There will be plenty of time to second guess Mitt Romney’s campaign. But losing another presidential election (this time to a weakened incumbent) — as well as the loss of several key U.S. Senate races — signals this was about more than just a flawed candidate.
You can’t blame Bain — or flip-flops — or Sandy (though none of those things helped.) Nor can you blame a lack of resources; Mitt Romney clearly had the money and organization capable of winning.
The first instinct of some will be to blame the voters — to say they just don’t “get” it — or to imply the “takers” simply outnumber the “makers.”
After all, Americans should have been outraged by what happened in Benghazi. Americans should have been outraged by the increasing debt — and by the fact that the unemployment rate actually rose during Obama’s first term.
But it is the job of politicians and parties and movements to persuade Americans to buy into their vision. And they clearly aren’t buying what Republicans are selling. It’s time for the GOP to do some serious soul searching.
This is not to say that Obama and Democrats have earned some huge mandate. They haven’t. The country is still polarized, and government is still divided. Obama’s team ran a very good campaign. All of these things are true. But these factors should not provide an excuse for the GOP to once again postpone taking a long, hard look in the mirror.
There will be plenty of time for Republicans to debate what changes must be made in order to once again become a majority party capable of attracting new voters and earning back the White House.
The GOP shouldn’t abandon its core principles, but it’s time for some reinvention. An obvious place to start is with demographics. For example, as I have long advocated, Republicans simply must find a way to appeal to Hispanics.
The good news is that the GOP has a strong bench for 2016. But winning will require more than just a good candidate. It will also take some fresh ideas.