The lessons of 2012 may not be what Operation Demoralize says
Operation Demoralize, the attempt to convince you that conservatism is dead, that you live in a media cocoon, that you are incapable of learning, and that your pundits lied to you, is dominating the media.
But are the quick and easy answers — just say Yes to illegal immigration, higher taxes, creeping socialism — based on the reality of why the election was lost?
Someone clearly outside the supposed “conservative media complex” suggests that the reasons being peddled for the loss are not accurate, or at least not the full story.
Andrew Kohut, head of the Pew Research Center, writes in The Wall Street Journal, Misreading Election 2012 (h/t Hot Air):
Postelection talk of “lessons learned” is often exaggerated and misleading, and so it is in 2012.
A week after President Obama won re-election, two themes are dominant. First, that Mr. Obama kept his job because key elements of his base—notably young people, African-Americans, Latinos and Asian-Americans—turned out for him. Second, that the growing size of these voting blocs represents a decisive challenge for the Republican Party.
Both points are true, but most observers are overstating the gravity of the GOP’s problem. In particular, they are paying too little attention to how weak a candidate Mitt Romney was, and how much that hurt Republican prospects.
The notion of a sea change towards liberalism simply is not justified by the numbers, according to Kohut:
Despite their weak candidate, Republicans increased their share of the presidential vote among many major demographic groups. Compared with 2008, they made significant gains among men (four percentage points), whites (four points), younger voters (six points), white Catholics (seven points) and Jews (nine points). Mr. Romney also carried the independent vote 50% to 45%. Four years ago, independents voted for Mr. Obama 52% to 44%.
Republicans can take some solace from these gains. In addition, only 43% of voters this year said they wanted an activist government (compared with 52% in 2008), and 49% continued to disapprove of Mr. Obama’s health-care law (compared with 44% approving).
In short, the current American electorate is hardly stacked against the Republican Party. But Republicans should recognize that, on balance, Americans remain moderate—holding a mix of liberal and conservative views. They generally believe that small government is better and that ObamaCare is bad. But the exit poll shows that 59% believe abortion should be legal, 65% support a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants, and a surprising plurality support legalizing same-sex marriage in their states.
Threading the ideological needle with this electorate is vital for the Republicans in the future—and for the Democrats, too.
None of this surprises me. People with ulterior motives want you demoralized and to capitulate. Don’t do it.
Here’s a good reason why — look at this sequence of electoral maps provided by The Blaze. Compare the massive landslides of the past — FDR and Reagan — with the relatively paltry win in 2008 and 2012 by Obama. Things change over time, but enduring principles should not.
Do not capitulate.
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Andrew Kohut, no Republican, makes the point that we didn’t make massive mistakes of principle in our election loss, we nominated a weak candidate (though I came to admire him personally) and, our primary mistake, we made lots of tactical mistakes in the campaign. One good example is the ridiculous GOTV debacle.
This is not to say that a big-tent party (as we hope the GOP is or will become) can’t make changes in position. I myself think the fascist Democrats only position of real principle that I substantively agree with is their immigration position (they take it to an extreme though), but that doesn’t make a hill of beans difference to me in deciding whether to vote for personal liberty and responsible government spending. Since the fascist Democrat party stands squarely against personal liberty and in favor of national bankruptcy, if those things get them re-elected, I hope we can beat them in every election.
I was not a huge Mitt Romney fan in the primaries, but out of the candidates he was the strongest. I mean, seriously, do you really believe Newt or Santorum would have done better than Romney? If so, that is delusional too. Perry may have swayed some Latino voters, but (and I am being exceedingly charitable in saying it in this manner) he did not preform in a manner that inspired confidence in the primaries.
We need better candidates running from the get. And no more retreads need apply (we saw that in Virginia and Wisconsin).
We also need a better ground game.
“…enduring principles should not.”
The socialist death grip the D’s have on education and the legacy media is designed to ‘solve’ this problem. You may not be able to eradicate the principles of the electorate, but you can certainly instill an entirely foreign set of principles in the minds of their children if you can control what they are taught in school, and the messages they are bombarded with TV, at the movies and on the radio.
The internet and conservative radio have allowed us to push back a little on the media front. With education though, its going to get much worse than it already is. For starters, a recent survey showed that liberal professors outnumber conservative ones by 12:1, but the ratio for their grad students was 60:1. Those grad students are our future professors and our future high school teachers.
And therein lies the problem. What is instilled during one’s developmental years tend to remain for life.
In less than fifty years we have gone from the top of the heap to near third world status and this president wishes us to complete the journey.
When the populace chooses instant gratification over long term stability, the future becomes bleak indeed.
The infestation of academia with with progressives, Marxists and socialists has to be undone in order to at least achieve balance. How this could be accomplished non-forcibly is beyond my comprehension at this point.
We threw our last chance away on November 6, 2012 and we will live to regret it…
I tend to disagree. I know too many boomers who were feed a steady diet of patriotic and religious values as children who are now loony tune leftists.
There are social conservatives who say they stayed home because Romney barely mentioned the social issues and they felt “marginalized.” A Latino who voted Romney but without enthusiasm said he did so because Romney did mention conservative social views, and he claims that Republicans can get more of the Latino vote only by emphasizing those issues because talk of the Constitution and budgets doesn’t connect with people.
Libertarian-leaning conservatives complain about any mention of social issues, and claim that those issues are killing the Republican Party. Some votes were undoubtedly lost on that basis.
Meanwhile, the Democrats ran a campaign that closely targeted specific demographics with tailor-made messages, trying to suppress the positions that don’t appeal to those groups. And the overarching message of the campaign was: “Romney is evil. He must be stopped!”
Democrat voters often seem more motivated to beat the other side and more willing to overlook the ways in which their party’s candidate opposes their own beliefs.
Conservatives of various kinds lose by being philosophical purists, and Democrats win by party solidarity.
“In particular, they are paying too little attention to how weak a candidate Mitt Romney was, and how much that hurt Republican prospects.
They may be, but I’m not. I’m very clear why we lost. We had a candidate profoundly, epically unfit for this moment in time. We never should have lost this election. We should have been building the intellectual, moral, political and personal arguments against Obama since 2009. Losing to this man at this moment was unpardonable. The GOP should reconstitute itself. It failed its greatest challenge, and its country.
Mitt Romney failed on a level of personal inspiration but in a larger sense because he failed to represent a form of change and the passions around it that were deeply fomenting in a plurality of Americans. Romney could have united conservatives, libertarians, undecided and moderate democrats to produce a landslide. Given the absence of this kind of excitement and substance, enough people on our side didn’t turn out, and enough people in the middle were left unmotivated except by the fear and loathing tactics of the incumbent.
Romney was given more openings by Obama than any candidate could ever expect. It was an embarrassment of riches. But instead he chose “he’s nice guy just in over his head” and “it’s all about the economy.” Both assertions were objectively false. Such falsehoods, while not deliberate, resonate. They weren’t mere miscalculations of strategy based on Romney’s human decency, they were radically feeble in a way that left people with the impression that Romney was disconnected from reality; this also left them in a state of quasi-despair and futility about this election and our future.
To those who say you can’t beat Santa Claus or that the media was an overwhelming obstacle, then it follows that Republicans or conservatives will NEVER win another election. We might as well stop trying, because Santa Claus isn’t going away nor is the media. And both are eminently beatable.
“To those who say you can’t beat Santa Claus or that the media was an overwhelming obstacle…”
This is straw-man argument. Nobody said that.
It is hard to beat Santa. But Santa can be beaten.
The Mushroom media IS an POWERFUL obstacle. But they can be beaten.
Yes, they are beatable. So why didn’t we beat them?
1. defeating an incumbent is always an long fight with a short stick
2. Obama lied, cheated, and divided VERY well
3. conservatives FAILED to vote in SOME measure, in SOME places (we still don’t really know…)
4. the media just became the propaganda arm of the Collective in ways unprecedented in American history
5. sound historical assumptions about political advertising proved not to work this cycle
6. people relying on BIG GOVERNMENT were afraid to reclaim their independence in a terrible economy
Not buying any of it.
1. Carter was an incumbent and Reagan drubbed him.
2. So why didn’t Romney call out Obama for his lies? He had something to lose? He lost because he didn’t.
3. Yes, but we know exactly why they didn’t turn out – an uninspiring candidate. That’s the point.
4. This fact has been embarrassingly obvious for decades. Any republican candidate for President who didn’t understand the leftist propagandistic nature of the media and wasn’t committed to engaging them at every level at every instance is a foregone failure and loser. If nothing else, McCain’s candidacy should have taught them that. And every turn and twist of the political dramas in America since then – in which the virulent propaganda was amply chronicled by Breitbart and this site and numberless others — only reaffirmed it.
5. Huh? Romney didn’t buy advertising to counter the false narratives until it was too late. Every lesson of politics and public relations over the past 50 years is to define yourself before you are defined.
6. And why won’t this be even more true in 2016? The job of the candidate of the party of freedom and independence and opportunity is to address and vanquish these fears. It’s not a job for small or fearful men.
This election was ours to lose, and we lost it. No excuses. We had four years to prepare for this radical leftist and this fight. To not understand at this point the nature and intentions of Obama, the Left and the media was unforgivable. I’m a hack with no experience in politics and only a serviceable knowledge of history and I knew very well what was coming in 2008 and how Obama and the media would campaign in 2012. Millions of others did too. Romney didn’t? Or he did and decided to do nothing about it?
6. One in five Ohio voters is illegally registered.
Seriously, at what point can an average John Doe file a lawsuit against state election officials or against the State AG under either the Equal Protection Clause or the Voting Rights Act claiming that his/her vote was adversely impacted by voter fraud and/or legal safeguards to prevent same?
The impact of the media on our electoral chances is enormous. I work in an office where cable news is on 24/7 (CNN mostly, occassionally Fox News, in the morning local network news). Four years ago, it was like being at a nonstop, multi-month, pep rally for Obama. This continued for the first year and a half he was in office (only simmering down a bit a few months after Obamacare passed).
This year, Romney got some better play than McCain did, and the cheerleading for Obama wasn’t as blatant, but Obama was almost never shown in an unfavorable light (except on Fox). The most noticeable thing was the absolute silence on stations other than Fox in their non-coverage of Fast & Furious, Solyndra and bribe/kickback schemes and Benghazi.
How much is the media worth to the Democrats in a presidential election? If they were, always, strictly objective, I’d bet Obama would have lost by 25 points.
Here’s my point: We raised what, $400 million just for Carl Rove’s SuperPac? How much would it take, really, to buy enough of NBC to control it? Or CBS (which owns Showtime)? Or Comcast (which owns HBO and the vile Bill Maher)? Its not like you’d even need to buy the whole thing, just enough to be able to elect a conservative board of directors.
Also, why is the Fox TV network (as opposed to cable’s Fox News) just as liberal as the other big 3 networks? Shows like Family Guy are pure leftist propaganda.
I don’t think that Romney was a weak candidate. I think he is a great man, honorable, smart, hard-working. The most accomplished person that Republicans have run in my life-time as a voter. His choice of Ryan was just one example of the type of leader he is — pick the best person for the job at hand. He outperformed every Republican Senate candidate in key states. The weakness is in the party — Akin, Murdoch, Santorum & the others who ran in the primaries with foot-in-mouth disease, which made the party look like a bunch of yahoos. And the blogosphere of malcontented talking-heads on the Republican side & corruptly biased on the other side.
And my gut (which most recent studies show is a very good indicator of the truth) and over-the-moon turnout numbers in a number of urban areas in swing states tells me that the election was not entirely honest (as it was with the Kennedy/Nixon election).
Of course he’s a weak candidate: he lost. Mitt ran a terrible campaign and lost to an opponent carrying baggage of poor performance, a lousy record, only semi-interested in his job and burgeoning scandal.
Romney’s an great American but let’s not kid ourselves.
Gallup polls political ideology, nationwide, regularly and has done for decades.
Have a look:
No, seriously, click the link, it’ll just take a second. Burn that image into your brain.
Liberals have NOT convinced Americans to convert to liberalism. The ideological breakdown, nationwide, hasn’t changed. We’re still about 40% Conservative, 40% Moderate, 20% Liberal. Have been for a long time.
Abandoning Conservative Principles and become moderate liberals is NOT the key to electoral success.
Remember New Coke? They changed the formula for Coke because Pepsi was gaining market share. They thought it was because everyone wanted their soda to taste like Pepsi. So, they came up with New Coke, which sortof tasted like Pepsi. Didn’t sell though, did it? Pepsi drinkers preferred to stick with the real thing. Coke drinkers wouldn’t touch the stuff. Anyone that liked Pepsi bought the real thing, not the sortof pepsi that New Coke was. Disaster. Coke recanted and brought back the old formula, branded as “Classic Coke”.
Never forget this.
This is precisely why the electorate prefers real Liberals over Republican moderates. This is why Reagan, who could and did clearly enunciate Conservative principles, easily won while Bob Dole, John McCain and Romney lost (the G.W.Bush lesson, I think, is the Evangelical vote can put you over the top).
Remember the “Pepsi Challenge” – Pepsi won. I was about twelve when they ran that nationwide, and took the ‘challege’ at our local mall. I chose Coke, my mother and sister, also Coke drinkers, chose Pepsi. As we walked away, they made fun of me for choosing the ‘wrong’ one. “Can’t you tell the difference?” Yeah, that was a life lesson right there. The taste test was ‘fair’ – 2 unmarked paper cups, one with Coke the other Pepsi. Simple, right? No bias at all. But, it occured to me that if Coke had been running it, and it was the “Coke Challenge” they’d have won instead.
“a surprising plurality” That would be more than one. Playing at Shakespeare is no substitute for math. You either have actual numbers or you do not.
Yup, which is what I have been saying all along, that the election failure had to do all with Romney being terrible at being a politician. It had nothing to do with abortion, or gun control or illegal immigration becoming liberal issues. Abortion, immigration and control are solid republican issues. But they still need someone that can explain the important and defend them to the American people. Romney is not that guy. Everyone knew it, and I am grateful he lost. If Romney had managed to slip in, he would have destroyed the party, and the dems would go in for the kill in 2016. Now we only have Boenher to deal with and we will be set in 14 and 16 with a new and true conservative leadership rising through the ranks.
Insty linked to this in a kind of cryptic way, but I think it has a lot of value. Main points:
1) Lefties, enjoy your victory, you will be feeling the pain too
2) Righties, look to France as an example when the Right tries to become Left-lite.
3) RonPaulistas, watch carefully. You’ve blown it. By standing aside the takers will have 4 years to consolidate and burrow in.
It’s not all doom and gloom, not at all. But there are some sobering points made. Here’s one: “once a majority of the US population—no matter how slim—has tasted the poisonous fruits of the State, they will demand the keys to the cornucopia and regard with disdain, scorn or hostility any soul brave or foolish enough to call it unsustainable and propose to lock the larder.”
The way to break through media bias is via smarter and more compelling images. A couple of years back Hugh Hewitt ran a series of anonymous posts from an advertising executive about how poor the Republican media consultants were in this regard. It has not improved.
This has been a complaint of mine for years. Every two hears I can tell which candidates hired political consultants or who got RNC or NRCC aid. Their TV ads and mailings will be the least compelling.
Net net, a candidate can win the election on the backs of low information voters.
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Love/Rubio ticket in 2016! There, you heard it here first – Mia’s got more experience than Obama had when *he* became President, and I want to see Democrat Black Leadership telling Blakcks to vote for Hillary instead of Mia, because otherwise they’re racists… 🙂
Plus, it’s a catchy slogan “Love/Rubio” – how can you *not* vote for it!
Unfortunately, black Democrats generally have no trouble attacking black conservatives as sellouts, Aunt Thomasinas, not authentically black, etc. Many Dems who claim that disliking Obama is necessarily racist are no doubt the same Dems that cheered when Allen West and Mia Love lost elections to white Dems. They see no cognitive dissonance at all.
My Dyson upright vacuum cleaner and a bag of cat litter would be (1.) as qualified as Obama/Biden and (2.) a good bit smarter.
It’s not the Democratic candidates as much as it is the fact that they have legions of willing shills, Union thugs and the formerly Free Press in their corner. Top that with the fact that they can give Free Sh!t to everyone too stupid or worthless to be productive, they’ll pay folks to lay around and breed all day and then the Dash-Ds will blame the resulting mess all on the the Rich Guy. Put it all together and they’ve got a winning “platform”.