Viewpoint: GOP needs to move closer to the center
Now that the fervor of election season has blown past us for a small time, the Republican Party is left licking its wounds. Many political prognosticators predicted the presidential race going to the incumbent, but the surprises came across the country in other races. And the GOP has only itself to blame.
Which isn’t to say that many Republican Party candidates aren’t worth voting for. Many members of the GOP are well trained to serve and willing to act like adults in Washington. But it’s the ideologues and feet-dragging of the far right, specifically the Tea Party, that halts the political process.
It could even be argued that Mitt Romney lost the election because of the bellowing of the far right. At every caucus and stump meeting, Romney was forced to bend his ideas to meet the needs of the most vocal 5 percent of his audience. This willingness to change, combined with his real-life business experiences, allowed him to beat other candidates like Santorum and Cain in the race for the GOP nomination, but it doomed him in the race against a previously susceptible President Obama.
Romney, a good man who probably could have been one of the more moderate Republican presidents, was forced into adopting platforms more socially conservative than any president’s in recent memory. This put him enough out of touch with moderate and independent voters that he lost the election.
This same right-bending attitude could be seen in plenty of other races, which is why the Republicans lost a lot of power in 2012. The Republican Party needs to accept a few things if it’s going to swing back with any power in the next election cycle.
First, this country is based on a two-party system of government. Love it or hate it, that’s the truth, and the idea is that both parties construct ideas to fix the country, and they argue about them, and then the majority-chosen solution comes through. It isn’t admirable to sit inside bomb shelters and refuse to let anything happen. “Compromise” is not a dirty word.
Second, the GOP needs to come back to the middle on a lot of social platforms. Whether it’s in four years or 20 years, same-sex marriage is going to be legal. That’s it. And evolution is scientifically provable. Also, get rid of those candidates who presume to know anything about rape and pregnancy. The country is filled with moderate women voters who are fiscally conservative and were probably willing to give Romney a chance at fixing the deficit, but enough of them were bothered by chauvinistic comments from male GOP candidates like Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock to vote the other way.
Third, the media is not out to destroy the Republican Party, nor is it generally lying to people. On Election Night, we all watched as men like Karl Rove sputtered and kicked against the presidential polls, while the Democratic upset swept across the country (and that wasn’t just in the presidential race). The media is just as varied and politically diverse as the country’s populace, and though there might be biases, these biases are at least reflective of the country’s consciousness and shouldn’t be simply shrugged off as the ideas of liberal media elitists.
If the Republican Party wants to come back into power, it will have to take a long look at the next crop of candidates. Are they going to appeal to moderate voters? To women voters? To minority voters? And if the Republican Party doesn’t come a few steps back toward the center, it’ll find itself walking right out the door.