There’s a Relient K song called “The Only Thing Worse than Beating a Dead Horse is Betting on One.” Welcome to the United States Republican Party in the year 2012.
Let me preface this by saying I am a college student, I am female, and I voted for Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan. I am a registered Republican voter, and I don’t think I have actually met, in person, another student at my university who will admit to being a Republican or having voted for Romney/Ryan.
I, as a female college student, am in the vast minority of Republican constituency. Let me show you some disturbing statistics based on CNN’s exit polls:
Race and gender:
Largest proportion for Romney: 62% of white men
Largest proportion for Obama: 96% of black women
18-24: 60% Obama, 37% Romney
25-29: 60% Obama, 38% Romney
30-39: 55% Obama, 42% Romney
40-49: 48% Obama, 50% Romney
50-64: 47% Obama, 52% Romney
65+: 44% Obama, 56% Romney
Do you see the problem here? The GOP is quickly, very quickly, becoming obsolete. And to me, it’s pretty clear why.
I’ve seen lots of conservatives asking if we’re losing people because we’re being too moderate. No! We’re losing people because we’re pulling hard party line on things that have already been decided. Gay marriage? States have taken over. Abortion? Pretty much done. Why, oh why, do we insist on beating a dead horse? Actually, why do we insist on betting on it?
I had a political-type class on Wednesday in which we talked briefly about the election. One student said to the class, “No offense to anyone in here, but I just can’t understand why anyone would vote for Romney.”
No one dissented. My professor just said, “White men over 60, I’m telling you.” That was my social sciences professor’s analysis: white men over 60 are the basis of the Republican party, and they’re starting to lose pretty much everyone else. You may want to dismiss that as just liberal rhetoric from a liberal university, but the numbers are kind of on her side. This is a problem.
Want to know another reason we’re losing everyone? On what planet is it okay for someone who appears in the public sphere to say something like, “I think NBC has a long record of being very liberal and at the heart of liberalism really is a hatred for God and a belief that government should replace God”? Or, “From what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways of shutting that whole thing down”? Yes, I know that’s only one individual. But it’s an individual who, after his withdrawal deadline passed for the Senate race, was endorsed by the National Republican Senatorial Committee that had formerly withdrawn its support. He had waves of Republican support thereafter, despite the hateful and factually untrue things he said.
Why are we endorsing people like this? Todd Akin isn’t the only instance of this. The Republican Party has recently been suffering from a terrible strain of foot-in-mouth disease. We wonder why we can’t gain the Senate majority or win a presidential election, but despite the fact that the majority of republicans would never say or think anything like this, we keep throwing our support behind people who do.
It’s time to stop saying liberals are evil. It’s time to stop being terrified of newness and change and bringing politics into the 21st century. We need to start learning how to use social media and engage young people, to stop alienating minorities, and to stop clinging to causes that are not integral to who we are! We as a party should not be defined by our stances on homosexuality or abortion, or by our gaffes and hatred. That’s not who we really are. But if we keep letting those people speak the loudest, that’s going to continue to be how the world sees us.
So I tell you what. Let’s try something new. Let’s respectfully disagree with our president, involve young people, let go of the issues that aren’t relevant anymore, come into this century, stop claiming liberals are evil, and love people.
Conservative female college student who thinks it’s time for a new era in the republican party