After the Presidential Election, when the rooms cleared, the confetti bagged and trashed, and the high-dollar Republicans consultants deposited their last check, conservatives were left asking just what in the world happened. How could a country embrace the same man who authored Obamacare, created historical debt, resided over an anemic economy for four years, and did nothing to fix the nation’s unemployment while in office?
Good political sense suggested that President Obama was headed toward sure defeat. After all, he was facing a man who was just as intelligent, politically vigorous, and held a successful resume of accomplishments shared by few others. Still Mitt Romney lost — rejected in key states such as Florida, Ohio, and Virginia.
The immediate reaction was that demographics had changed the political landscape. A terrible circumstance for conservatives if it were true. It’s not true, however.
Hispanics made up only 7 percent of the entire electorate; of which, Obama received 71 percent in support. Combined with the African-American vote (10 percent of the electorate) and their level of turnout, especially in Ohio; the conclusion from some was that Romney was mathematically eliminated before the sun rose on Election Day.
The other reaction given by some was that Romney just couldn’t connect with the voters the way Obama did. A stinging accusation if only it were true. The fact is Romney beat Obama among those who make $50,000 and above, while Obama won nearly 70 percent of those making $50,000 and less. Moreover, Romney received 59 percent of white conservative support, which came out to more than a 20 point margin over Obama’s support. White voters made up 73 percent of the electorate on Election Day.
What made the difference then? Why was Romney unable to reach 60 million votes (Bush in 2004 received 62 million votes)? The real truth is that 8 million people stayed home on Election Day. Most of them were conservatives — probably over 5 million — who were unmoved and unwilling to support Romney as a conservative replacement for Obama. It’s not hard to imagine as to why this happened.
During the 2010 midterms, conservatives were clear and focused on what they wanted and what they could deliver. The results speak for themselves. The 2012 Presidential election was not so easy with Obamacare vs Romneycare as an ugly distraction, and a Republican candidate with a less than conservative record.
These conservatives were unwilling to break with their principles, and so they stayed home. They will continue to stay there as long as they are faced with “politics as usual” and the “lesser of two evils” as their only choices.
Conservatives want something else. They are looking for something else, reason to vote and reason to care. They are looking for a new home based on principles and conservative philosophy.
It’s a challenge the American Conservative Party must accept. Conservatives must know there is another alternative.