Well, it's offiicial: President Obama beat Republican challenger Mitt Romney, dominating the Electoral College vote and winning the popular vote.
Obama won 332 Electoral College votes. As of 2:30 p.m. EST on Wednesday, Obama had widened his popular vote lead. He now leads 60,193,076 or 50.4% to 57,468,587 or 48.1% with nearly all precincts reporting.
So How did this happen?
Republicans should be kicking themselves.
They could have won the White House. Instead they lost. Badly. That much is certain in the aftermath of the most expensive and, perhaps, most bitter presidential election in our nation’s history.
Make no mistake, everything was in place for a presidential Republican victory this year: A vulnerable incumbent, a still struggling economy, a still too high unemployment rate, a Supreme Court decision that allowed carte blanche in corporate campaign spending, and a moderate GOP candidate from a blue state with a background in business ... with perfect hair. Republicans could not have scripted a better scenario in the lead-up to last night’s election.
However, following an election in which absolutely no Republican momentum was capitalized on, it is apparent that the GOP has much deeper concerns than an inability to win swing states. Last night Republicans lost women, Latinos, and young people by double-digits, according to exit polls. Consequently, the party is now faced with an identity crisis that could spell disaster for the GOP for decades to come. And now it is time to panic.
If anything is clear from last night’s returns it is that it’s time for a very painful conversation about where the Republican Party is currently going and where it needs to go in order to survive.
The GOP must re-evaluate whether the pandering to the extreme candidates who sit on the far end of the political spectrum that is now necessary to secure a national nomination is worth forfeiting large portions of moderate votes that, historically speaking, decide a presidential election.
In hindsight Mitt Romney’s chances at the presidency were doomed as soon as he secured his party’s nomination. The once moderate governor was pushed too far to the right in order to win over the party’s faithful. And while he won the party’s nomination he was forced to take insincere stances on critical issues such as immigration and entitlements which ultimately cost him moderate votes, thereby ultimately costing him the election.
Of course, Mitt Romney was not the only Republican who lost last night. Two other highly visible Republican candidates, Todd Akin and Robert Mourdock, also lost races for Senate seats in their respective states. And while much will be rightfully made about how they sealed their own fates after they made toxic remarks on rape, their defeat was also a referendum on their political philosophies. Voters no longer want to elect ideologues who take such a hard-line, and frankly borderline extreme, stances on issues critical that they are completely out of touch with the constituents that they hope to be elected to serve.
This is not a problem that will simply work itself out. In fact, if the GOP carries on the status quo, it will only get worse. Demographics are rapidly changing. More Latinos will vote in the next election than in this one and women will continue to be the deciding group in the election. Consequently, the extreme views that even moderate Republicans have to adopt as their own concerning immigration reform, abortion, or marriage equality will only continue to doom the party on the national state.
A popular assertion is that the Republican Party is stuck in the past. It’s easy to see it that way. However, the Republican Party’s biggest problem very well could be that it is stuck in the present.