There will be no shortage of reasons provided for what happened with Tuesday’s election. Republicans everywhere are scratching their heads wondering just how an administration so bad was able to earn a second chance. Never had an incumbent been re-elected with unemployment this bad. Never had their been an incumbent re-elected with this poor a first term record. That is, until Tuesday. How did it happen? Take a look at the following three deciding factors: message, demographics and perception.

Message

Clearly, a majority of the American people did not buy what the GOP was selling. The Obama campaign did a great job (with the help of an extremely strong ground game) of getting people motivated enough to get out and vote for their message or man, whatever it took. By contrast, not enough Americans believed in Mitt Romney or the “moderate” message he represented in order to defeat the President. The Dems held the enthusiasm mark once again. This is a huge problem for the Republicans.

For the past eight years, the Republicans have been trying to move to the center, thinking that would be the best way to combat a changing United States demographic. The first time, a rock star candidate, riding a wave of emotion and popularity, defeated them in a historic election. This time, they were defeated because their message didn’t resonate enough to overturn one of the weakest incumbent’s since Carter in 1980. Americans chose the status quo of a bad economy, high unemployment, failed foreign policies and an unprecedented national debt instead of what the GOP presented. That should scream loudly in the ears of the Republican Party.

It is time for the GOP to get back to true conservative policies and people. It is time to put everything on the table for evaluation and move back to the right in their candidate choices in 2014 and 2016. The current watered-down, centrist and safe message, tactics and leaders will fail again the next time around. Mitt Romney is a great man and certainly qualified to lead this country. But he isn’t what the people wanted and it’s time to stop pandering to the masses. Moving to the center is not going to get it done.

Erick Erickson of RedState.com, echoes the case for a move back to the right.

Reagan beat Carter by being drawing bright lines and simply explaining why his way was better. Romney never really tried that, then picked a Vice Presidential nominee who had done that and promptly taped his mouth shut.

Over the past two years the GOP has atrophied into a party of intellectual lightweights in the House and Senate. They have run on “saving the free market”, but actively collaborated with the Democrats to drive-up the national debt to more than $16 trillion. Major conservative groups on the outside have, instead of reinforcing conservatism, continued their Bush era habit of reinforcing the party line.

Just go back to the primary and look at the major conservative influencers who went quickly to Mitt Romney before the field had even fully shaped up. He was the Republican, not the conservative. Even worse, look at the rest of the GOP field. Romney, the man so weak anybody could beat him, beat the rest of the field. That speaks volumes about the rest of the field.

Once in the arena for President, Romney failed to define and articulate a conservative foreign policy beyond a muddling of the Bush policy. He failed to truly advocate any reforms of the fiscal house, even muzzling Paul Ryan. And the party went right along with it.

Demographics

Philip Klein, of the Washington Examiner, points out that Romney won about the same percentage of white voters Tuesday night as Reagan did back in 1980 – and yet, still lost big to an Obama campaign that reached out to the new American demographic.

In 1980, Reagan won white voters 56 percent to 36 percent, with third party candidate John Anderson taking 8 percent of the vote. He ended up beating Carter by 10 points and winning 44 states. Romney has won white voters by the same 20-point margin, 59 percent to 39 percent. But the big difference is that in 1980, whites were 88 percent of the electorate, whereas in this election, they were just 73 percent.

Black voters represented 10 percent of the electorate in 1980, and Carter won 83 percent of them. This year, black voters were 13 percent of the electorate, and went 93 percent for Obama. But the big leap was among Hispanic voters, who jumped from 2 percent of the population in 1980 to 10 percent in 2008. And Romney is only winning 30 percent of Hispanics.

Simply put, white voters make up a smaller percentage of the electorate these days. No longer can a Republican candidate simply appeal to this demographic and ignore Hispanics and African-Americans. And that’s the way it should be anyway. It is time for the GOP to join the 21st century and come up with a way to present their platform to these two groups and women. Obama held an 11-point advantage over Romney with women, down only one point from the 2008 election. So much for the GOP effort to appeal to the female vote.

Erickson says the Republicans must address immigration reform if they want to be relevant to a changing populace.

At the same time, Romney made a conscious decision to blow off Hispanic voters. Yes conservatives, we must account for this. The Romney campaign to the Hispanic community was atrocious and, frankly, the fastest growing demographic in America isn’t going to vote for a party that sounds like that party hates brown people. That does not mean the GOP must offer up amnesty. It does mean that a group that is a natural fit for the GOP on social issues, must in someway be made to feel comfortable with the GOP.

Perception

Finally, there is a lot of talk about how the mainstream media and their liberal bias is responsible for the dumbing-down of the American people. Pundits point to Benghazi and Obama’s checkered personal history as two examples of issues that should have made a bigger difference in the minds of voters. This is a cop out and should not be used as an excuse for losing again.

It is the responsibility of conservatives to shout their message from the mountaintops and make sure people know the truth. If the networks are covering up a scandal, then GOP leaders need to speak up. Whether it is Fox News, talk radio, blogs or social media, the resources are there for the truth to be known. It is time to stop blaming others and form a better game plan.

The next two years are crucial in the life of the 21st century Republican Party. Will it continue to flounder in the land of moderate mediocrity, allowing the Democratic Party to lead this country down the road of Socialism and big government? Or will it pull back to its true conservative roots, policies and leaders who will not compromise in order to gain popularity.

After all, what is popular is not always right. What is popular is often easy. Easy doesn’t get the job done. Easy doesn’t endure. Easy gets you beat by an inferior opponent. The GOP has settled for easy the past decade and the children of this country deserve better. Where do we go from here? That is becoming painfully clear.

Original article authored by Dave Dorsey for RightChange.com

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