I’m not yet angry, though I suspect that will come, perhaps even before I finish typing this piece. I’m dumbfounded, disappointed, and disgusted. And terrified for the future of the country I love, and which I believe God will only continue blessing for as long as we conduct ourselves and mold our society in a moral and just manner.
Last night was an absolutely devastating blow to…many things. Conservatism, traditional American values, the Republican Party, fiscal sanity, economic growth, American unity, the pro-life movement, free markets, and on and on. I stated before the election that I not only hoped Romney would win, but that he would do so with more than 300 electoral votes. I believed this would reveal a rejection not just of Obama’s poor results, but of his failed policies and ideology. My prayer was that a great majority of people understood the mistake they made four years ago, and had wised up enough to realize that while they may not be in love with Mitt Romney, he was a competent leader with a history of success, and a welcome change from the drudgery and divisiveness of Barack Obama. I was wrong, and it hurts. And so many brilliant conservative minds – who are so very rarely incorrect about anything – were wrong too, almost to a shocking degree.
Obama won every single battleground state (except North Carolina, where no one really expected him to). Republicans were positive Romney had Florida and Virginia, confident about Colorado, Iowa, and New Hampshire, optimistic about Wisconsin and Ohio, and hopeful about Pennsylvania, Minnesota, and Nevada. Obama won them all. And it wasn’t just the presidency. Republicans spent an immense amount of time and effort trying to take back a majority in the Senate from Democrats who have held it since 2006. Democrats increased their seats by two, with Scott Brown’s loss in Massachusetts and Mia Love’s loss in Utah the most upsetting. Typically conservative-opposed state ballot initiatives passed; most notably gay marriage in Maryland, Maine, and Washington, and legalized recreational marijuana in Washington and Colorado. Florida rejected banning abortion providers from receiving state funds.
While the GOP kept the House and won a gubernatorial race here and there, it’s hard to find even the dullest of silver linings in this election cycle for the right side of America.
Leaving the bulk of the discussion of the cultural and economic implications of this election for another time, what’s perhaps most frightening is peoples’ embrace of what conservative America sees as the destruction of all things truly American. In choosing Obama again, voters didn’t just accept the failures of his first term, but the continuation of policies that lead to those failures.
It has been my hypothesis for months that this election was less about either candidate, and more centrally respondent of the culture. Namely, the entitlement culture versus the production culture. I feared/fear that once we reach the tipping point where greater than half feel they deserve (any number of things, but for simplicities’ sake, consider “government handouts” an appropriate catch-all) or are at least willing to vote for liberals with entitlement policies, there is no going back. It is heartbreaking to witness an electorate choose shared and redistributed decline over earned prosperity. As Thomas Sowell rightly asserted, the people were judging themselves this election. This was a test of our collective principles, our resolve, and our direction. From this conservative’s point of view, we failed that test in a mighty way last night.
There is never just one reason why a candidate loses while another wins, and the back and forth over Romney’s campaign will be commentated on to death in the following weeks. I agree with RB’s post that much of it had to do with marketing, but I would also assert that the country is changing, and isn’t as center-right as it used to be. Conservatives are not wrong in what we believe, but perhaps we are wrong about how many believe it with us. There is more, of course, but I’ll leave that to those much smarter and more election-assessing mature than me.
So what now? The three essential steps to rectifying this disaster from a purely political stance are, as I see them: continuing to combat the liberal media and largely liberal educational system and their extreme power of influence, winning the Senate in 2014, and nominating and electing a staunch conservative leader as President of the United States in 2016. My choice is Marco Rubio, but that debate can be had later on. These are the battles, but the war is over the culture. Family, integrity, work.
On a sad day, when hope is hard found, I choose to remember Ronald Reagan’s words: “We are never defeated unless we give up on God.” I hope you join me in continuing to fight for this land we love.
You can follow the author on Twitter:@brady_cremeens