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|Will Republicans learn from their general election loss?|
|by Ryan Watkins|
|November 07, 2012 14:17|
Even before news that President Barack Obama claimed a second term in the White House late last night, Republicans and conservatives had already begun searching for someone, or something, to blame for their candidate's defeat.
With Obama's victory, Democrats have won four of the last six presidential elections going back to 1992.
Early on election night, conservative Fox News pundit Bill O'Reilly blamed the eventual loss on Hurricane Sandy, suggesting the storm which ravaged the northeast just a week ago took all of the momentum out of the hands of former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney.
Some attempted to shift the blame to New Jersey's Republican Gov. Chris Christie. Christie praised Obama in the days after the storm for his leadership. Some prominent conservatives, including News Corp. owner Rupert Murdoch, suggested that Christie would be responsible for a Romney defeat because of the praise in the days leading up to the election.
Christie, who had campaigned for Gov. Romney, became frustrated at the suggestion he was somehow helping the president's reelection bid by praising him and was pressured to double-down on Romney.
Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, who also participated in the early Republican primaries, received around one percent of the national vote, but some conservatives were pointing their fingers at the third-party candidate as the reason the GOP failed.
Few Republican pundits, however, have put the blame where it belongs – the GOP's core principals.
While the returns are still being counted in some areas, exit polling data collected from CNN and Fox News showed the GOP failed to convince women, minorities and young voters to join the conservative bandwagon.
Issues that are important to these groups aren't always the same issues that the GOP's base – older white men – find important.
Abortion rights, contraception, healthcare, immigration reform and yes, even same-sex marriage rights put the Republicans in a dire place with regard to these voters. The Republican Party's base is squarely against these issues and it's to their own detriment.
National Organization for Marriage President Brian Brown said today via a prepared statement that he and his organization were disappointed by the election night defeats but vowed to continue the fight against same-sex marriage rights.
"Obviously we are very disappointed in losing four tough election battles by narrow margins,” Brown said. “We knew long ago that we faced a difficult political landscape with the four marriage battles occurring in four of the deepest-blue states in America. As our opponents built a huge financial advantage, the odds became even steeper. We ran strong campaigns and nearly prevailed in a very difficult environment, significantly out-performing the GOP ticket in every state.”
Brown argued that America and its voters are not embracing same-sex marriage, despite polling data – and now voters – suggesting otherwise.
“Our opponents and some in the media will attempt to portray the election results as a changing point in how Americans view gay marriage, but that is not the case,” Brown continued. “Americans remain strongly in favor of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. The election results reflect the political and funding advantages our opponents enjoyed in these very liberal states.”
Brown may not realize it, but Americans have been “evolving” on same-sex marriage for the last decade. Multiple surveys have found that the majority of Americans now support such unions. Those numbers inch a little higher every time there's new data. Sure, they can claim that the numbers are skewed or misrepresented, but votes don't lie.
For Brown, NOM and the conservative movement at-large, the realization of defeat by holding onto a losing position hasn't quite set in. As long as NOM and other conservative organizations continue to advocate losing policy, the election losses will continue to mount. And while that's bad for the Republicans, it's the best possible outcome for advocates of LGBT rights.
My advice to NOM and others fighting against marriage equality is to keep doing what you're doing. Keep supporting Republican candidates. Keep trying to justify rape and preventing women from having access to contraception. And we'll keep seeing you on the other side.
Top photo: National Organization for Marriage President Brian Brown (via YouTube)
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