The 2012 general election was certainly a shock to me. So I thought I would take some time to take a look at what we might take away from it. None of this is meant to be definitive, just meanderings to get your creative juices flowing. Feel free to drop a comment on this one; I would love to hear what you think.
First, before you start buying into the media narrative that conservatism is extinct, you need understand that Obama didn’t win by much and BOTH Romney and Obama under-performed. In 2008 there were 128,895,217 total votes cast for McCain and Obama. In 2012 there were 121,745,725 votes cast for Romney and Obama. Obama received 6,686,747 votes less (almost 10%) this year than he did four years ago. Romney on the other hand only received 463,045 less votes than McCain did. Somehow we are supposed to believe that conservatism is dead? I’m sorry is liberalism dead, too? Do you realize that 330,000 votes in four swing states would have swung the election in favor of Romney?
I do not believe this election was a referendum on any political ideology. When it comes to politics the American people are at best mildly informed and at worst political idiots.
My wife shared an anecdote with me the day of the election. She overheard a coworker of hers stating that she voted for someone for President but was second guessing her vote. Literally hours after voting, this person wasn’t sure that they had voted for the right person for President! I actually think this kind of political ignorance is far more prevalent than you might think.
In our culture there is a strain of civic duty that we all somewhat feel. For modern Americans, I think a lot of people just go through the motions. They go vote because “they should” and they don’t do any homework. They are fed a load of crap by the left wing media and cultural elite and that colors their perceptions. This is anecdotal as well, but I have seen this on my Facebook page. Some people just want politics to “go away.” Well, I hate to break it to you, but in this society politics is really supposed to be a part of your daily life. After all, electing your representatives is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY!
Something Republicans need to accept about Mitt Romney is the fact that he SUCKED as a candidate. You hear the establishment Republicans blaming everything else under the sun, but really it was your establishment candidate that was worthless. I think Mitt Romney is a moral man, I think he is a good man, and I think he would have made an OK President. At least, you can’t get much worse than the Marxist in Chief. But I kept thinking in every debate would you please put this guy away? Instead, he fought like a little twelve-year-old girl who didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. He allowed himself to be framed as a rich white elitist by the Obama campaign and the mainstream media in the swing states. President Obama is a Chicago-style thug. Thugs only speak one language. You have to fight back, and fight back hard. The truth was never once put on display in this election for the average voter to see.
One of the biggest and most important battles we need to wage as conservatives has nothing to do with politics. Conservatives need to begin to focus on the news media and culture. The reason Americans are the way they are is largely because of the lies they have been fed by the mainstream media and pop culture.
Andrew Klavan, conservative author and screen writer, wrote a must-read article on this topic. The whole article is worth reading, but I think the big takeaway is this:
The mainstream news media. Major news outlets, like ABC, NBC, CBS, and the still influential New York Times have now become so ideologically corrupt that they are engaging in the sort of Nixonian cover-ups they once prided themselves on exposing. Their studied creation of non-scandal scandals and non-gaffe gaffes on the right and their active suppression of such true scandals as Fast and Furious and Benghazi on the left amount to journalistic malpractice on behalf of the state. The late Andrew Breitbart understood the depth and extent of the problem better than the cooler establishment heads who wrinkled their noses at him. He declared a guerrilla war on the media in the name of truth.
While Breitbart disciples like John Nolte, Ben Shapiro, and Joel Pollak continue that underground fight, it is long past time for conservative minds and money to take the battle to the mainstream. How is it possible that the mind-boggling success of Fox News has failed to spawn half a dozen imitators at least—especially venues for the libertarian young with their antic sense of political incorrectness? Rupert Murdoch, God love him, can’t live forever. It’s time for others to step up.
The entertainment industry. Conservatives think when they have won an argument in the newspapers, the fight is over. Leftists know their Hippocrates. They know they can rewrite history in novels, on TV, and in the movies, and a generation later, their false versions will be accepted as truth. As former ambassador Joseph Wilson said, when his questionable actions were rendered heroic in the dishonest movie Fair Game: “For people who have short memories or don’t read, this is the only way they will remember the period.” It’s not that conservative ideas don’t make their way into popular entertainment; it’s that they always come in disguise. Even leftists love deeply conservative films like the Lord of the Rings and Dark Knight trilogies, because they recognize good values when they’re not forced to apply them to real life. But conservatives themselves quail when conservatives speak their values plainly in the arts. Too preachy, they cry, too much propaganda, too much . . . too much . . . conservatism! We don’t need more conservative artists. We need an infrastructure to support them: more funding, more distribution, sympathetic review venues, grants and awards for arts that speak the truth out loud.
On the culture front we must promote art that is entertaining FIRST, and educational second. People will not pay attention to it if it is not cool. I’m sorry, as much as I like Lee Greenwood’s “I’m Proud to be an American.” It’s not cool by modern cultural standards, and it will be ignored by the youth.
I am so tired of old, grey-haired Republicans saying that there is nothing they can do to attract the youth of this country. It is an excuse for their incompetence and unwillingness to try. Freedom is as cool as it gets. I have known this since I was in high school. My parents are only moderately political, so my passion for freedom issues is innate and something I tapped into early on. There is a plethora of kids out there that we could harvest for the conservative movement. You actually have to market to them!
One of the reasons we don’t have the youth is because we are losing in the classrooms of this country. I wrote a piece for Conservative Teachers of America that I highly encourage you to read on this topic. Americans end up being the ignorant voters they are because they don’t know anything about economics and history. “It’s history and economics education, stupid!”
For decades conservatives have been belly-aching over the state of our public education system. They are always besides themselves about how our kids can’t read, they can’t write, they suck at math, or how some stupid second world country is beating us on the PISA assessment. My response to these cries has always been to roll my eyes. It is not where the problem is!
The reason that 60 million Americans were willing to elect Barack Obama is because they know little to nothing about our country, it’s history, or the principles that created our constitutional republic. Is it any wonder that this has happened? Really since Reagan the focus on the right for education reform has constantly been on science, math, and English.
Well, guess what, science, math, and English are incomplete without the fourth core of history education. I have always viewed history education as the glue that binds all of the contents. It is the “why” of us. Without the why, the other three cores are meaningless.
I was told recently by a fairly prominent Republican that there is nothing we can do about getting blacks to vote for conservative candidates. I have never disagreed with something more. We must seek out and support minority conservatives, especially with the changing demographics in the electorate. I am not saying pander. We do not have to compromise our principles in the process. You start taking away the minority vote, and you destroy the Democrat party. It is that simple.
The following is a short list of minority conservatives and/or their projects that I think you should take a look at:
Kevin Jackson (Author of The Big Black Lie: The Truth About the Democrat Party)
Senator Marco Rubio
Governor Susana Martinez
Runaway Slave, The Documentary with CL Bryant
American Black Conservative Movement on Facebook
Black Tea Patriots
Black Conservative Coalition
BTW, Republicans did make small inroads into the youth African-American vote. Obama lost 8 points in the 18-29 segment in this election.
Finally, if you can’t learn to speak about abortion correctly then shut-up and don’t run for office! Republicans lost two US Senate races because they had candidates that could not speak about this issue. I defended Todd Akin, but no conservative or Republican should ever be placed in a position where they have to defend such an absurd comment. Rape is a disgusting and ugly thing, I have no qualms about supporting abortion in the case of rape or incest. If you do, you are NOT in the mainstream of the American people, and you will lose elections because you give the opposition something that they can use to make you look like a complete idiot.