What Do the 2012 Elections Mean for the GOP?
Ryan Kernosky
Ryan K Photo.pngEveryone, take a deep breath in, now let it out. It’s done, over, gone (for now). The 2012 Elections are fin­ished.

But if you’re a Republican, you’re probably wonder what exactly just happened. I mean, the momentum behind Republican Challenger Mitt Romney was absolutely fantastic (some even compared it to the 2008 Election and the Democrats back­ing Mr. Obama). There was no way that Barack Obama would beat Mitt Romney. No way.

Yet... It happened. Overwhelmingly if you look at the Electoral College results.

Even the popular vote went uncontested, with Obama winning by just over 4 and a half million votes.

But what does the 2012 Election mean for the Grand Old Party? Where do the Republicans go from here, and what do they need to change? 

Now before we get into this hoopla of a conversation that is guar­anteed to get me a few nasty emails from the Republicans here in this community, let me make this clear. What I’m about to say is my complete and personal opinion (after all, this is the opinion section, right?) and does not reflect one of The Pointer, I’m not even a paid staff reporter.

Now that the hatchet has been buried, let us get to the meat and bones of this article, What does the GOP need to change to stay relevant? America is changing. We saw it all over this election, Marijuana is now legal for recreational use in Colorado and Washington State, and in Massachusetts it can now be used for medical use. Not to even mention that Maryland and Maine voted to approve Same-Sex Marriage. Lets not forget that Wisconsin elected the first openly gay Senator. No one can con­trol the fact that America is changing, and these are the things that the GOP seems to strongly oppose.

First and foremost, the youth vote. Us, ages 18 through 29 voted overwhelmingly for President Obama. According to Edison Research National Exit Polls, Obama grabbed 60% of the youth vote, with Mr. Romney catching 36%. Think about it, what happens when this youth vote gets older? Will they tend to stay the way they’ve been voting, or will they become more conservative? In regards to social issues, we tend not to change. So clearly the GOP needs to push something... but what? If they want to win over the younger genera­tion of voters, my suggestion is sim­ple. Stop being so concerned about the social issues. Forget about them. What you need to do is push the idea that less government control and less taxes are the better solution to go. The younger generation is less caring about whether or not to let same-sex marriage happen, or immigration issues, we are more concerned with getting decent paying jobs after col­lege. You want to win us over? You need to tell us how big government doesn’t work.

That brings me to the next point. Do not ignore your Fiscal Conservativeness. You need to win over the Tea Party backers and the Libertarians! This past election, Flip- Flop Mitt was trying too hard to please both the hard right voters and the moderate voters. He went back and forth between them to please both, and failed to do so, which gave the democrats another fantastic platform to run on. Push, push, push this idea of smaller government, and do not forget about the Ron Paul Revolution that encouraged many younger voters to vote more Libertarian (best of both worlds, small government, little gov­ernment control on social issues), but when Ron Paul withdrew from the GOP ticket in May, many voters who backed Ron Paul refused to back the Republican Candidate for President (much like Mr. Paul himself). From there, the voters tended to go back to the Democratic side because of the Social Issues, not because of Fiscal Issues. I firmly believe that if the Republicans can push for smaller gov­ernment with less strict social control, they will win over the support of the Libertarians and the Tea Partiers.

One big thing that the GOP needs to adjust is their eerie hatred of Immigrants. In 2004, 8% of the electorate were Hispanic Voters, 2008 that number jumped to 9%, and this past election, 10%. According to Linda Chavez, the chairwoman for the Center for Equal Opportunity and former public liaison for the Reagan Administration, Hispanics are young­er, with 22% still under the age of 18. What does that mean? The percent­age of Electoral Voters that will be of the Hispanic race will increase. Simply put, if you’re going to hate on Immigration, good luck getting into office. Even Mitt Romney was only able to gain support of (give or take) 25% of the Hispanic Population. The GOP needs to be serious about enter­taining Immigration Reform if they want to attract the Hispanic Vote.

While there are for sure many more things that I can think of that the GOP needs to change in order to win the next election; reaching out to the youth voters, being stringent to your Conservative Fiscal Policy, and chang­ing your feeling towards Immigrants in order to win the Hispanic Vote are by far the biggest three things that need to be adapted. America and Americans are changing. If the GOP chooses not to, I think that we can expect to see them become a smaller, less powerful political party in the future.

Ryan Kernosky is a Junior study­ing Public Administration and Policy Analysis at the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point. You can contact him at rkernosky@gmail.com or follow him on twitter @DrWisconsin .