The Republican party lost the election because the vast majority of African Americans (91%), Hispanics (71%), women (55%), and young people (60%) voted for Barack Obama.
It failed to capture these votes for three reasons: (1) too few speakers from these groups, (2) too little speaking for these groups, and (3) too little speaking to these groups of voters.
1. More speaking from
The conservative movement has way too few representatives, spokespersons, nominees, etc., in these groups. It is still the party of largely middle-age-plus white men. I’m one of them, but our day is passing. We need way more diversity in the voices and faces we present to the public. There are a number of conservative pundits’ voices and faces I’d love to see retire early. But how do we attract a more diverse group of supporters and speakers? That brings me to my second point.
2. More speaking for
The conservative movement has failed to speak for African Americans, Hispanics, etc. There’s plenty advocacy for businesses and for the middle class. But why don’t conservatives equally speak for the poor and for those who are discriminated against? If we don’t speak for people, if they don’t sense that we are their advocates, that we have their interests at heart, we won’t get a hearing from them. Of course, there’s no war on women. But why not a war for women? Most women know that conservatives are not against them. But do they really sense that we are enthusiastically for them and their concerns? Same goes for young people.
3. More speaking to
I never got the sense from Mitt Romney that he was trying to speak to minorities or to young people in general. His message was finely honed and targeted on the middle class and the business class – the establishment, you might say. Like many conservatives, he seemed to just give up on any attempt to show how conservative principles can lift and inspire the poor and the disadvantaged, far more than any amount of handouts or government programs. The 47% comment revealed so much.
When the only message people in urban areas hear is, “We will cut entitlements,” they also hear crime rising, assaults increasing, windows smashing, etc., as a result. An alternative has to be offered, something more inspirational than dependency, and something more constructive than cuts. Surely there’s a modern day William Wilberforce somewhere that can translate conservative principles into policies and a persuasive message that will give hope to the inner-cities and urban areas.
Diversity and morality
There are certain kinds of diversity that are immoral – gay marriage for example. But there are other kinds of diversity that are a moral duty. And that goes not just for conservative politics, but also for the church of Christ. Let’s not be dragged there kicking and screaming, but embrace this reality with enthusiasm and excitement.