In the days following the election, young Republicans have vowed to help push the direction of the GOP in a more tolerant direction, away from wedge issues that have helped the party in the past. Zeke Miller noted some of the feelings of young Republicans last week at BuzzFeed:
In the hours after Barack Obama’s electoral rout of Mitt Romney, young Republican operatives in Washington, Boston, and around the country felt the same letdown as their bosses — the older crop who ran the losing campaigns of 2012.
But some of the younger generation — people in their twenties and thirties, digital natives, committed conservatives — reported another feeling: relief. The time had finally come to push aside the television-centric operatives who have run Republican campaigns for a generation, to reset the party’s values around race and sex, and to adapt its tactics to the era of Twitter. Politics has always been ruthlessly competitive, with one cycle’s guru the next cycle’s washed-up cable news commentator. Mentors have always had to keep an eye out for protégés wielding daggers. And now the daggers are out.
“Pretty much every relevant oldster consultant’s strategy has been repudiated the last two presidential cycles,” said a young Republican operative reflecting on the heat of the campaign.
Tuesday’s election “was a clearing of old mind-sets,” said a second operative deeply immersed in the Romney campaign. “We just can’t keep running campaigns like we used to. Too often the tactical realities of trying to win in 2012 ran into the old maxims of campaigns run in the past.”
Last week. Rep. Steve LaTourette (R-OH) tried to explain the Republican Party’s loss during an interview on CNN. LaTourette, who did not seek re-election this year, explained that, while the GOP has the “right message on finances,” it has to learn to get “out of people’s bedrooms”:
Rep. Steve LaTourette, a Republican from Ohio, had some strong language for his party on Thursday, saying that he wants Republicans “out of people’s bedrooms.”
After Republicans lost the presidential race and failed to retake the Senate, LaTourette said the GOP must rein in its extreme right wing and reach out to growing minority groups in order to stay competitive in future elections.
“We have the right message on finances, we have to get out of people’s lives, get out of people’s bedrooms, and we have to be a national party,” LaTourette said on CNN’s Starting Point. “Or else we’re going to lose.”
LaTourette also blasted the idea that the Tea Party movement has the answers for the party, slamming Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock in the process, noting that their views on abortion cost Republican votes:
The notion that the tea party holds the key to Republican success moving forward is “nonsense,” LaTourette said. He also said that “we can’t continue to dis the Latino voters.” Finally, LaTourette took aim at Republican Senate candidates Richard Mourdock and Todd Akin, both of whom made controversial remarks about rape during the election.
On Friday, we took a look at the battle for control of the United States Senate, noting that Republicans, who once had high-hopes to gain a majority in that chamber, are very likely to fall short at the polls tomorrow. Their struggles to take control of the Senate can really be highlighted by races in Indiana and Missouri, where the Republican nominees have struggled after making controversial comments about abortion and rape.
Todd Akin’s misstep in Missouri, where he is likely to lose to Sen. Claire McCaskill, who was thought to be the most vulnerable Democrat in the Senate, has been well documented. More recently, however, are Richard Mourdock’s troubles in Indiana.
For libertarians who watched Tuesday night’s debate, there really wasn’t much about which to be happy. It was the same old, tired rhetoric that we frequently hear from Republicans and Democrats, no matter who is running.
There has been a lot talk about the libertarian vote in this election. Our conservative friends, many of whom loathe President Obama, are pushing hard libertarians to get on board with Mitt Romney, while also in the next breath, they deride us, claiming that they really don’t need us. Strange how that works, isn’t it?
But as David Kirby recently noted, the overwhelming majority — some 70% — of identified libertarians are voting for the Romney/Ryan ticket. That, however, is not going to prevent conservatives from railing about how voting for any other other Romney is a “vote for Obama.”
If conservative Republicans are really interested in getting our support, Nick Gillespie of Reason.tv explains how that can be accomplish (here are some hints: cut spending, end the wars, and stay out of the bedroom):
Politicians on both side of the aisle like to use government to coerce people into living moral lives, often aligning with some view of “traditional values.” President George W. Bush was guilty of this. More recently, Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum have carried that message forward in the Republican Party. But a new poll from CNN shows that Americans are increasingly skeptical of using government to promote these so-called “traditional values”:
The biggest: The number of Americans who say that the government should promote traditional values has fallen to an all-time low, a finding that might benefit many Democrats,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.
According to the survey, just four in 10 registered voters believe the government should promote traditional values, down from 53% in 2010 and 57% in 2008.
“Between 1993, when CNN began asking that question, and last year, a majority of respondents have always said that the government should promote traditional values. Now, for the first time, more than half say the government should not favor any particular set of values,” adds Holland.
More Americans are also not happy with the government intervention in their daily lives. According to the CNN poll, “Six in 10 say the government is doing too much that should be left to individuals and businesses. That finding could favor Republicans.”
With Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) being one of the most vulnerable members in the Senate, Republicans believed that this seat would be an easy pickup on their way to a majority. Things changed suddenly in August when Rep. Todd Akin, the GOP nominee, made poorly thought out remark about “legitimate rape” and pregnancy, explaining that the “female body has ways to try to shut the whole thing down.”
The fallout from the remark was immediate. Akin started falling in polls and many Republicans and GOP-affiliated PACs pledged to withhold support unless he dropped out of the race. Of course, Akin refused to go anywhere.
While the race may have been written off by many, it looks like Akin is closing the gap with McCaskill, according to Paul Bedard of the Washington Examiner. Just last month he was trailing by 10 points, but with 33 days to go, Akin trails by just 6 points:
Five weeks after making the comments that at the time seemed career-ending, Rasmussen Reports has Akin six points behind McCaskill, 51 percent to 45 percent. That result shows an improvement over past polls, some that had him behind by 10 points. And among those “certain to vote,” he trails McCaskill by just four points, said Rasmussen.
While we’re several weeks removed from Todd Akin’s controversial comments about abortion and rape, the damage is still apparent and there are less than two weeks for him to withdraw from the race against Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO).
Just days after the comments and the firestorm that followed, Rasmussen released a poll showing Akin down by 10 points to McCaskill, who was perhaps the most vulnerable Democrat in the Senate. Akin, who showed a tremendous lack of reason as fellow Republicans and outside groups called on him to exit the race, seemed to believe that time would be an ally and that this would all pass. But after a month Akin still trails McCaskill by 6 points as we edge closer to the election, according to the latest from Rasmussen:
The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey finds McCaskill will 49% support to Akin’s 43%. Four percent (4%) prefer some other candidate in the contest, and another four percent (4%) are undecided.
I am a young voter. The Republican Party is my political home. I am also a conservative libertarian. However, I am not the norm in my generation. According to recent polling, Barack Obama is defeating Mitt Romney among young voters by more than 20 percentage points. Republicans need to find a way to reverse this trend because once young voters become accustomed to voting Democratic, it becomes much harder to persuade them to vote GOP. I will try to outline some ideas on how the Republican Party can attract this constituency not just for 2012 but in the future.
1) Take Them Seriously
Some former College Republican leaders have complained to me how Republican Party officials don’t take their clubs and young people in general seriously. The attitude among many Republican strategists and politicos is that they see the College Republican clubs and the Young Republican organizations as nothing more than a source of free campaign labor. Contrast this attitude with the one that Democrats and the left have. They see young people as an important part of the progressive coalition. They go out of their way to give them leadership positions and pander to them as they would gays and racial minorities. Finally, they actually go out and ask for the votes of young people.
Back at the end of February and early March, Sandra Fluke came to fame thanks to very stupid comments by conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh. Fluke appeared before a panel of Democrats who sit on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. During her testimony, Fluke explained that college women cannot afford the cost of contraceptives, which she said can cost upward of $3,000 over the course of a few years and that it justifies mandates in private health insurance plans.
After Limbaugh’s comments, in which he called her a “slut” and a “prostitute,” President Barack Obama’s campaign and Democrats in Congress began playing up the so-called “war on women,” one of the more annoying, untruthful memes we’ve heard this year.
The underlying problem with Fluke’s comments is that, in her mind, someone should be forced to subsidize the behavior of others. While basking in the sun of her notoriety, Jacob Sullum explained easier options for those that couldn’t afford expensive birth control products, such as buying condoms, which are relative inexpensive, or abstinence. Sullum also noted the holes in Fluke argument, explaining, “By the same logic, religious freedom requires kosher food subsidies, freedom of speech requires taxpayer-funded computers, and the right to keep and bear arms requires government-supplied guns.”
Last week, my colleague Brian Lehman wrote a great post on gay marriage, offering up a deal for social conservatives in order to ease some of the tension over it. I would like to sweeten the pot, a bit, if that’s possible.
For a long time, we’ve had the right and left wings in this country ignore the pressing issues of our time—crushing debt, a horribly mangled tax code, an economy infested with out of control cronyism and regulation, a monetary system that isn’t working, dismantled civil liberties, and looming entitlements that threaten to wash away all of our prosperity in a megatsunami of unfunded liabilities—to focus instead on issues such as gay marriage, abortion, Islamic mosques, and whether or not Barack Obama is a neo-marxist anti-colonialist Kenyan who wasn’t born in the United States (and ate a dog in Indonesia when he was five.) Oh, and Chick-Fil-A.
Because of this more important things we should be focusing on, and because we need to do something about them today, I would like to put forward a “grand bargain” of sorts between conservatives and liberals, so we can put the social issues conflict to rest. It basically involves a trade, and while I know nobody is going to be 100% happy with it, I think it will lead to overall better happiness. (Paging Jeremy Bentham.)
The bargain is such: in exchange for conservatives dropping opposition to same-sex marriage, liberals will tone down their crusade for abortion.