It has been less than a month since the 2012 presidential election, and already, the Republican Party is coming up with a plethora of excuses to explain their predicted and well pronounced loss.
In the week following the election, former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney made his now famous ‘gifts’ comment in which he stated that President Barack Obama gave “extraordinary financial gifts from the government” to his “base coalition.” Such gifts, he said, included forgiveness of college loan interest, free contraceptives and health care reform.
These are not gifts, they are policies, policies that the American public supports. Romney promised tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans. This is also a policy – a policy that is favored by fewer Americans – simply because Americans have decided that a trickle-down economic plan will not work.
Romney continued his gift speech by stating that Obama voters “turned out in large numbers, a larger share in this election than in 2008.” This is simply a lie. The voter turnout demographics of the 2012 election were at levels that were quite similar to the levels seen in the 2008 election.
A similar statement was also uttered by former vice presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Janesville, who was surprised by “the turnout, especially in urban areas.” Ryan should receive some forgiveness for his statement, since this is his first loss, and he did say that losing is “a foreign experience; it’s tough to describe.” But if Ryan decides to make a habit of losing, I suggest that he do so with more grace next time.
And in the end that is what should be learned from both Romney and Ryan’s gaffes – how to lose with grace. Obama won his re-election, and he won for a simple reason: He got more votes.
Obama didn’t win by promising outrageous gifts to voters or because Obama voters out-performed the elusive Republican majority. He won because more people supported his policies and actions during his first term.
The base of the Republican Party is shrinking, and its core beliefs are becoming culturally outdated. The Republican Party needs to begin to change their image if they hope to continue to be a major political party and stay relevant in the future. This is not an uncommon change to take place for major political parties. If the Democratic Party had not changed their core values from the 1860s, it would have been unthinkable for them to field an African American for president of the United States.
When Romney and Ryan make such outrageous comments, they are holding back their own party as well as the rest of the American political process.
Now that the 2012 presidential election is over, there is information that pollsters and future candidates for office will glean for future reference, but it is tactless to make up excuses for an election loss – especially at the national level. The American people expect the losing candidate to give a short concession speech, and then fade quickly into silence.
Jared Mehre ([email protected]) is a sophomore majoring in political science and sociology with a certificate in criminal justice.