Yesterday, I said that Virginia and Florida would go for Romney. I got the other 48. Nate Silver of the New York Times called 49 out of 50 states, so I’m almost as accurate as he is. Karl Rove, on the other hand… he revealed himself to be a partisan blowhard even when he was pretending to be a non-partisan blowhard. So much for whatever credibility he had after calling 49 of 50 states in 2008.
OK, so why did the GOP lose Senate and Presidential elections? I can identify three big reasons. GOP guys can win local races. Statewide races and national races are where they run into trouble. The biggest problem for the GOP is that a hard stance on pro-life will not win the presidency or a statewide race with this USA. The hard stance – no abortion in the case of rape or incest – will lead to a rape comment trap, and that’s their biggest gotcha. One GOP hardliner’s comments will stick to the other candidates and sink them. If the pro-life party line allowed for exceptions to the rule of no abortion to include cases of rape and incest, then GOP candidates would do better. Until then, they are going to almost ensure that women in general will mobilize to vote for a Democrat.
Second problem: immigration. The GOP has not woken up to the fact that the anchor babies of the wave of immigration in the 80s are voters today. These children of illegal immigrants are themselves legal citizens – citizens with some closely-held views on immigration. The fact that strong opponents of immigration find a welcoming home in the GOP is not lost on minorities. When GOP candidates talk about anti-immigration measures, that cuts close to the hearts of those anchor baby voters. They would vote against the GOP out of fear of what would happen if the nation’s government turned more openly hostile to immigrants.
Third problem: free speech. Not for the opponents, for the candidates. The GOP did a fantastic job of inserting shoes between their bicuspids in this election cycle. Aiken and Mourdock had their rape comments. For Romney, it was the comical combination of Big Birg, binders, and bayonets. These guys need some massive coaching on how to answer questions without coming across as medieval popes, insane hockey moms, or pompous windbags. I have worked with pompous windbags as an AcDec coach, and there are ways to help those guys not come across as such.
Both sides did a potent job of pandering and negative campaigning. The Democrats simply did a better job of not angering women, terrifying minorities, and sounding like arrogant ideologues. It doesn’t matter what a candidate is, deep down inside. It’s the appearance that counts, and the Democrats’ candidates made for better appearances.