O.K., I admit that the title of this article is a bit sensationalized, but it's been difficult bringing myself back down to earth after an over-the-top, out-of-this-world presidential campaign. It must be even tougher for Republicans. With headlines like “Mitt Set to Win, Maybe by a Mile” and “Mitt Romney Heading for a Landslide Win” in the weeks leading up to the election, returning to reality for the GOP will be a Herculean task.
The GOP's public meltdown would be hilarious if it weren't so painful to watch. After confidently predicting a Romney victory, Fox News contributor Dick Morris said of his hubris, “Well, I'm buried in a mudslide.” At least he found himself capable of humility and admitting error. His comrades, however, are experiencing such severe trauma that they may never be able to do the same.
Many right-wingers trusted their gut feelings over the polls so much that who knows if they can ever descend from “Bull** Mountain,” as host of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart so affectionately refers to Fox News.
Some Republicans seem eager to place the blame on the “liberal media.” The polls are skewed! they cry. Any poll that doesn't show their guy winning must be wrong, of course, because science can never be true. Romney supporters must realize that every major poll consistently placed Obama ahead of his opponent (with the exception of Rasmussen, which proved that its own bias) in the days before November 6.
The polls were not skewed; in fact, poll aggregations such as those made by famed statistician Nate Silver or by website RealClearPolitics were eerily close in their November 5 forecasts. A few conservatives argue that such accurate predictions prove a grand media conspiracy. However, even the talking heads on Fox News are coming to grips with the reliability of polling data. But this does not in any way admit defeat to science!
Alright, maybe we can't blame the polls, conservatives said. Obama must have won because all the major news networks portrayed him favorably while they unfairly harassed our guy. That must be it!
Once again, science proves this assumption false as well. A Pew Research Center study published about two weeks before the election showed that only 19% of news covering President Obama could be described as “positive,” roughly the same percentage as for Romney. This report found mainstream media coverage to be rather equal for both candidates.
Darn you, science! You may have won the battle, but you will never win the war!
Here is the pill the GOP must swallow: you defeated yourselves. America is changing, and you are not.
Instead of lamenting our country's shifting demographics with racist tirades, as Bill O'Reilly did on-air after Obama's victory, the Republican Party must embrace change. If they prove unwilling to do so, then the party of Mitt Romney must – and will – die. Refusing to welcome people beyond their white, heterosexual Christian base will ensure a swift death for the GOP.
Republicans can talk all they want about how they have been welcoming to women or Latinos or some other voting bloc. The simple fact is that while perhaps the GOP in some (politically moderate) states have brought these constituencies into their fold, nationally they have not. Over and over again, top Republicans have – either consciously or unconsciously – pushed away virtually every type of voter beyond white, heterosexual Christians, many of whom no longer even vote for GOP candidates because they are so put off by the party's bigotry and ignorance.
There was nothing heartwarming about Romney's disdain for the poor when he spoke about 47% of this country not willing to accept responsibility for their own lives. That speech was the most ignorant, callous rant from a presidential candidate I have ever heard. Romney also proved his ignorance of the flaws of America's healthcare system when he characterized the emergency room as a viable alternative to regular care for people without insurance. I won't even mention Romney's laughable immigration policy of self-deportation. And please don't get me started on women's issues.
As ignorant and callous as Mitt Romney was throughout the 2012 campaign, other Republicans were and continue to be far worse. The party consistently shuns Latinos, Asians, the LGBT community, non-Christians, women, and anyone not like them. Some GOP partisans take issue with the Democrats' “identity politics,” but Dems are only responding to a culture war that Republicans started. Democrats have been forced to accept people who Republicans will not. That may not sound heartwarming either, but it's certainly smart politics.
And isn't that what this is all about, politics? Some voting blocs that turned out heavily for Obama in 2008 and 2012, such as Latinos – the fastest-growing segment of the American population – are a natural fit for the Republican Party's fiscal and social conservatism. As female voters proved themselves to be the decisive component of the electorate, the GOP must end its war on women. They have to give up on the crusade against Panned Parenthood and reproductive health. Women punished them hard for their lunacy in 2012 and will not think twice about doing it in future elections.
As their political influence grows, Latinos and women especially will continue to punish the Republicans unless the party ends its stubborn refusal to embrace them. These two groups will beat, beat, beat the GOP to death, and the party will ultimately deserve to die.
Are Republicans determined enough to survive? Can they overcome their suicidal tendencies? In the coming decade, we will find out the answer together.