Last night President Obama decisively won re-election over GOP candidate Mitt Romney. Democrats also won quite a number of Senate seats that only a few months ago seemed destined to go to the GOP.
Why was it such a bad night for the GOP?
I believe the reasons they lost give insight into a new path for the GOP that would make it a better party and more in line with today’s Americans. Here are the top 10 lessons for the GOP:
- 10. Americans like moderates. The GOP has steadily eliminated moderates from its leadership lately. This has to change or the GOP will continue to lose. Folks like Rush Limbaugh have big audiences in one sense, but most Americans do not like him at least in part because he’s an angry, mean-spirited person.
- 9. It’s time to divorce the Tea Party. They have cost the GOP many Senate seats and other elections. They are too extreme for most Americans.
- 8. Winning the Deep South is not enough. You need to be competitive across America.
- 7. Hating Obama is not a party platform nor legislative agenda. You can hate him in private all you want. The GOP “owns” the House and has for quite some time. Americans expect you to work with Obama to get real stuff done.
- 6. Respect non-white Americans. Sure the GOP says they do this already, but it’s not enough to talk the talk, you have to walk the walk.
- 5. Be more inclusive in general. Really. American demographics more generally are going to leave you behind as a party unless you make a big course correction. Americans are increasingly changing in ways that make the GOP marginalized so the GOP must change and be more inclusive. You don’t have to give up your core beliefs, but tone down the rhetoric and accept that others (in fact huge numbers of Americans) may not agree with you on issues such as marriage equality, immigration, and so forth.
- 4. Embrace science and make it a core part of your platform. Americans will respect you for it. Americans like science and realize that science and research are at the heart of American culture. Maybe the meme that Republicans are the “anti-science” party is an exaggeration, but there is some truth that you haven’t supported science and research enough.
- 3. You have at least 30 governorships so use those wisely to promote moderate agendas rather than extreme ones.
- 2. Make real bipartisan efforts. Americans respect leaders who reach across the aisle and work together to get things done.
- 1. Respect women. Women are increasingly determining elections and the GOP has basically told women to go to hell with its policies. The new GOP needs to be more welcoming to women and respect women’s rights on key issues such as equal pay, reproductive rights, and rape. Women voters are very savvy and they won’t be fooled by the GOP publicly saying one thing to “appease” women voters and then having a culture as a party that is anti-woman.