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Post Partisan
Posted at 03:54 PM ET, 11/08/2012

PostScript: Gerson and changing the GOP

Now that more than forty hours have passed since the results of this year’s election were confirmed on Twitter, we’ve absorbed every possible lesson it had to teach us and we’re ready to move on. Michael Gerson writes his lessons for the bloodied Republican Party in a PostPartisan entry. Chiefly, the GOP’s mistake was in demographics, he writes. Latinos and a middle class glad Detroit was not allowed to go bankrupt simply turned out in bigger numbers than predicted. In order to win the Republican primaries, Mitt Romney had to come out early and often against the broad interests of these groups of voters. Thus the primaries produced the candidate most likely to win the primaries, at the same time ruining him for the general election. At least that’s how it turned out this time, Gerson writes, seeing as Romney lost.

Gerson argues that marketing and policy change need to follow the electorate, not ideology. Politics might just be about chasing these groups down and finding out what they want. Or is it? Commenters see the Republicans’ road ahead as much more complicated.

lelliot4 says the political system is changing just as fast as demographics, meaning — and PostScript realizes how crazy this sounds — the money men might not rule:

It is turning out that the power of money is overrated. The tsunami of money unleashed by the Citizens United decision could not buy the election result wanted by the wealthy denizens of the far right. We have developed an immunity to the 30 second ad that is the weapon of choice for both sides.

westview agrees. Strategists relied too much on their seemingly unlimited funds:

And what were the not particularly useful super-PACs up to? Karl Rove took in multi-millions from multi-millionaires to secure their perpetually low, low tax rates and loop-holes and produced, what?, a 1% success rate. Those rich guys must be pulling their hair out. What a really particularly bad investment Mitt Romney turned out to be.

robertpoyourow says it would have been too risky to try and shake up the base:

Had the [Republican] candidates done otherwise, had they actually run on a governing platform and governing policies, instead of Bible thumping, nativism, and white anger and resentment, they would have shed the very constituencies that made it close.
Middle incomes have been stagnant for over 17 years. Deal with it, and you will find yourselves discussing Democratic Party policy ideas, not empty Republican platitudes.

debcan13 points out that this grab for new voters, even if it’s necessary, also looks desperate and soulless:

So the Republican Party has to change what it stands for? In order to broaden it[s] base and increase its appeal? Now the Republican Party has to start courting hispanics? gays? and free thinking women? It’s that easy to change what you believe in? It sounds so cynical. Like a business corporation trying to sell its product. So the only thing they need is to change [their] PR company? I don’t think that’ll be easy to stomach for a lot of Republicans.

goldbergjeffrey is one of those debcan doubts will stay loyal to a quick-changing GOP:

Or, the GOP could oppose Obama’s anti-American liberalism, put laws in place to prevent voter fraud, and work to deport the illegals stealing American jobs and casting fraudulent democrat votes. Much better than compromising with the devil.

Eye8ch thinks it’s not money, demographics or marketing, it’s the uncomfortable alliance with religion:

The first thing the Republican Party needs to do is unshackle itself from religious extremists who are insistent that the entire country follow their own narrow moral paradigm.

Santaregina quotes Rachel Maddow saying, essentially, conservatives having their own media pushing reassuring lies has done the most damage. It’s a big ’ol quote:

Rachel Maddow said it best last night. Republicans must accept the “actual, lived truth of the world”. And she listed an astounding number of facts that republicans want to deny:
“And he (Obama) really was born in Hawaii, and he really is legitimately President of the United States, again, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics did not make up a fake unemployment rate last month, and the Congressional Research Service really can find no evidence that cutting taxes on rich people grows the economy, and the polls were not screwed to oversample Democrats, and Nate Silver was not making up fake projections about the election to make conservatives feel bad, Nate Silver was doing math, and climate change is real, and rape really does cause pregnancy sometimes, and evolution is a thing, and Benghazi was an attack on us, it was not a scandal by us, and nobody is taking away anyone’s guns, and taxes have not gone up, and the deficit is dropping, actually, and Saddam Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction, and the moon landing was real, and FEMA is not building concentration camps, and UN election observers are not taking over Texas, and moderate reforms of the regulations on the insurance industry and the financial services industry in this country are not the same thing as Communism.”

Gulp. Well. These are all extremely controversial statements here in the PostScript bunker, so if you don’t mind we will be trying out our new Hurt Locker suit for the rest of the week. It makes it harder to communicate with our attack dolphin, but sometimes you have to take a risk.

By Rachel Manteuffel  |  03:54 PM ET, 11/08/2012

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