Well everyone else are doing the post-mortem on why Romney lost so I might as well add my own. The problems with Romney were there from the very start. He is generally a white country-club conservative cut from similar cloth that John Kerry was. He was the Republican Kerry. Romney was portrayed as a clueless rich guy and quite a few of his actions pounded that point home. He only came on after the last debate because he seemed like a fairly caring individual that wanted to do well for the country. Also Obama looked like he didn't give a crap until the final week of the election. Here are some of the reasons why I think Romney lost and some tonics for the GOP going forward.
1. Hispanics are a force to be reckoned with.
I think the GOP ignoring the fastest growing group in the US is going to cost them many elections unless they change their tune. That means no more talk of "self-deportation" or other nonsense. Also building fences or demonizing illegals cannot be a plank in the GOP platform going forward. The GOP needs to embrace immigration reform and allow Obama to "win" on this issue. There needs to be some form of amnesty on the books. The GOP idea that an illegal is taking away an American's job needs to die in 2012. Make that illegal an American that pays his taxes and becomes a solid citizen and not a hunted man. Then make him a Republican.
I mean whenever Romney talked about "self-deportation" a Hispanic voter thought he wants to send my grandma back to Guatemala even though she's lived here since the 70s. The GOP needs to figure a way for that person's grandma to stay in this country and not have to fear being deported. If that means amnesty then so be it. There needs to be some mechanism in place because you cannot deport 20 million people.
After this Hispanic voter can be assured of safety for his family the GOP can appeal to his other issues using traditional GOP methods. That means pushing for economic security, good jobs, and his appealing to his faith. Hispanics seem to be more religious as a group than other voting blocs so reaching out here can peel some of them away from the generally nonreligious (or openly anti-religious) Democrats.
2. 47% of Americans are Lazy Parasites
This one hidden video cost him the election IMO. Obama needs to send a fruit basket to Mother Jones because they won it for him. There is a deep-seated idea that the GOP are a bunch of heartless assholes that want to steal from the poor and give the money to the rich. I mean nearly shutting down the government to protect a 3% tax hike on people making over $1 million does that to you.
The GOP used to fight for the little guy. The small businessman or the middle class American that wants to build a good life for himself. Romney talked about helping the Middle Class but far too late to do any good. He kept having to fend off the "tax cuts for the rich" crap that Obama kept hitting him with.
Then when he was caught talking to the GOP big-money men saying that people won't vote for him because they are used to living on the dole it rubs those little guys the wrong way. The whole idea of personal responsibility is a crock when you look at how the recession is kicking peoples asses. I mean there are vast majorities of Americans that did everything right and still got smashed. They need the government to be there for them or they starve to death.
This 47% crack is especially galling coming from a guy that has a elevator for his cars and owns a dressage horse. I mean how do you appeal to a middle class voter from Ohio or Pennsylvania when you are more worried about your dressage horse competing in the Olympics than trying to be president? That idea of the clueless rich-guy that doesn't understand your pain doomed Romney from the very start.
3. Losing the Women's vote
I think going after Planned Parenthood by saying you will shut them down was a huge mistake. Even though PP does abortions they do quite a bit of good for poor women. If they wanted to get rid of it the GOP needed to come up with an alternative. Maybe free vouchers that women could use for women's health that didn't pay for abortions. Even saying that they would "reform" PP to get rid of the abortions instead of just killing the program would have been a better idea. If I was advising Romney I would have told him to dump the whole issue.
Also the idea that the government should or shouldn't pay for contraception was an idiotic argument to make. I mean this issue just comes down to weather church sponsored hospitals would carry it or not. If you give them an "opt-out" then the issue is solved. Young women today should be afforded free contraception just because they will bear the consequences of an unplanned pregnancy. The grognards in the GOP like that guy that said give women aspirin so they keep their legs shut need to be drummed out of the party. This is a big issue for some women so the GOP needed to figure a way to get the job done so that it didn't offend religious groups.
Speaking of grognards, the GOP needs to banish every single one of them that have some weird-assed definition of rape. Men like Akin and Mourdock have no place in a party that wants to win more than 43% of the women's vote. The GOP should have tried to not only distance themselves from these guys but offered a different candidate instead. If that wasn't possible, then condemn them in the strongest possible terms, and de-fund their campaigns. It's 2012 so why is the GOP still "defining" rape or even talking about it in an election?
4. Trying to Say the 2008 Election was a fluke that didn't carry over to 2012
I actually believed this one so Romney can't be faulted too badly for following it. I really think that the electorate has changed from 2004 to 2012. There are more urbanites, women, Blacks, and Hispanics than ever before as part of the voting block. The bad part is that they are solidly Democratic. There are just less angry-white guys than ever that before that will vote for your rich country-club guy.
So the GOP needs to open the tent to everyone that wants fiscal security, good jobs, and a growing economy. So that means they need to start courting some of these groups that are supposed to be Democratic with these ideas. They aren't race specific or gender specific and appeal to all Americans.
I think it was shameful how the GOP drummed out Michael Steele and replaced him with some milquetoast white dude with a funny name. I mean this Priebus guy needs to get fired because the GOP has become the "rich white-guy party" again on his watch. The "rich white-guy party" will never again win a national election because the electorate has changed forever. The swing states are mostly large urban areas with minorities living in them. You can't win an election without appealing to them.
5. It's the Economy Stupid
This should have been a slam-dunk election because Obama is an epic bumbler when it comes to the economy. Trillions wasted on stimulus that didn't stimulate anything. Then he tackled health care before jobs. We have more people on food stamps then ever before. We had 4 years of economic stagnation. Obama is just inept when it comes to the thing Americans are concerned about the most.
Then when it looked like Obama didn't care enough to even prepare for the 1st Debate you would figure that Romney had it. Instead he seemed to fumble it away right at the end. Obama looked presidential and FEMA looked heroic during Hurricane Sandy and that brief moment Romney could have won was over. Romney wanted to get rid of FEMA for the sake of fiscal austerity and that cost him.
Now people are blaming Christie for saying that Obama was a decent enough guy that helped his state. That was just the truth as Christie saw it. A disaster is when you need the government the most. I don't mind paying my taxes for FEMA as long as as "old Brownie" Michael Brown doesn't run it. A well run government that doesn't waste my money is preferable to an "every man for himself" one.
But in his zeal to cut everything Romney needed to think before he talked. I mean what better way can FEMAs $14 billion budget be better spent? I mean making cash-strapped states pay for their own disaster clean-up is asinine. They have balanced budgets so they cant afford $50 billion when they can barely keep the lights on. That is the states fault for wasting their money but the Feds need to backstop when a disaster strikes.
In any case fiscal austerity does not equate to any swing state votes. We would all like a smaller government but it needs to be cut in practical terms. That means not talk of cutting FEMA during a disaster or getting rid of Planned Parenthood unless there is a better use of the money out there. I guess the idea of making the government spend my money (and China's) better is what I would prefer to slash-and-burn cuts that Romney seemed to back. People seem to like the government that is in place so cutting it needs to be done slowly and with more thought.