To put it mildly, many in the GOP were not pleased with the outcome of Tuesday night’s elections. This represents a national repudiation of reality: We have tossed out the doctor because we don’t like his prognosis. The spending addict does not want an intervention; he wants more spending, no matter what.
The Democrats banked on their 2008 coalition and won big–bigger than big. This wasn’t just a narrow survival by a weak incumbent president; it was a nationwide wave, a sweep at every level, from the president down to ballot initiatives like redefining marriage and legalizing marijuana. You can’t blame Hurricane Sandy for that. The unfortunate fact is that the Millennial Generation is the most secular generation in American history, the most socially liberal. They will be shifting every election to the left from now on.
The Obama campaign–Axelrod, Plouffe, Cutter–looks even smarter than it did four years ago, when they got a freshman senator elected president by seven points over an experienced war hero. This time, they got President Benghazi, President Obamacare, President Contraception Mandate re-elected after a historic midterm loss. And they did it all without actually revealing a second-term agenda or any evidence that their policies had done any good.
The Democrats have a mandate to govern, and Republicans are now in an uncomfortable position everywhere. The policies of the last four years have not only been affirmed but, with these ballot initiatives, shown to now be mainstream. Our nation’s culture has shifted to the left, validating that self-fulfilling epithet of “Republican extremism.” It is apparently extreme now to balance a budget, to stay out of people’s lives and respect tradition. Obama almost ran the table with swing states: It was a landslide.
If Obama were not already hailed as the One by the left, he will be now. He has made history all over again. In the 20th century, Republicans had a lock on the presidency, the Democrats on the Congress. Now, that seems to have changed forever. There is simply no way to sell conservatism to people anymore: People have other values now. Obama has fulfilled left-wing dreams that go back decades, not only bringing universal health insurance to a once-limited government and outlawing Catholics from owning businesses but getting rewarded with four more years for doing so. I can only tremble to wonder what Valerie Jarrett meant when she said that Obama’s second term will be about punishing their enemies, if this is what they have already done.
The Republican Party lost multiple unlosable elections (see Mourdock, Akin, Romney). They did not merely let winnable elections slip away, but actively gave them to Democrats–a situation much more heartbreaking than the narrow defeats of 2010. At best, the Republican Party has even more cautionary tales for its younger members, more examples of what not to do, but that is small consolation for two more years of Obama and Reid. In the same way, the only good that will come out of this for the country is suffering, which is the greatest teacher. The Democrats will continue to show us what does not work.
I am not confident that the Republican Party can win national elections anymore. It appears as though the demographics have permanently changed, and there is no reason to believe that they will change favorably for conservatives.
I do think that we will see an even more conciliatory speaker of the House, John Boehner, than we did before. Boehner is no tea partier: Everyone knows that. I don’t expect him to change his dollar-for-dollar standard in raising the debt ceiling, but I don’t expect the House to continue making show-votes, like repealing Obamacare. There is simply no point, no one to win over anymore. All their bluster in standing up to Obama got them nowhere and only created a liberal media narrative of “obstructionism,” a charge that never made sense, but never had to.
The other side had a simple message. Romney, meanwhile, never found a clear message to convey what he would do for Hispanics, non-whites and the poor. He did not help himself by remaining pegged as rich and elitist.
The GOP must devise a long-term strategy to communicate its message in a positive and trustworthy way to minorities and single women.
He got pegged as a 1 percenter and as not caring about the other 99 percent–a deadly perception going into an election of us versus them.
Sad that other Republicans had a bad night, too. A bunch of liberal initiatives sailed through. Elizabeth Warren … gay marriage … the DREAM Act.
Mitt’s steadfast vision of increased military spending lacked the fiscal discipline that responsible fiscal conservatives would like. Bush did that and was a spending madman.
Get ready for four years of deadlock–and new taxes.
We have always known that Democrats are better at politicking that Republicans, but we have now affirmed that people really are buying what the Democrats are selling: There can be no doubt about it now. Politics is downstream from culture, and we simply don’t have a conservative culture anymore. The task for Republicans is to create one, rather than worrying about winning at politics.
Armstrong Williams is on Sirius/XM Power 128, weeknights 7-8 p.m. and 4-5 a.m. Become a fan on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.