The Republican Party did not suffer a massive defeat on Tuesday night, contrary to what most may think. The party retained its majority in the House of Representatives; Mitt Romney won 206 electoral votes compared to John McCain's measly 173 votes in 2008. The party did lose one thing: voter confidence. In order to win the midterm elections in 2014 and possibly the presidential election of 2016, the Republican Party does need to reform itself.
Here are three ways the GOP can rebrand and regroup.
1. Romney won 52% of the male vote, 56% of the vote of people over age of 65, and 59% of the white vote in an election where 89% of his total votes were white. However, the white portion of the electorate dropped to 72% and the minority voters were essential to victory as 21%. Furthermore, the Republican Party ostracized women with the rape comments made by Representative Todd Akin (R-MO) and Treasurer Richard Mourdock (R-IN), who lost their Senate races, one of which was to a woman. Women, who comprise 54% of the electorate, went 55% to Obama, unmarried women went for Obama by 38 points. Obama indubitably had numbers on his side: the majority of the country is not white men anymore.
2. In order to win minority and female voters, the GOP needs to start finding economic policies that don't only favor the rich and the men. Eight out of 219 Republicans voted in favor of the 2009 Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which guarantees equal pay for women in the same positions as men; 160 Republicans voted against the 2010 DREAM Act and only five voted in favor of a 2012 jobs bill that would help veterans. The new support for the LGBTQ community as evidenced by the legalization of same-sex marriage in three more states and the election of the first openly gay senator should hint that Americans are in favor of gay rights and same sex marriage. Equality for all Americans should not be such a difficult stance for the GOP to adopt.
3. Finally, the GOP needs to start weeding out uneducated shmucks like Akin, Mourdock, Santorum, Perry... the list goes on. Republican slip-ups have increasingly become less amusing and more horrifying and despicable. The Republican primary season was a trainwreck, and Romney was the body that was pulled out of it; the party was not enthusiastic about any one candidate the way that the Democrats rallied around Obama in 2008 after he defeated Hillary Clinton. Even high-ranking party members were reluctant to endorse Romney or lend their support and some went so far as to support President Obama, like former Secretary of State Colin Powell. Party unity is key; there need to be issues that the entire party can rally around without such ranging extremism. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is a early favorite for the 2016 presidential election, but he's nationally renowned for being a maverick and talking straight. He may pursue a presidential run but he's a moderate from the northeast, like Romney, only with a spine.
The Republican Party is not dead, but it is officially on thin ice: in order to stay relevant in the modern political arena, it must adapt to the changing population and its needs.