat to turn Medicare into a voucher program, to defund Planned Parenthood and make significant cuts in domestic programs did not go over very well. The Romney video concerning the 47% was the last straw. It validated his agenda and was the first nail in his coffin.
Lack of Credibility – The Romney campaign and Republican Super-Pacs flooded the airwaves with lies, distortions and fabrications about the President and Democratic senatorial and congressional candidates. In addition, a different Romney appeared in each of the presidential debates. During the first debate, Romney came across as a “denier” of the facts that he had been supporting since the start of his campaign. At the second debate, a more conciliatory Romney showed up and seemed to be in agreement with the Obama policies. At the third debate, Romney’s National Security showing was a disaster and his lack of preparation and ignorance was clear. The main reason that Romney lost Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin was because of the blatant double-down lie he was advocating that Jeep was relocating to China that the residents of these states knew was a lie. That was the second nail in the Romney coffin.
Resolve of the American People –Republican state officials launched an exceptional, centrally focused crusade to suppress democratic voters. Republican governors and state legislators passed a variety of measures aimed at preventing millions of students, minorities, immigrants, ex-convicts and the elderly from voting in the 2012 election. The success of this effort would have been the most significant setback to voting rights in this country since passage of Voting Rights Act of 1965. What these voter suppressors failed to consider, however, is the resolve of the American people who were so enraged at their actions that they were motivated to spend hours upon hours in lines just to exercise their right to vote. While many thought that this constituency was not motivated enough to turn-out for this election, the crowds were huge especially among women, African Americans, Asians and Hispanics. Not only did President Obama win a second term, but the Democrats picked up significant Senate and House seats. This was the third nail in the Romney coffin.
In a previous article, I had predicted that Obama would win a second term with at least 310 electoral votes. After Florida is called, his electoral votes will be 332. I also said that Senate Democrats would pick up at least two additional seats and they did. The House Democrats also picked up additional seats and three of the most despicable Tea Partiers, Joe Walsh, Todd Akin and Allen West, also lost. In addition, Maryland residents approved same-sex marriage (Question 6) and the new Maryland casino (Question 7) by significant majorities.
The Republican Party has yet to realize that the US electorate and issues have become more progressive. The 2012 election was a repudiation of the right-wing radicalism and ideology. In addition to overwhelming support of women, President Obama captured 93% of the African American vote, 72% of the Hispanic vote, and 73% of the Asian vote. Moreover, voters made history on Election Day by endorsing moves to allow gay marriage in Maine, Maryland and Washington State. Minnesota voters also rejected a ballot measure that would have preserved an anti-gay marriage law in their constitution, and neighboring Wisconsin elected Tammy Baldwin as the country’s first openly gay U.S. senator. For the Republican Party and its Christian conservative base to be competitive in future elections, they will have to accept the current reality including the fact that marriage equality has nothing to do with religious rights but everything to do with civil rights. Although it’s difficult for many Christians to admit, this country was not founded on Christian principles and beliefs but as a “nation under God.” Other US religions including Mormonism, Judaism, Islam, New Age and many others worship their god but do not promote Christian values, yet their faith is as strong. As long as conservative Republicans continue to listen to Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and other right-wing radical commentators, it is doubtful that the Party will abandon or severely limit its extreme right-wing ideology by the 2014 mid-term elections and as long as they continue that dogma, they will become irrelevant as a dominant political party, but that’s just my take.