The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

November 12, 2012

Republicans can learn from presidential election


Enid News & Eagle

ENID, Okla. — In the Nov. 6 election, The Associated Press called Oklahoma for Mitt Romney within minutes — literally — while some state voters still were filling out their ballots.

Our website, EnidNews.com, updated stories detailing a Republican landslide for local and state races. But outside of Garfield County and Oklahoma, it was a different story, with Barack Obama declared the victor.

We asked readers their thoughts via an unscientific poll on our website: “What can the GOP learn from the 2012 presidential election?”

Considering the charismatic incumbent, a slim majority voted to “get a better candidate.” Nearly one-fourth of those voting said the GOP should “move to the center,” while about 11 percent of conservatives chose moving “farther right.” About 13 percent picked being “more inclusive.”

Not everyone agreed with having to choose between our four poll options. On our EnidNewsEagle Facebook page, Windy Gayle Turner posted the following comment: “How about None of the Above and add another choice.....You can’t fix Stupid?!”

Other Republicans might have preferred dumping the RINOs (Republicans in Name Only) quicker than you can say “John McCain.”

Principled ideology solidifies the Republican base. Rather than change core philosophies, the GOP should preach rugged individualism, capitalism and self-governance.

Writing for the National Review, roving reporter Kevin D. Williamson suggested three points to explain Romney’s defeat: “Ohio likes crony capitalism,” “class warfare works” and “repealing ‘Obamacare’ was not a deal (clincher),” at least in the battleground Buckeye State.

Drilling down diversity in that bellwether state, RealClearPolitics suggested a demographic explosion of non-white voters had less impact than white voters simply not bothering to vote.

Sean Trende, a senior elections analyst for the polling data aggregator, writes that nearly 7 million fewer whites voted compared to four years ago. Why?

“My first instinct was that they might be conservative evangelicals turned off by Romney’s Mormonism or moderate past,” Trende wrote.

Although voters were unhappy with Obama, Trende suggests the incumbent’s negative campaigning about Bain Capital may have poisoned the well for the GOP candidate, too.

“The Romney campaign exacerbated this through the challenger’s failure to articulate a clear, positive agenda to address these voters’ fears, and self-inflicted wounds like the ‘47 percent’ gaffe,” Trende wrote. “Given a choice between two unpalatable options, these voters simply stayed home.”

With that in mind, a stick-to-your-guns mindset, coupled with a charismatic candidate, would be a wise game plan for the GOP.