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.”
Over the last few months, President Barack Obama and candidates seeking the GOP nomination got off on the trail of social issues. Republicans actually hurt themselves on the contraceptive rule imposed by the Obama Administration, which allowed Democrats to begin using the “war on women” meme that dominated the news cycle for a couple of weeks.
More recently, Obama endorsed gay marriage at the state-level in an interview on Good Morning America after “evolving” on the issue over the last few years. While many may have viewed this as Obama finally coming around, it was more of a political move that his campaign team hoped would get Republicans off message. Oddly enough, they didn’t bite. Perhaps more surprisingly, voters didn’t either, despite support for same-sex marriage recently hitt an all-time high.
But Friday’s jobs report sent a reminder that the economy is still moving along at a snail’s pace. Even though some 69,000 jobs were created in May, that’s still nowhere near the 120,000 to 150,000 needed to just keep up with population growth. And with that, perhaps its time for a reminder of what Pew Research reported back in April, that economic issues are at the top of Americans’ concerns, well ahead of social issues:
There was some criticism yesterday of Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, who will soon decide on a presidential bid in 2012, because video surfaced of him suggesting that Republicans let go of divisive wedge issues and instead focus on the issues that we agree. For some reason, some conservative bloggers are losing their minds over this. Take Leon Wolf at RedState, for example:
So, as Republicans were gearing up for their biggest electoral victories in 16 years by fighting Obama and the Democrats tooth and nail on every aspect of their agenda, Mitch Daniels was telling everyone that the way to victory was to forget what a wedge issue even was, and just be nice so that people will like us again.
That’s not what Daniels was saying. Republicans won in 2010 because of the economy, not on because of their traditional positions on wedge social issues; it was the economy and dissatifaction with the politics of a Congress that was then-controlled by Democrats.
when this video was recorded, Americans were not too happy with the Republican Party. So, he proposed having a nicer appeal to voters so that we can embrace the fact that we need to get things done because there are real issues facing the country.