Obama won the 2012 presidential election yesterday evening by a larger margin than anyone (except Nate Silver) expected: 303 electoral votes to Romney’s 203. And this ignoring the incoming Florida electoral votes, which promise to give Obama an even greater margin of win. Basically, the Republicans lost against the most easy-to-beat president in decades.
Republicans, this is for you. Your party has gone absolutely insane. Over the past eight years, you have allowed a group of far right radicals to seize control of your party. You did this because you learned from the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections that you could win elections by accepting and, later, cajoling the support of a rising, ultra-conservative, evangelical Christian political faction. This was your mistake. After sixteen years, your moderates, your established leaders, your sane party members have been silenced by this growling rabble of mad men and women.
You created a monster, Republicans. And now the monster is eating you alive from the inside.
Republicans, you’ll spend a lot of time during the next few months trying to figure out what you did wrong. Many of your explanations will be wrong. I’ll tell you why:
Mitt Romney was a horrible candidate. Wrong.
Mitt Romney was kind of unlikable, hard to connect with, and a little out of touch with the everyday American. But none of those reasons explain why he lost against a president whose domestic approval rating was despairingly bad. Mitt Romney was a lot of bad things, but none of them made him unelectable. Your radical base made him unelectable.
During the primaries, your party forced Mitt Romney to lie his ass off in order to get the Republican nomination. He was pushed–shoved–towards the right. He had to say things he didn’t believe in so that your party would put a reasonable, electable candidate on the ballot. Romney was a moderate Republican before you turned him into a soundboard for a ludicrous Republican platform. You made him put on a crimson red elephant costume and turned him into a mockery of who he used to be. The only reason he won the primary was because all your other candidates were either sane and uncompromising (e.g., Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman), insane and incompetent (e.g., Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, Herman Cain and Michelle Bachman), or utterly unlikeable (e.g., Newt Gingrich).
So Romney came into the election. Romney had issues as a candidate, sure. Who doesn’t? But you put words into his mouth–weird and contradictory words. You forced him into positions that he didn’t agree with that he later had to back out from. You made him have to juggle courting independents while flattering the radical right. You pushed him to support ideological platforms that had little coherence and less substance. You drove him from moderately likable to a place of absolute, unbridled contradiction and madness. By the end of the presidential campaign, he was making a fool of himself every other day.
You did this, GOP. Don’t scapegoat Romney for it.
The liberal media tricked people into voting for President Obama. Wrong.
There’s no such thing. I want to smack everybody who ever talks about a liberal media. The media, if anything, is lazy and prone to sensationalism. The fear of being labeled as having a liberal bias has turned journalists into pandering mirrors for self-important pundits and politicians to toss stupid at. The media is supposed to check politicians and pundits and call them out on their bullshit. That doesn’t happen anymore.
Where is the liberal bias?
The most activist media organization in the United States right now is Fox News. On an average day, Fox News averages about 1.5 million viewers. This is compared to 300,000 average daily viewers for MSNBC and one million viewers for CNN. Fox outdoes them all. So, conservatives, shut up about liberal media bias. The most powerful, popular, and influential media organization in the United States is a conservative sounding board–conservative talk radio for mass consumption.
Mainstream is defined as “representing the prevalent attitudes, values, and practices of a society or group.” By this definition, Fox News represents the attitudes, values, and practices of about 47% of the country. It is mainstream, and it does not in anyway have a liberal bias.
Other media organizations are not biased. MSNBC tries to be, but with about one-fifth of Fox News’s viewership, it can hardly compete with the conservative juggernaut. The rest of them share the desire to make money by reveling in jingoism. It doesn’t matter who does what; if Weiner shows off his bulge or Romney calls half of America moochers, they’re there–salivating at the ratings.
So the mainstream media is lots of things, but is most certainly not liberally biased. And Fox News, stop talking about the mainstream media like it’s something scary and other. You are the mainstream media. There’s nothing more mainstream than Fox News.
Chris Christie betrayed the RNC. Wrong.
Chris Christie is the governor of a state that was hit very hard by an unprecedented natural disaster. In the aftermath of that disaster, a good governor puts politics aside and gets his hands dirty in order to deal with the issues facing his constituents. Chris Christie did exactly that. He coordinated with President Obama to react with intelligence and speed to a horrible event. He stopped being a politician and became a true leader.
You should be proud to count him among your party members.
Instead, I have seen Christie lambasted for daring to put his people above his party. Christie didn’t betray the Republican party; the Republican party betrayed Chris Christie. They should have taken a moment to realize that the goal of politics is governance and stood by Chris Christie and the president as they worked to do what had to be done.
The GOP has continued to support idiots like Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock, while throwing under the bus gems like Chris Christie. And you wonder why you fail.
Independents think you’re crazy. Correct!
Independents are often shocked by the crazy things Republicans say. From “legitimate rape” to “binders full of women,” your party candidates have made crazy into a party platform. Your loudest voices turn people off. Donald Trump spent the majority of the 2012 election cycle being ridiculed for his ridiculous commentary and airheaded statements. Your celebrity speakers spent their time being laughed at for ranting at imaginary politicians sitting on empty chairs. Your party leaders say idiotic things–I can point to pretty much everything Todd Akin, Michelle Bachman, Rick Perry, and Herman Cain have said as proof.
Look at your own party. Ask your base why they went to the polls. They didn’t go because they liked Mitt Romney. They went because they hated the idea of a second Obama-Biden term. If your base doesn’t like your candidate, you have a problem. I went to the polls because I love President Obama, and I wanted him in the White House for a second term. I don’t know a single Republican who went to the polls because they felt the same way about Romney.
If you want the independents to vote Republican in the next election, you have to realize that your greatest enemy is your far right base. The Republican party used to stand for real issues. Pragmatically-minded individuals tended to vote Republican because the Democratic party has been traditionally issue-driven. The situation has changed now. Romney, intelligently, wanted to run a campaign on the platform of changing America’s fiscal future for the better. Your radical base made it a campaign about immigration, contraception, civil rights, and other social issues that pushed a primarily libertarian polity away from you.
I want us to be able to work together again, Republicans. But you have to learn to meet us halfway again. This means you have to let the far right go and come back to right-of-center where you belong.
We miss you, sane Republicans. Come back to us.
© 2012, Jonathan Francis. All rights reserved.