The Right Opinion

Will Republicans Ever Win the Presidency Again?

By Ben Shapiro · Nov. 10, 2012

Will Republicans ever win the presidency again? In the aftermath of the reelection of the worst president since James Buchanan, the question must be asked. Clearly, the Republican Party is on the downswing. But why?

There are two easy answers. Neither of them is correct. The first answer is advanced by proponents of liberalism. They say that the 2012 election was an ideological election, the seminal, long-awaited decision of the American public to fully embrace their inner socialists. This argument posits that Mitt Romney was an extreme conservative, Barack Obama was an extreme liberal, and the American people cast their lot with the liberal.

That argument is incorrect. As the left correctly argued during the last few weeks of the election cycle, Mitt Romney's rhetoric shifted significantly to the left as the race went on, to the point where he could plausibly be accused of me-tooism during the final presidential debate. And as the right correctly argued throughout the election cycle, President Obama posed as a fiscal moderate, a tax cutter for 95 percent of Americans, a deficit hawk and a foreign policy hardliner who brought death to Osama Bin Laden and justice to al-Qaida. Both candidates, in other words, were of the center. No matter who won the election, a significant portion of the electorate would have been bamboozled by the actual policies enacted in the wake of the election.

The second answer is a more troubling one. This answer was infamously suggested by Mitt Romney himself: the 47 percent explanation. The takers, the argument goes, now outnumber the makers in this country. More Americans are dependent on government philosophically than wish for independence from the government. If this is true, we might as well throw in the towel now; American conservatism is done until the populace, Wile E. Coyote-like, realizes they're standing over the edge of a cliff. Which isn't likely to happen soon.

So, why did Republicans really lose?

The Coalition. Exit polls showed that Republicans were outpolled again in this election cycle. In the wave election of 2008, 39 percent of the electorate was registered Democrat, compared with 32 percent Republican. The independents split for Barack Obama. In this election cycle, Republicans counted on far heavier base turnout. Instead, 38 percent of the electorate was Democrat, and 32 percent was again Republican. The Republicans have hit their roof on their coalition.

Democrats, by contrast, have cobbled together an issue-by-issue coalition with bailouts, payoffs and pointillist positions. Free birth control and abortion buy single women. Same-sex marriage buys the gay community. Food stamps buy the low-income community. Auto bailouts buy the Rusty Belt states. While Republicans campaigned on big ideas, it was Obama's small ideas that counted. As it turns out, using the government coffers as a piggy bank to fund your political bribery is a winning strategy.

Republicans, by contrast, were relegated to the white population. That population is shrinking, not growing. Republicans must begin to broaden their coalition. And the best place to start would be with a comprehensive immigration plan that takes the illegal immigration issue off the table for Democrats. Once that issue is no longer relevant to the Latino community, traditional values become a big winner among Latino Catholics. And that means victory.

The Ground Game. The Obama camp claimed that they had the world's best ground game. They were right, largely because they are allied with the world's most powerful labor unions, which spend mandatory dues money on political candidates of their choosing. Even in California, where voters had an opportunity to end this perverse process, the unions simply spent enough cash (some $70 million) and knocked on enough doors to shut it down. Wisconsin's backlash against public sector unions is a rarity. Nationally – and especially in states like Ohio and Nevada – the unions are the Democrats' ground game. And they're great at it. Republicans, by contrast, have a ground game comprised of volunteers. That's a loser.

The RNC. Yes, our candidate was a moderate. Yes, he was a blue blood. Yes, he appeared to be inarticulate on a regular basis about fundamental freedom and liberty issues. And yes, he did not represent the conservative base. The RNC must be purged. It has been run by coastal elites for far too long – and that's why Republicans, who will never win the coasts, are losing in states they should win like Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida. The Reagan coalition still exists. But the Republicans have to embrace it. And they have to embrace candidates who embrace it, rather than shunning social conservatives and Tea Partiers.

2012 was not the end of the world. It was a reminder of just how polarized our politics have become. The only way to break the impasse is for Republicans to broaden their appeal and strengthen their message. And that will require real change – and real determination by conservatives to make that change happen.



V in AZ said:

Every columnist get the Latino voter profile wrong... Latinos do not vote based on religious or social policy; yes, they label themselves as catholic but is only nominative, a identity issue. Latinos are very, very pragmatic on social issues like gay marriage, birth control.

Saturday, November 10, 2012 at 10:41 AM

Joe in Texas said:

"And the best place to start would be with a comprehensive immigration plan that takes the illegal immigration issue off the table for Democrats. Once that issue is no longer relevant to the Latino community, traditional values become a big winner among Latino Catholics. And that means victory."

Major problem with this idea. Republicans control the house. If a comprehensive bill is brought forth in the house, and somehow passes the senate and is signed by Obama, then it becomes Obama's bill. Even with a republican house and senate, Clinton gets credit for balancing the budget in '98. Even though every year, Bush got closer to balancing the budget with 2 wars and huge spending, he gets blamed for the recession, even though the economy was good till 2008. Dems won both houses in '06. Obamacare is Obama's bill, even though he didn't write a word of it.

If an immigration bill that EVEY conservative is happy with, that was written and originated in the house, the media and voters will give Obama credit and it will be his. The dems will continue to get the latino vote.

Saturday, November 10, 2012 at 11:13 AM

Joe in Texas replied:

Another example is the civil rights act of 1964. LBJ had to get it passed by the republicans because he didn't have the votes from the dems ( and it was written by republicans). Now everyone credits LBJ (the biggest racist president in the 20th century) with the civil rights bill.

Liberals, and the media are very good at rewriting history.

Saturday, November 10, 2012 at 11:17 AM

Howard Last in Wyoming said:

If Romney tilted any further left he would fall over. He was a RINO at best to start with. As for Barry he was a communist to start with.

Saturday, November 10, 2012 at 7:35 PM

Jim in Alabama said:

"Will Republicans Ever Win the Presidency Again?"
Almost half the country sees the looming disaster that this administration's continuance plainly promises. The Obama Machine succeeded in adding half a billion dollars of foreign money to its propaganda efforts to sell the Slacker Nation its fantasy of goods things just around the corner. The price of awakening the delusional will be the economic tsunami that awaits them, and all of us, instead. It only remains to be seen whether the Dems can blame, on those evil Republicans, the coming collapse they are now planning. Ironically, the latest upticks in economic indicators, that helped Obama over the top, were, most likely, the result of the business community's wishful perception of Obama's approaching end.

Demoniacs and Republishers all come and go. The question is, will we ever again elect a Conservative?

Sunday, November 11, 2012 at 4:15 PM

demsarerats in Oregon said:

No Repub will ever win if they keep running squishes like Romney.

Sunday, November 11, 2012 at 6:03 PM

Kevin from Arkansas in USA replied:

Absolutely correct. Obama only got 50.4% of the vote. Enough but a lot of people act like it was a Reagan landslide. Republicans will have to run a real conservative and not a RINO. Romney and McCain have proved that conservatives will not turn out for RINOs. I wish they did as either would have been better than what we got.

At the state level Republicana are doing well. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), which tracks party representation in the country’s 50 state governments, Democrats now control all three bases of power — the governorship and both houses of the state legislature — in 14 states and Republicans in 23, with only 12 states sharing power. (Nebraska’s unicameral legislature is considered nonpartisan.)

Republicans are dominating the heartland.

Sunday, November 11, 2012 at 7:34 PM

Honest Abe in North Carolina replied:

When purist conservatives refused to vote for Romney and Ryan they automatically gave Obama their vote. Every deadbeat in America trooped out and voted for Obama while those who saw him as a threat to the republic sat on their butts. If his winning makes them feel superior in their minds, OK, but the despot has been given another four years and that's why Republicans, conservatives and the republic lost. In 2016, stay at home again and elect Biden!

Monday, November 12, 2012 at 8:55 AM

ks in ohio said:

I don't think Mexicans are going to change the way they vote because of amnesty. First, the Mexicans if they can vote must already be citizens, at least most of them. Right? So are you telling me that they are voting Democrat because they want all the illegal Mexicans to become legal? Why would they care about that? They vote Democrat for the same reason blacks do - they want a handout. They aren't going to suddenly become Constitution carrying get the government out of my way Republicans because of amnesty. They are still going to be Mexicans who want a handout and so they will vote for the Party of handouts, the Democrats.

Sunday, November 11, 2012 at 7:26 PM

Patrick in Houston replied:

Maybe, but I think there is a fundamental difference. Every homeless person I have ever seen was either black or white. I have never seen an Asian or Hispanic homeless person.

Monday, November 12, 2012 at 4:41 PM

Jorge in Miami replied:

I'm a democrat who wants to read republican opinions and through their point of view. "The people want hand outs" excuse seems slightly idiotic. Yea dude the millions of Mexicans are lazy and will vote with their mind on money rather than their mind on what's best for our country. Guess what, it's THEIR COUNTRY just as MUCH as it is yours. If you think the Mexican people aren't hard working as an entire group you're a bigot idiot. Let me tell you exactly why you guys keep losing. You alienate woman with your sexist and religious stance on abortion. (Not too mention some of your guys ancient opinions and views on rape.) You alienate the black and Spanish vote with your racist policies and views. You blame this alienation on them, "they're lazy they want hand outs that's why they don't vote for us, not because we would disown our daughters for marrying one of them." I'm an American before I am a democrat and a republican, I lean to the left and am intelligent enough to realize when my views are being biased. Please be intelligent enough to realize your flaws as a party, mostly being what I wrote above. That being said I have two great friends both of them are republicans and neither of them could be described in the same negative light that I portrayed the republican party in. It's just there is too large a percentage of you fucking bozos in it. It isn't everyone, it isn't even half, but it's too much to ignore, it's too much that it shows.

Monday, October 14, 2013 at 9:56 PM

shannon mayes in aiken south carolina said:

Free birth control and abortion buy single women....I can''t believe I just read that. I'm literally slack jawed. I'm a right leaning Independent.I voted for Romney. If I ever,ever hear a candidate say something like this I would never,ever vote for him/her.

Monday, November 12, 2012 at 1:56 PM

shannon mayes in aiken south carolina replied:

But I am hoping and praying that in 2016 we will see a Republican President!!

Monday, November 12, 2012 at 2:02 PM


Unfortunately Shannon, you are in the minority. Most women do think like that.

Monday, November 12, 2012 at 3:48 PM

Just Saying in Idaho replied:

Shannon, why the indignation? Wasn't that what Sandra Fluke was all about? And the pink vaginas at the DNC?
The author has just stated a fact. A lot of single women did vote for these issues. Becuase they're stupid. As are all the rest of the people who re-elected Obama. You should be indignant towards them. To support Obama and socialism you have to be one of the two: an idiot or evil.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012 at 11:50 PM

Just Saying in Idaho replied:

Because, not becuase. Sorry.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012 at 11:51 PM