What we learned in the 2012 elections is that there are not enough white male voters left in America to give the Republican Party victory in a national election. So the GOP must become more liberal and inclusive, or expand their voter suppression efforts against minorities.
While minority voter suppression might be effective in the short-term, by the next presidential election, white male voters, which make up the base of the GOP, will be so outnumbered by other voting blocks, even the most blatant vote-tampering and voter-suppression efforts may not be enough to produce winning Republicans on the national stage.
The GOP fear factor
The Republican base is shrinking because the Republican message is narrow and based almost entirely on fear. Their motivation tactics are rooted more in conspiracy theories than in actual truth. This became even more apparent when Mitt Romney tried to scare Ohio voters with false claims about Chrysler-Jeep shipping their jobs off to China. The claim was rebuked by Chrysler's CEO as completely false. But instead of backing down, the Romney campaign doubled-down on the lie with even more television and radio ads.
Ohio voters knew Romney was lying and some pundits believe it was what cost the GOP Ohio's 18 electoral votes.
The 2012 Romney campaign was all about promoting fear through false claims. In the first presidential debate, an audience of about 62 million people watched Mitt Romney deny the massive tax cut plan the candidate had posted on his website for more than a year.
And the instances of denial went even further.
Republican pundits denied shrinking unemployment numbers and all other positive signs the Obama administration had brought to the economy, women's rights, education, and green energy.
The GOP's fear of a Romney loss even carried over into distortion of the poll numbers, denying their accuracy for favoring an Obama victory. As late as election night, Romney fundraiser and Fox News commentator Karl Rove played the fool as he tried to deny the Romney loss in Ohio by claiming the vote count was wrong.
The problem with the message
For the most part, there was no positive vision for the future coming out of the Romney camp. It was all bad news aimed at scaring people about how tragic a second term for Obama would be.
The GOP worked hard for four years to demonize the president. Right-wing media voices called him a foreigner and a socialist with an anti-American agenda. They also lit the fire of racism among their primarily white base.
A look back at what actually happened in the last four years says something entirely different. Life in America went on very much like it did before the first black president took his seat in the Oval Office. The exception has been on the state level, where Republican-controlled legislatures have used their power to attack women's reproductive rights, voting rights and union rights.
Fear vs. truth
Romney's biggest mistake may have been in thinking that American voters were stupid. After being caught calling half the population lazy government-dependent freeloaders in a secretly taped video, the real Romney had been exposed. And while that kind of talk may have appealed to the GOP's white male base, the rest of the country was not going to forget it just because Romney told them to.
The Republican ideal is an America controlled by rich white men: Wall Street CEO-types, whose lobbyists bid for their cause of lower taxes and higher profits. It's a world where voters are only tools to be bought in order to circumvent the democratic process.
Republican fear-based campaigns have been highly effective in getting people to vote against their own interests. In the poorest parts of the South, in states like Texas, Alabama and Florida, elected Republican lawmakers have cut off access to government help for food, housing and health care for millions of the poorest Americans. Yet these same people continue to vote for candidates who are making their lives worse.
The Romney loss blame-game
After Election Day, "at the Wednesday breakfast, Romney told the donors he believed Hurricane Sandy stunted his momentum in the final week of the campaign, according to multiple donors present," the Washington Post said.
That may be partly true. But Romney's momentum had begun to falter long before the weather changed. For years, the GOP has been alienating voters with an ideology right out of the last century. Women, blacks, Hispanics, and Asian Americans are not part of their version of what's best for the country. For conservative Republicans, these are people to be shut out and isolated from their government. Perhaps because their voice really does mean that America is caught up in a dynamic tide that will inevitably wash away the old ideas of a Republican Party destined for extinction.
America is a nation of many colors, religions and ethnic groups, and the Republican Party is trying to discredit rather than embrace them. That is a losing formula. The numbers that cannot be erased with denial have proven that already. Just ask Mitt Romney.
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