SF’s Analysis: How the GOP Lost the Presidential Election

Over the course of the past few days Republican strategists have engaged in some soul searching regarding their party’s chances of again winning a Presidential election.  In hindsight, some pundits blame former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s ‘play it safe’ campaign strategy.  Behind the scenes, there is some talk that hundreds-of-thousands of evangelical voters failed to vote for the GOP candidate because of his Mormon religious beliefs. Others charge that the GOP’s refusal to grant de facto amnesty to illegal immigrants—by way of what the Democrat Party calls ‘comprehensive immigration reform’—cost Gov. Romney the votes needed to win the election.

To some extent, empirical data exists to support these arguments.  Romney did receive 3 million fewer votes than John McCain, which suggests some former GOP voters shied away from the Romney/Ryan ticket.  Meanwhile, Hispanic-Americans cast 50 percent fewer votes for Romney than George W. Bush, who supported a pathway to citizenship for those in the country illegally.

Another explanation for a Romney loss is the candidate’s unwillingness to roll in the mud with those from the Chicago political machine.  Many believe that in the third debate, Romney gave President Obama a free pass on the tragic loss of life at the U.S. Consulate in Libya. Former GOP standard bearer John McCain has called the Obama administration’s actions in the aftermath of this attack a “cover-up.”

Having spent the last few days looking over the data with the SF staff, I believe two factors contributed to Romney’s defeat: a sizable loss of Hispanic votes and the Republican Party’s abandonment of libertarian principles.

Exit polls indicate that 11 million Hispanic-Americans cast ballots in the 2012 Presidential election but only 2.3 million voted for Romney.  Had the Republican candidate received the same percentage of Hispanic support as George W. Bush, Romney would have garnered another 2.3 million votes, leaving just 700,000 votes between himself and President Obama.

At the Republican National Convention, the neo-conservative wing of the GOP—a group with several advisors in the Romney camp—went out of their way to isolate Ron Paul, whose candidacy received a large chunk of its support from voters between the ages of 18-29.  Had the Romney camp incorporated some Paul’s libertarian philosophy, the GOP might have eliminated Obama’s 700,000 vote margin in the popular vote.  Here are two examples: what if the GOP platform would have included planks that agreed to explore the impact of legalizing marijuana and strict controls on government surveillance?  The numbers suggest that support for such language would have likely resulted in Romney winning Colorado and possibly other states, like Wisconsin, where Democrats campaigned almost exclusively on college campuses.

Meanwhile, the Obama team did what patronage politicians from Chicago do best: make empty promises to key demographic groups. For Hispanics, President Obama allegedly championed immigration reform, although when the Democrat Party controlled both the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate during the first two years of his term, Obama ignored Hispanic concerns.  To the gay community, Obama claimed to support gay marriage, but said this was an issue the states should consider. In other words, he would do little if anything as president to change federal law.

On the other hand, the 2012 election did make one thing perfectly clear: the neo-conservative wing of the Republican Party—at least at the national level—is dead.  If the GOP is sincere about ever again occupying the White House it needs to make amends with Hispanics—the vast majority of whom are family oriented, socially conservative Catholics—and once again incorporate a truly constitutionally sound, limited government philosophy into its core set of principles.


Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest book, Best of the Spingola Files, Vol. I, is available at Amazon.com

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© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2012

One Response

  1. Mike Massa

    Too much common sense for the neo-cons and evangelical tightasses. The GOP is history. Santa Claus will always capture the ignorant, and there are more of them everyday. Those two cavemen running for the senate whaich made the incredibly stupid comments about abortion sure didn’t help.

    November 9, 2012 at 5:15 am

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