Without beating around the bush, the Republicans lost the 2012 election because, throughout the election campaign, they portrayed themselves in the way they acted as a callous, uncaring party. That would have doomed them to failure because that attitude goes against the one thing that all humans crave: to feel significant, appreciated and valued.
Andrew Rawnsley, an Observer journalist in Britain, in a recent article, noted the sure fire way to win an election. He said: Elections are won by getting more people to support your guy than the other guy. Put like that, it sounds so obvious as to be stupid. I put it that way, nevertheless, because it is remarkable how often political parties neglect or even wilfully defy this basic rule of winning power. The Republicans in America forgot it and they duly lost.
Yes, they certainly ignored, forgot or were ignorant of that simple maxim, because their behaviour suggested they were more intent on depriving themselves of new votes so long as they held on to their old ones! Except that they grossly overestimated the power of the old votes while underestimating their need to widen the political base to increase those votes. In fact, they were so arrogant, they made a point of behaving badly to those they felt were not worthy!
This callousness showed itself in three significant incidents during the campaign:
1. The 47% comment by Mitt Romney
This was the most awful comment from a potential president of the United States. No president will ever get 100% of the vote in any democracy where there are more than one parties. It means that no matter who votes for the president, his job is to UNITE his country once he is elected. He represents every single person, whether they voted for him or not. To then deliberately divide the nation into less worthy and more worthy, according to their perceived voting pattern, is ill advised at best and simply arrogant and mean spirited at worst. How can any president govern a divided nation that is fighting against itself and actually SEE that as acceptable? Worst still, how can any politician, let alone a presidential one, treat nearly half of the voters with such contempt, yet expect to be voted into office by everyone else? What would he have done about those 47% while he was in power?
2. The way the party treated women and other minorities
This attitude just defies belief. The rape-baiting comments in particular, from Republican candidates Todd Aiken and Richard Mourdock, showed an insensitivity to 51% of the population that was both incomprehensible and callous. The self righteous manner in which they said it too, as if they were talking about deviant children, instead of female adults who could vote, was just unbelievable. They showed no empathy, no respect to females, no understanding or appreciation of being a woman, and, above all, they showed no remorse and were richly rewarded by the voters by being voted out!
3. Cancelling the credit cards for their own volunteers on the last night of the campaign
This must go down in political history as one of the most callous acts by a political party towards volunteers who gave up their time willingly to help their candidate to win. The Republicans showed how much they cared for their own when they couldn’t even wait for the next day after the elections to cancel the cards, to wait until all their volunteers were safely home. No sirree, the cards were cancelled as soon as the results were known, treating faithful supporters like scapegoats for that failure, leaving them stranded and without support, after giving so much to their candidate.
The Republican members and supporters can blame all kinds of conspiracy theories on Mitt Romney losing the election. But they have no one to thank but themselves: their lack of empathy for others, their disrespect for some members of society, their contempt in dividing the community, their lack of care and concern for their voters and, above all, their callousness towards their own supporters.
One could say that the election result was spot on (especially with Mitt Romney getting 47% of the votes too, true poetic justice on his 47% comment!). At the rate they are going, on that selfish tide of arrogance and misplaced pride, the Republican Party will be in the wilderness for some years to come. They would have alienated so many people with their callousness and meanness, there won’t be many people left to vote for them.