With roughly 40 days to Election Day, and President Barack Obama's lead in the polls growing, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's road to the White House is becoming steeper and steeper. And, though it's not over till it's over, there are already some valuable lessons from this campaign.
The Republican Party is undoubtedly undergoing a transformation. And, as Paul Ryan pointed it out during his convention speech citing the difference between Romney's and Ryan's iPods, this change is as generational as it's demographic. Ryan, Florida Junior Senator Marco Rubio and New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez are some of the emerging GOP figures that are breaking with the party's past of "older white men sipping whiskey in the country club." And, unfortunately for the Romney/Ryan ticket, Mitt Romney is perceived this way (minus the whiskey).
Obama's growing lead in the crucial battleground states of Ohio and Florida, where despite a national unemployment rate above 8%, the president is leading Romney 53% to 43% and 53% to 44% respectively, is due to Romney's 47% gaffe as much as it's due to the Republican Party's resistance to demographic change and inclusion. Despite having the advantage of running against an incumbent president with a less than stellar economic record, comments such as Romney's "self-deportation" and other race and gender gaffes by him and his fellow primary candidates are now contributing to sink the Republican ticket (courtesy of a YouTube era where gaffes never get old).
Yes, there are Latinos, women, gays and African Americans who are not 100% happy with Obama's economic performance during his first term, but when the alternative comes from a party perceived as being out of touch with America's generational, demographic and social shifts, voters might overlook the less than ideal economic numbers to focus on a broader vision of long-term progress (social as well as economic). Hopefully, the GOP finally does some soul searching and starts capitalizing on the party's emerging talents to start a true transformation and innovation. It is time the "Good Ol' Party" stopped shedding layers of support with every election cycle. The onion strategy is definitely not working.