WASHINGTON, D.C., November 10, 2012 ― One of the things totally missing from this week’s post-election analysis is a clear separation of the “how” and the “why” of the result. Cause will be imputed from effect. The winners are happy to tell us why we lost and why we should be more like them if we ever want to win again.
Our ideas didn’t lose Tuesday, our candidates did.
Pundits from the other side and even so-called moderates within the Republican establishment are telling us same the story we’ve heard since 2008: The party has to abandon its ideals and move left because the population has changed ethnically. It doesn’t sound logical when put that way, does it?
Do they think that because the ideals of liberty originated in Anglo-Saxon England that they appeal only to Ango-Saxons?
How many Democrats at the state and local level campaigned on the record of achievement of the last four years? How many Democrats instead told voters they were fiscal conservatives? And yet, as soon as they’ve won, the left changed the conversation to social issues to tell us, basically, that we lost because they offered free abortion on demand and we didn’t. And other free stuff. The how and why don’t match. We must think clearly; they encourage us with demagoguery not to.
They won by appealing to their base and turning them out in greater numbers. The Republican Party lost nationally by not appealing to theirs. Romney got fewer votes than McCain, which frankly surprises me given how weak a candidate McCain was. Romney apparently didn’t attract many cross-over votes. He appeared to independents and undecideds not all that much different from Obama. Is that a fair assessment of the two men? I don’t think so, but that’s what the data so far seem to indicate.
Good candidates with a Liberty message win.
In Colorado, the election results were quite mixed. The Democrats totally controlled reapportionment and used that advantage to gerrymander a couple of state-level Republicans out of their seats as well as to target U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman (CO-6) by realigning his district. They failed to unseat Mike, however, and every other incumbent, Republican or Democrat, was re-elected by absolute majorities. No change.
In the state Senate, all four of the liberty-oriented candidates I followed won. These were all new senate candidates and two had never held political office before. The Democrats maintain their control of the senate. Again, no real change.
In the State House the districts are smaller and offer more “safe seats.” Of thirteen liberty-oriented candidates I followed, seven won. Of the six who lost, three were in heavily Democratic districts. Two additional liberty candidates lost to more moderate Republicans in the primaries; both of those Republicans were elected. The House flipped to the Democrats, but that happened last December.
This was not a watershed election after all.
Charles Hurt of The Washington Times wrote on November 7th that the election was essentially status quo: it was as if there wasn’t an election at all. I think he’s right. The real watershed was 2008, followed by the counter-revolution of 2010. This battle was a draw.
We didn’t lose Tuesday. The Liberty caucus in the House is largely intact. We simply failed to expand our control of the federal government, something we very much needed to maintain liberty in the short term. Yes, the path is now harder, but it is no less certain.
On Tuesday we failed to produce a candidate and a message and an organization to deliver that message that proved capable of ousting a sitting president backed by an incredibly organized machine and a compliant and complicit press.
The looters maintained their hold on the federal government Tuesday, no question. Yet Statist schemes such as they advocate never work in the longer term. They always run out of other people’s money. When they can no longer keep up their promises of free stuff, their supporters will turn on them with a vengeance. Look no farther than Greece.
In short, we lost the battle for the presidency but we did not lose the battle of ideas. Sam Adams, the original radical in these United States, was right:
“The love of liberty is interwoven in the soul of man, and can never be totally extinguished.” ― Samuel Adams to John Adams, October 4, 1790
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