Commentary: The Challenge Facing the GOP After Obama’s Victory

The Republican Party’s soul searching needs to focus on policy issues, rather than window dressing.

Posted: 11/09/2012 01:01 PM EST
Commentary: The Challenge Facing the GOP After Obama’s Victory

It is a stunning example of political hubris and hypocrisy. Karl Rove, the chief architect of Republican dreams and Mitt Romney’s archangel of fund-raising, announced that President Obama got re-elected only because he “suppressed the vote” of Americans who opposed him.

That takes some gall. Rove is a leading figure in a Republican Party that championed efforts in several states to make it difficult for African-American and Latino voters to cast ballots. His review of the election results point to a glaring blind spot that he shares with several of his fellow Republicans.

Like Rove, many Republicans are missing the important lessons of the presidential election of 2012. In the aftermath of the historic re-election of Barack Obama, they have largely taken to two explanations for Mitt Romney’s loss. 

One tact is to do what Rove has done, that is, to concoct some delusional scapegoating that doesn’t approach reality. The other is one has been more widely employed: That the American demographic landscape is shifting so quickly that Republicans must take steps to better appeal to the growing brown and black electorate.

It is true that America is becoming increasingly diverse and that Republicans must take communities of color into account in their planning. But the Republicans need to recognize that their lack of appeal to the expanding communities of the American electorate is based on policy, not window dressing.

President Obama was so enthusiastically supported by an electorate – many of it Black, Latino and Asian – in part because he championed a health care reform that would allow most Americans to get medical care, as opposed to Romney extolling the virtues of the emergency room.

People of color appreciated a strategy to increase jobs and enhance economic growth by investing in refurbishing the nation’s infrastructure. They liked the idea that the government should do more to provide grants for college students, rather than the Romney position that collegiates need only go to their parents for financial assistance. 

People of color decided to vote for a president who has championed the concept of equal pay for women – a bedrock economic issue for many American families – rather than a challenger who remained silent on his own position on the topic.

They liked the idea that women are the best judges of how to deal with their medical and reproductive decisions. They turned their back on a party whose positions on reproductive rights bordered on the medieval, a party that promoted the idea of invasive vaginal ultrasounds for women seeking abortions. 

In short, the Republicans have to do some soul-searching about the very issues that they have championed. Black and Latinos did not vote overwhelmingly on the Democratic line because of some genetic predisposition. They have strongly held views on everything from health care and job creation to the economy and global warming.

Republicans now are talking incessantly about the need to reach out to voters who, for the moment at least, are considered minorities. But it will take more than propping up Marco Rubio, Artur Davis or Condoleezza Rice at a Republican convention. Unless the Republicans revisit their positions on the issues that are so important to Americans of color, they will condemn their party to growing and unavoidable irrelevance. 

 

The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of BET Networks. 

 

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(Photo: Matthew Cavanaugh/Getty Images)

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