As we all know, Barack Obama has been re-elected for a second term. Right about now, Republicans need to ask themselves, “What went wrong?” How could Obama have won? His track record was abysmal. The economy is tanking, unemployment continues to rise, civil government debt has reached a level from which we will probably never be able to recover, foreign relations in the Middle East have only become more treacherous… On almost every issue upon which Obama campaigned, he has proven worse than his predecessor. Yet he has been elected for a second term. Why?
Let’s look at the numbers. The race was almost split 50/50. Obama got less than one percent of the votes more than Mitt Romney. Of interest, libertarian Gary Johnson got right at one percent. Gary who? Right. How did a guy with almost no presence during the primaries get one percent of the votes? The only other Libertarian to get this much traction was Ed Clark in 1980 with 1.1 percent. But this wasn’t so much a victory for the Libertarian Party as it was a loss for the GOP. How did Gary Johnson get so many votes? Ron Paul. Sorry, but that’s just the truth.
Most disillusioned Ron Paul supporters chose either to not vote, to vote for Gary Johnson, or to write in Ron Paul even though such a vote would be largely symbolic. But before you start talking about how lame Ron Paul fans are, let’s really assess this issue.
Tea Party candidates in the Senate lost big this election. Joe Walsh and Allen West lost their seats in the Senate. Akin and Mourdock, as expected (or ensured), also lost. Almost all the members of the GOP who operated on a principled conservative Republican “Tea Party” platform did poorly this election. Why? Because the party establishment abandoned them. The Tea Party didn’t cause the split. The Tea Party represents the majority of active grassroots Republicans. The GOP power brokers caused the split. And they added insult to injury by pretending like they didn’t need the Tea Partiers any more. Say what you will, but the GOP is going through a major identity crisis. And I think it’s choosing to become Mr. Hyde. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Consider that most of the people, if not all, who voted for Mitt Romney would have voted for whomever the GOP nominated. No matter what. Anyone but Obama, remember? These people voted pragmatically… er, not so pragmatically now that all is said and done. So most of the people, if not all, who voted for Romney would have voted for the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man if he had been on the ballot with an “R” next to his name. So they really don’t matter in the end. Despite all of the media drivel about electability, any Republican candidate would have gained at least the number of votes that Romney did. But I believe a few of the primary candidates could have gained more. The Republican Party was trying to get some extra votes from the middle, so they chose a big-government-lite candidate with largely liberal social policies that could appeal to “moderate” voters. Wrong plan of action. Moderate voters swung to Obama anyway. All the Republican Party did by putting all its eggs into the middle-of-the-road candidate was jettison the swing voters they should have been appealing to instead: the conservative idealists.
Consider it this way: liberal idealists love Obama. And moderate voters like him too. So Obama is the perfect candidate for the Democratic party. He consolidates the base while reaching beyond it. Conservative idealists (the ones who vote on principle alone—damn-the-torpedoes type people) hated Romney. Tea Party conservatives also disliked Romney. But the hold-your-nose-and-vote Republicans weren’t numerous enough to result in a Romney victory. They needed just one extra percent. Which they lost because they had ejected the grassroots core of their organization: the real idealists who would not vote for Romney on principle. And the answer is not to all rally around the jellyfish flip-flopping moderate. The answer is to rally around the people who stand firm like stone walls. (That sounds familiar somehow...)
The Republican Party may hate the conscientious and often contentious idealists at their base, but as this election proved, they cannot afford to ignore them. It is illogical to do so anyway. Let’s think about this. What if Ron Paul had been nominated? The hold-your-nose-and-vote Republicans would still have voted for him. And if they wouldn’t, they have no place whatsoever to criticize idealists who wouldn’t vote for Romney. If the GOP machine had gotten behind him like they did Romney, there’s no indication that Paul would have fared any different than Romney. At least as well, as I said. But on top of the hold-your-nosers, Ron Paul had a rabid base of extremely motivated supporters (at least a million, actually… just ask Gary Johnson) who certainly would have voted for him though they refused to support Romney. (Oh, if only we had fewer Americans with unshakeable convictions. They’re such a plague on this country. Yeah. Whatevuh.) He also attracted many moderate voters who liked his states-rights stance on illegal drugs and homosexual marriage. Colorado just voted to legalize marijuana, by the way… and it went to Obama this election… again. So, bottom line: if Ron Paul had been nominated, in all likelihood we would have a Republican President-elect right now. But he’s not electable… And Romney is? Hello!? Any of the candidates would have done at least as well as he did, and I think any of them would have actually done better. Romney wasn’t the voters’ first choice. He was the GOP establishment’s first choice. Let’s not kid ourselves on that one. And this is the same group that gave us McCain. Remember that guy? He was “electable” too. When will we ever learn?
Why was Romney crammed down our throats? The GOP establishment wanted him in. And they’re also the reason why so many Tea Party candidates suffered losses this election. They refuse to support conscientious Republicans with constitutional convictions because it seems they have an agenda to rewire and reform the Republican Party in their own image whether or not Republican voters agree with them. They are forcing the Republican Party to become something it never was before, and they are promoting their agenda with fear, force, and manipulation. They have commandeered the energy and resources of men of conviction while trampling those same convictions underfoot. They think we will go along with them no matter what because the alternative is so intolerable. And so far, they have been right. They have betrayed this party using our votes, our voice, our power.
Don’t blame the Paulbots or the independents for four more years of Obama’s national trainwreck. Blame the GOP establishment power brokers. Their stubborn unwillingness to listen to their constituency and their blatant disregard for the traditonal federal constitutionalism that once made the GOP “grand” has cost us yet another election cycle, perhaps the most critical to date. We can’t afford to place our trust in them anymore. Let them know loud and clear: “Give us candidates who fully support our values, not your agenda! And back these candidates with your full endorsement. We won’t be fooled again. We won’t accept another Romney, and if you give us one, we will not vote for him.” Do we have the courage to do this? We didn't have that courage this election. We thought too much was at stake. Too much was at stake. And we lost it because of fear. If we don’t gain the courage necessary to stand on conviction, this country is most assuredly doomed.