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Why the Republicans Lost the 2008 & 2012 Presidential Elections

Updated on April 24, 2018
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Bill has advanced degrees in education and political science. He has been a political science teacher for over 28 years.

A part of the reason that Republicans are losing the presidency is because they demonstrate a lack of courage and they field moderate Republicans.
A part of the reason that Republicans are losing the presidency is because they demonstrate a lack of courage and they field moderate Republicans. | Source


The Republican Party is in disarray after the 2012 election. “What went wrong”? so goes the refrain. “How did we lose to a president who is so liberal and so unaccomplished”?

Given the unimpressive and unaccomplished Team Obama, the Republicans should have been able to put up a warm body and have won the election. But leave it to the Republican movers and shakers to stare down success and dare it to come any closer. Republicans continue to bang their head against the wall of historical experience which has to be one definition of insanity.

The Principles

There are simple answers to the Republican dilemma; there just aren’t any easy ones. And I’m not claiming to have all of the answers. However, I do have two pieces of the puzzles that appear to be fixed principles in the Republican political universe. They are:

1. Republicans lose when they run with moderate presidential candidates.
2. Republicans lose from a lack of courage.


The Republican Party does not need a dream candidate, but it must have a conservative.

In case you’re thinking “well, of course Dole & McCain lost. Those sad sacs look like they barely survived the worst of the campaign of Bunker Hill, let alone a political campaign.” But that was not the case with Candidate Romney. Mitt was the dream candidate: perfect family, perfect heart rate. If there were a market for the geriatric Ken and Barbie, I’m sure Mitt and Ann would model it.

There was only one problem with Romney….

He wasn’t a conservative.

Candidate Romney once said that he was a “progressive”; then he said that he was a “extreme conservative.”

What he actually was…..was confused.

I’m not sure what would compel a man like Romney to feel the need to call himself a progressive when he really thinks of himself as an “extreme conservative” (or it might be the other way around: he felt the need to call himself an “extreme conservative” but really thinks of himself as a progressive), but whatever the case may be, it’s just more proof positive that he was high on the “Confusion Index” and low on the “Conservative Indicator.”

I’m not knocking Romney. He is what he is. My arrows are aimed at the Republican leadership that have backed two losers in a row.

Like it or not, the two parties have become polarized. Increasingly, Republicans are more conservative and Democrats are more liberal. It used to be that there was a sizable middle ground. That ground has greatly eroded. So a “liberal Republican” and a “conservative Democrat” is a mixed message and is likely to leave voters more confused and less supportive.

If recent history should teach us anything, it should teach us this: modern Republicans do not win with moderate presidential candidates. Ford, Dole, Bush I (once he showed his true colors), McCain, and now Romney. It’s an oxymoron (with an emphasis on “moron”).

Two term Republican presidents, Like Reagan and Bush II were conservative.

Why is this? It’s because no one gets excited about a moderate. Imagine a Democrat trying to get excited about a candidate that didn’t favor infanticide or snatching money from the productive and giving it to guy that hasn’t worked a day in his life, the guy that doesn’t know the difference between a jack hammer and a jack rabbit. Democrats won’t go for him. A Democrat like President Obama has to be willing to defend the most horrendous acts if he wants to get Democratic support.

Some half-baked Marxists have suggested that the Republicans lost because they were “too conservative.” It’s sad to even have to respond to this drivel: most Americans identify as conservatives and are not opposed to life, fiscal responsibility, traditional values, and military strength, some of the cardinal values of conservatism. As an anti-colonial neo-Marxist, the president is way too far to the left, yet he won two terms.

But some conservatives are also in the dark. I like Ann Coulter; I quote her often and admire her courage to speak the unpopular truth to an often hostile audience. But Ann is wrong when she says that the reason that Romney lost is because Republicans fielded loose cannons like Christine O’Donnell and had candidates like Todd Aiken say stupid things. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal seems to concur with this view: reasonable Republicans are losing because the moron Republicans are saying stupid things.

Well, I think that idea is stupid. This is America: politicians saying stupid things is practically a rite of passage and a job description for Democrats. I don’t see Reid, Obama, and Pelosi biting the political bullet because of the nonsense they repeat. Did Democrats lose voters because of the following beauties?

It's hard to pinpoint when the Democrats became the party of full-metal-jacket narcissism, but it's believed to be around the time that Al Gore claimed he created the Internet.
It's hard to pinpoint when the Democrats became the party of full-metal-jacket narcissism, but it's believed to be around the time that Al Gore claimed he created the Internet. | Source

Democrat Procedure ExpertBut we have to pass the bill so that we can find out what is in it.

Bean Counter-in-Chief, Democrat Party— …..over the last 15 months we’ve traveled to every corner of the United States. I’ve now been in 57 states…I think one left to go...

Democrat Spokeswomen on Fascist TransitionAnd guess what this liberal will be all about? This liberal will be all about socialize….uh uh….will be about…(very uncomfortable pause)…basically takin over and the government running all of your companies.

Democrat Adviser on the History of American InfrastructureWe're the country that built the Intercontinental Railroad.

Democrat Sensitivity SupervisorNo, no. I have been practicing...I bowled a 129. It's like -- it was like Special Olympics, or something.

Democrat Séance AdviserOn this Memorial Day, as our nation honors its unbroken line of fallen heroes -- and I see many of them in the audience here today.

Democrat Expert on Demographics & Logistics—“[Referring to the island of Guam] This is an island, that at its widest level is 12 miles from shore to shore at its smallest level, smallest location 7 miles between on e shore and the other… My, my fear is that, ah, the whole island will become so overly populated that it would tip over, and ah, capsize.

Democrat Propaganda Purveyor and CEO of Project “Spin Till Your Head Hurts”I didn’t inhale.

And I didn’t even include any quotes from Jimmy Carter or Joe Biden just to make it fair.

Saying stupid things is not keeping Republicans out of the White House. Once liberals have Republicans so terrified that they might say the wrong thing, they won’t say anything worth listening to; their rhetoric will be so whitewashed and sanitized, it will interest no one. Besides, Republican candidates like Ted Cruz and Donald Trump have shown that you can can take a preemptive stance against the media, make very controversial remarks, and gain political traction.

And this leads me to the second piece of the puzzle:


Losing Republicans are conveying a message to the American people, but it isn’t the message that they think. Today, the Republican's projected message goes something like this:


No one admires cowards and the Republicans are the worst at cowering when the Democrats call them names. Democrats are the playground bullies and the Republicans run to hide under the jungle gym, hoping they won’t be bullied. Republicans aren’t brought down by what they say; they’re brought down when the Obama media exploits Republican gaffes and the Republicans run for cover, desert their own, and cower in fear that they will be called a name. It's become a common refrain: the Democrats play the tune and the Republicans dance to it.

Democrats boldly go out and call Republicans racists, homophobes, intolerant, racists, xenophobic, racists, insensitive, aaaaand racists. And when they’re not calling you a racist, they’re insinuating it. Most Republicans don’t even know that their party has a much better civil rights record than the Donkey Party. Yet the Republicans shift into defensive mode and launch some full-blown campaign to show everyone that they're not the racist, xenophobic, knuckle-dragging neanderthals that they've just been made out to be.

Democrats have to shut up the good people. That's why they taunt them with the name calling. If the Republicans actually said something courageous, they might expose the Dems as the half-witted racist demagogues that we've all come to love and adore.

I’m sorry to have to say this Mr. and Mrs. Republican. It isn’t the nutty duo of O’Donnell and Aiken that deny you elections. It starts with you and me. People admire courage; there's an instinct within the healthy mind to admire courage and follow those that are more courageous than we are. People don’t admire the Republicans; they appear more nervous than a cat in a roomful of rocking chairs.

The biblical stories are timeless. Remember David and Goliath? All the Israelites cowered before the behemoth. Once little David called his bluff and took him down for all the world to see, the Israelites were emboldened and put the Philistines to flight.

Didn’t any Republicans ever have parents that told them: “better to be respected than liked, because if they respect you, they might eventually like you; but, if they don’t respect you, they probably won’t like you.”?

Many Republicans are sophisticated; they don’t want to get into a barroom brawl. They think there is something to be gained by compromising when you're losing. This is a mistake. You gain nothing by compromising when you're losing. The only way to win when you’re losing in politics is to……win.

The Left Hand and the Right Hand

America is a nation where its left hand often does not know what its right hand is doing. One the one hand, we can reelect a president that has failed on every front when it comes to being a resourceful leader. On the other hand, Americans will elect Roy Moore, the “Ten Commandments Judge” to his old job as Chief Justice of his state after being tossed out almost 10 years ago. Moore was courageous, standing his ground against the judiciary of his state and nation. Even many Republicans scorned him. In the end, however, he was vindicated and his courage rewarded.

The typical Republican will say, “But he lost.” Yes, but he lost today so that he could perhaps win tomorrow.

Republicans are so afraid of losing today that they can’t be taken seriously as the leaders of tomorrow. If the Republican wilts in the face of the vapid playground taunts of the Democrats, how will they stand up to Putin in Russia or crazy Persian mullahs calling for the annihilation of Israel?

What's a Republican to do?

Today, conservatism and courage are the necessary, but not sufficient qualities that Mr. and Mrs. Republican need to own if they want to reap political success.

Here’s what I know: the Republican leadership will continue to back leaders that don’t represent the core values of their constituency if the rank-and-file Republicans vote for whoever they front. You will probably have to pull your vote for one election and be vocal about it to reset the party.

This, of course, would be a risk. It might undermine the future of the Republican Party. But it might be a risk we have to incur because our country is more important than party and, yes, the Democrats have lost their minds. If the adults don't stand up soon and take control of our national decline, we stand to lose a lot more than just an election.

You don’t owe the Republican Party one scintilla of loyalty. If they want your support, they must present candidates that you can support; it’s as simple as that.

But, don’t we have to appeal to independents? No, “independents” are the most unreliable of voters. Better to motivate your base by articulating and standing for their values. Some independents will follow you.

But shouldn’t the party appeal to moderate Republicans? No. Moderates are compromisers. They're usually “party first” men. They may complain that the party chose some hayseed to lead them, but they’ll vote for him because caving in is what they do. Some will bolt but most can be talked into staying, because compromising is what they do.

If your party won’t take the risk, you’ll have to take it for them. We might witness a reversal in an almost sure disaster If enough conservative Republicans are willing to act courageously,

© 2013 William R Bowen Jr


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