No, my dad is not Barack Obama, David Plouffe, or even the guy who filmed the 47% video.
But Romney lost because of my dad and voters like him. Today, I have read the predictable Republican tripe about Obama winning because his voting coalition wanted "free stuff." Predictably, these racially driven rants overestimate the number of minority voters in the country and assign prejudicial, nefarious motives to those mythical voters.
What Republicans don't understand is that they lost this election not because black people, or women, or Latinos, or young people or intellectuals decided to vote for Obama. They lost this election because their policies have now gotten too extreme for people like my dad.
Who is my dad? He is a 59-year old white man from rural South Carolina. He owns a college degree in business administration and completed some graduate work. He is a graduate of trade school - the Gemology Institute of America. He took over our family jewelry store when he graduated from college. He grew that business to include four stores in four cities. He has since focused almost exclusively on the wholesale side of jewelry, developing a manufacturing element that has found modest success. He has gone out on the road for days at a time to sell the trinkets in his pocket and is what many would consider a "business man."
He is a strong supporter of the military. His father was in the Navy in World War II, serving through the Normandy invasion on D-Day. His brother served as a Marine in Vietnam. He has encouraged and even prodded me to serve in the military since I was entering college.
He is a former Southern Baptist minister. For six years, he was the head pastor at a rural church in the sticks of South Carolina. Though he is not what you would consider a wild fundamentalist, he is a staunch and unapologetic believer in Jesus Christ. He is the guy who is almost always asked to pray at any community function.
He is a father and a husband. He has been married to the same woman for more than 30 years and has raised three children. He cleared the land for his own home using an axe and a large cooler of water. He helped to build that home and has lived there ever since. He likes to drink a cold beer while he cooks meat on the grill. He can change his own oil and remodel his own bathroom. He is respected in the community for his values and how he treats people.
Now, my dad is the director of the Chamber of Commerce in our town. His primary job is to stimulate growth for a town that has lost a lot of its population and revenue over the last decade. He is in constant contact with members of the local business community.
My dad is the type of person the GOP should win. He is the type of voter who is expected to vote for a Republican president every single election. He's pro-business, pro-Christianity, pro-military, and pro-family. He's white, older, and lives in a rural part of one of the reddest states in the union.
Yet he voted for Obama. And I knew the election was over when he told me he was voting for Obama in August. The Republican views have strayed so far to the right and so far away from valuing human beings that my dad can no longer align with the GOP. His sense of community is too strong and it's been overwhelmed by the calloused indifference that the current Republican party puts forward.
My dad's vote didn't matter in South Carolina, where many people of similar demographics voted against Obama for their own, uh, reasoned reasons. But if the Republican tripe has turned off my dad, then it's certainly turned off moderates around the country. If the ideology has become too toxic for a businessman father turned minister, then it shouldn't be any surprise that it won't work on a level-minded moderate in places like Ohio and Pennsylvania.
And unless something changes, the GOP won't have my dad's vote again.