Republican leaders, funders, thinkers, conservative activists and media pundits are still trying to recover from the shock of the 2012 presidential election that secured a second term mandate for America’s first black President Barack Obama. They are all shocked at what happened on Election Night that their candidate Mitt Romney only won one swing state North Carolina and lost the remaining battleground states including Michigan, Ohio, Florida and the rest to President Obama.
But the Republican Party should have seen this coming. All the leaders of the conservative movement and their media thinkers needed to do was to read the 2010 Census report that showed how America is quickly becoming a multiracial nation and the fact that the demographics are changing to a real melting pot. Because the Republican Party did not pay attention to the new racial majority in the Census report that showed how Hispanics are fastly growing they are now made to face the reality of America changing before their very own eyes.
What Tuesday’s election showed was that African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, women, young voters and other racial groups came out in massive numbers like never before to secure a second term for President Obama in a powerful way. This is the new racial majority that reflects the current political landscape and will determine how elections go in this country for a long time.
The Republican Party now must accept this reality or it will be confined to the party of the 1960s. You can only use the Southern strategy so long but at some point like Tuesday’s election determined, that strategy can no longer work. Appealing to people’s racial fears and playing the race card by trying to invoke the sordid past of the South and clamping on minority rights to vote will not be accepted by the new racial coalition.
The party of Abraham Lincoln now must adjust to the changing demograpics of America and embrace diversity in a more realistic and meaningful way. Small minded politics and appealing to the worst of people like we saw during Obama’s first term with right-wing placards reading “We want our country back,” belong to the America of 1950 not 2012.
Democracy dictates that a party that claims to represent all of the people ought to cater to the wellbeing of the people it purports to represent not just a segment of the population. African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, Jews, women, young people and other racial groups also have an interest in the political stake of this country and how decisions are made on their behalf. The Republican Party cannot ignore the issues these groups care about and cannot be seen as anti-diversity. If the party continues to do so ignoring the interest of this multicultural coalition it will mean more trouble for the party election after election.
Even Fox News conservative pundit Dick Morris who blindly and wrongfully predicted a Romney win failing to see the new America is taking a second look at this new political reality and challenging his party to step up.
“What this is saying is this is the new America. This isn’t your father’s America,” Morris said on Fox News. “The percentage of single women, minorities and voters under 30 is so large at this point that unless the Republican Party fundamentally changes its appeal to those voters, it can never win an election. And what the Republican Party needs to do is to stop running in the face of those demographics, and start appealing to them and start revising some of its priorities and its positions in order to reach that vote because that vote is here to stay.”
Yes, the new racial majority is here to stay. America’s political decisions should in the truest sense reflect the rapidly growing diversity of this nation because that is the future. And if there is real meaning in the Declaration of Independence, “we hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal,” then the Republican Party must demonstrate that mean in how it operates from now on.
And if the Republican Party wants to have a future it can no longer relegate African Americans, Hispanics, women and other groups to the back of the 2012 bus. This is the year 2012. The Republican Party must desist from the ugly politics we saw in this just ended campaign where Republican male candidates went the extreme of defining what rape is for women.
The Republican Christian and white evangelical leadership like the Rev Franklin Graham and others must wake up and stop playing selective Christianity when it comes to minorities as they attempted to do with President Obama questioning his faith. You can’t have a different religious standard when it comes to minority groups and another standard for the once dominant culture. This is religious hypocrisy and it was put to shame Tuesday night.
The day after election, I was on the phone with an influential religious leader in the country who is an Obama supporting reflecting on Tuesday night’s victory.
“The white evangelical Christians have not changed in 100 years,” is how this leader of one of the largest denominations described the condescending behavior of Rev Franklin Graham and others who led the charge to question Obama’s faith and tried to de-legitimize him.
America is not at a crossroads because we know where America is headed. The Republican Party is at a crossroads because it now must choose which way to go.