You always do a postmortem on any failed project.
While election 2008 was a failure for republicans, it was a failure of only 7 million votes out of 109 million, based on estimates. That's not a huge gap. What explains it?
First, most voters are moderates, and many of those are reacting with outrage to a recession that isn't the fault of our sitting president. They are being irrational. This is a failing of democracy.
Second, conservatives lacked a clear identity as to what they stood for and why it was important.
Third, liberals -- those who deconstruct, and operate by an ethic of convenience and status inflation through altruism -- always have a simpler message, and simpler is faster = better = wins.
Finally... the Republicans ran a dumb, lazy and disorganized campaign.
Data also shows that the country remains conservative, but lacks a
populist conservative party, a brand the GOP has shed in the last two
cycles. Unless the Republican Party returns to the across the board
conservative agenda that wins elections, it will remain a minority party.
Shake any moderate, and if that person has or wants a family and has or wants a leadership position of any kind, they will most likely be conservative. Those in non-leadership positions -- entertainers, drones, welfare families -- will obviously be anti-conservative.
To appeal to these people, however, conservatism needs to be explained in simple terms. I will detail those terms in an upcoming article.
Ann Coulter gives us a populist middle-right vision:
How many times do we have to run this experiment before Republican primary voters learn that "moderate," "independent," "maverick" Republicans never win, and right-wing Republicans never lose?
Indeed, the only good thing about McCain is that he gave us a genuine conservative, Sarah Palin. He's like one of those insects that lives just long enough to reproduce so that the species can survive.
She speaks partial truth. Sarah Palin stood for something: a clear values system, an aggressive way of implementing it, and no tolerance for fools.
Liberals, on the other hand, justify their existence by saying "we're not unkind to fools." Their appeal is social. They are the social party, for those who want to feel safe around others through mutual non-destruction pledges called "altruism." It never works, but they have short memories because they're busy socializing.
If Republicans are going to win anything again, they need to:
- Come up with a clear, simple, forceful message.
- Stop trying to pander to liberal moderates; address moderates as a group.
- Run an organized campaign that attacks substantive issues with clear memes.
- Avoid scandals involving bathroom sex, corruption, and so on.
A party that takes the moral lead has to rise above its opposition. But that's not enough.
It has to prevail through domination of hearts, minds, media and memes.
The Republicans have failed, and it has given us a costly defeat that also bodes ill for the country.