What’s Next for the GOP?

In hope that somewhere – out there – there is a Republican who reads the Cato blog, here are a few of my thoughts on last night’s elections:

  1. Social conservatism à la Messrs. Murdock and Akin has no place in a modern political party. Opposition to abortion is no excuse for deranged comments about “legitimate rape” and “God intended” pregnancies from rape. The same goes for opposition to gay equality. The referenda in Maine and Maryland are harbingers of things to come. The electorate is growing ever more accepting of homosexuality and increasing number of voters feel that preventing gays from marrying is discrimination – pure and simple.
  2. It is foolish to bash the Latinos in the primaries and then be shocked when they turn out in mass numbers in support of your opponent. Demography is destiny and the Latino vote is going to grow ever more important in the elections to come. The GOP should get ahead of the curve and come up with a comprehensive immigration reform that will include a path toward legalization of undocumented voters before Obama does.
  3. Americans are tired of a jingoistic foreign policy and while many voters are appalled by Obama administration’s drone strikes in Pakistan, few are ready for another all-out war in the Middle East or elsewhere.
  4. Principles matter. During his political career, Mitt Romney was on every side of every issue, running as a moderate/liberal Republican in the Massachusetts Senate race and as a severe conservative in the GOP primaries. In reality, nobody could be quite sure what he believed or where he stood.

Defeats may be difficult, but they do provide an opportunity for renewal. With G W Bush, the GOP embraced a fiscal liberal and a social conservative who did a massive damage to the reputation of the Republican Party. With Mitt Romney, the GOP opted for a man who was everything to everyone all at once. Perhaps next time around, the GOP will select a person who reflects the political preferences of most Americans: fiscal rectitude combined with social moderation.