First, if you supported Barack Obama in the 2012 U.S. Presidential election, then for you nothing did go wrong, now did it? But if you were a Republican voter, you might be wondering how Mitt Romney lost. I've been reading various analyses and agree with some of them and not so much with others. I think one reason why some of the analyses are wrong is because the analyst either is reviewing in a vacuum or listening to Democratic Party claims and trying to make it fit into their review.
I will present a list with a little commentary under each point, however the points are not necessarily in order of relevance. Beware, I will not whitewash or tiptoe around the issues here.
Although I supported Romney once he was the nominee, the Republicans have a habit of recycling failed candidates. Romney is a failed candidate in the same way John McCain is a failed candidate. These are men who failed to prevail in a recent Republican primary. Think about it. McCain failed to prevail in the 2000 Republican primary (ref) but tried again in 2008. Romney failed in his attempt to be the nominee in 2008 (ref). However, it seems historically a failed primary attempt eventually results in winning the nomination in the future. For example, Ronald Reagan lost the 1976 primary to Gerald Ford. Ford lost the general election to Democrat Jimmy Carter. Reagan came back to win the 1980 nomination and presidency (ref). Another interesting note is that Reagan chose his primary challenger, George H. W. Bush as his vice president running mate. This strategy helps to bring in the supporters of your former opponent.
By its very nature, conservatism is not flashy, so because of this the popular appeal of Republican candidates is small. Romney did not come off as an innovator but as a status quo candidate. Being status quo is not necessarily a negative thing if the case is made that the status quo is working. Most elections, especially among a challenger; the chant is a need for "change". Many people buy into the narrative that change always equates to progress or betterment. Change isn't always positive. If your spouse suddenly wants to "change" the situation by divorcing you, that can certainly be viewed as negative even though it is indeed "change".
I am not advocating that Republican candidates need to be flashy but they certainly need to be vocal enough to attract the attention of the people. However, we must understand that the mainstream media has a role to play in this. (More on that next) Romney was easily painted as an out of touch rich guy, whether that was true or not.
It is no secret that the mainstream media is biased toward liberalism, i.e. Democrats. There were many examples of this during the 2012 election such as the debate moderators all being liberal media personalities; and even one of them, Candy Crowley intruding into the debate to assist Obama in answering a question posed by Romney about Libya. Therefore, any Republican candidate is going to have the obstacle of getting their message out without it being stifled or even distorted not only by the Democrat opponent, but also by the media.
Along with the media, popular culture tends not to be conservative; since as pointed out, conservatism isn't typically flashy. Popular culture by nature tends toward the loud, the outrageous, the flashy. This plays out in how most of Hollywood and popular artists supported Obama openly. Late-night talk show hosts were blatantly biased, and Obama took advantage of this many times. So, a Republican candidate has this hurdle to jump; how to relate why conservatism is good for the nation even though it tends to be non-flashy. Conservatism by principle attempts to be non-intrusive, non-dictatorial -- in short, it leaves people to live there lives mostly uninterrupted while only maintaining the most minimal need for government.
While most people will claim that a person's religion is their own private business; there is still a consideration by the public that a person's "faith" or lack thereof does drive how they behave to some degree. For example, during John F. Kennedy's campaign to be president, his Roman Catholicism was an issue -- since no U.S. president before him had been a Roman Catholic. (ref) There was some issues with Romney's Mormonism; especially since it is considered to be a cult compared to mainstream Christian denominations. There were many anecdotal examples of Christians refusing to support Romney. Whether that actually played a role in his defeat is unknown.
Considering that American blacks have now reportedly supported Obama with 90% of their votes, and considering during Obama's first term many white Americans admittedly voted for him simply because they wanted to be part of a historic moment to have the first black president no matter what Obama's policies were. It would be difficult for a challenger to overcome this mentality. Conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh made the statement; "it is very difficult to beat Santa Claus" (ref). To many Obama supporters, he is like Santa Claus, mythical more than material.
Oddly enough, somehow the Republican party has allowed itself to be depicted as the party of the rich white male even though the Republican party's very existence is based on its opposition to slavery. Further, it was the Republicans that intended to institute complete equality for black Americans but it was the southern Democrats that were able to rollback many of the Republican plans to bring complete freedom to black Americans. From this rollback we got "equal but separate" which manifested itself in the Jim Crow laws of segregation. This was NOT the Republican plan. See Wade-Davis Bill.
Now, often we hear that the present Republican party isn't the same Republican party of Abraham Lincoln. However, that is untrue. The problem is, many Americans are of the mentality that it is the government's place to provide for citizens; to maintain welfare programs and such. Whereas conservative ideology purposely attempts the least interference in the life of a citizen as possible. This non-interference ideology is misunderstood by many Americans as being uncaring, or even selfishness. Rather, conservatism thinks higher of the individual; white or black or any other color -- the conservative ideology sees every individual as able-bodied, competent, independent people who only need the government to stay out of the way and allow the individual to take advantage of opportunities. Whereas, the Democrats often imply that black Americans cannot be successful unless the government intercedes for them; giving them special consideration such as Affirmative Action laws. Since it isn't within the ideology of conservatism to give special consideration to one individual or group over another, but rather see all as equal; this is often falsely depicted as "racist".
Another tactic used throughout history to achieve support is to rile up class warfare; rich against poor, noble against commoner, owner against worker, or whatever classes that can be used to divide people and energize a base. Obama and Democrats in general use this tactic constantly. They often couch the warfare in catch phrases like "Middle-class" without clearly defining what that means or by depicting some group as greedy and uncaring that requires opposition by all other people, even if that means imposing penalties upon this supposed greedy group. Obama has been successful at getting Americans to follow his narrative of "fairness" although there is nothing within the American concept that says all people are entitled to the same lifestyle as any other group; especially financially. America is the land of OPPORTUNITY, not the land of entitlement. For example, Obama has spent much time constructing the idea that all Americans should be covered under universal healthcare despite pre-existing conditions -- and that it is only "fair". How? How is it fair to force an insurer to take a risk that they may not want to take? Insurers are in the business of hedging their bets that they can maintain a payout pool of money that will payout to its clients but leave enough to maintain the infrastructure of the insurance company. Somehow, Obama thinks that he can force the insurer to ignore the payout pool and accept all risks. No insurance company can stay in business with this mentality. This may be the point; since this would allow Obama's government health care insurance plan to supersede. (see Patient Protection Affordable Care Act/"Obamacare") The problem with the payout pool's insolvency with high risk users isn't resolved with government administration. The payout pool will still require funding and constant replenishment. Anyhow, this is a prime example of how the liberal concept of class warfare eventually backfires. You cannot maintain these social programs if you have more consumers than producers. (more "takers" than "makers")
Republican candidates will continue to lose elections because of the points stated above. Sometimes conservative candidate succeed when one or more of the following conditions exists:
Our problem seems more dire where we may be reaching a point where even these last two conditions are not enough to overcome a society that has lost its understanding and desire for American ideology. We are almost at the point where many Americans have no idea what it means to be American. Republicans, conservatives need to speak less of the contrast between parties and more what it means to be American. Again, America is the land of opportunity, not of entitlement. America is the land where all men are created equal and have the freedom to pursue or not pursue what they desire without the government's unreasonable interference -- be it interfering to give one individual or group special considerations over others or by limiting the potential of one individual or group. America has lost its way and appears to be quickly falling into the situation stated and often attributed to Alexander Tytler:
"A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world's greatest civilizations from the beginning of history has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, these nations always progressed through the following sequence:
- From bondage to spiritual faith;
- From spiritual faith to great courage;
- From courage to liberty;
- From liberty to abundance;
- From abundance to selfishness;
- From selfishness to complacency;
- From complacency to apathy;
- From apathy to dependence;
- From dependence back into bondage.