Was Romney's Defeat a GOP Referendum?

4 years ago

Gov. Mitt Romney's failure to unseat President Barack Obama, with Republicans and Democrats still reigning over the House and Senate, respectively, leaves Washington as we found it before last night: status quo.

But was Romney's loss his alone, or was it a referendum on his political party -- which was accused throughout the election cycle of not representing the ideas of women, minorities, and the poorer classes?

BOSTON, Nov. 7, 2012 U.S. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney addresses his supporters during his election night rally in Boston, the United States, Nov. 6, 2012. Romney conceded defeat in presidential elections, and congratulated Barack Obama on his re-election on Nov. 6. (Image: © Shen Hong/Xinhua/ZUMAPRESS.com)

Was a "no" vote for Romney a rejection of his party's radicals -- the Todd Akins and Richard Mourdocks?

Arguably, Romney faced a tough race from the outset being branded with a favorability problem, but he rose to the occasion and proved a worthy opponent to Obama -- both in terms of a ground game and on the national debate stage.

Yet, defeated, he emerged just after 1 a.m. today conceding with graciousness to the victor.

"I so wish that I had been able to fulfill your hopes to lead the country in a different direction. But the nation chose another leader, and so Ann and I join you to earnestly pray for him and for this great nation."

A great -- and diverse -- nation. Hispanics and African Americans broke for Obama, 72 percent and 93 percent respectively. Fifty-five percent of women, according to exit polls, did the same.

Conservatives might be tempted to accuse Romney of appearing too centrist, too moderate -- rather than pounding the platform pulpit.

Even Tea Partiers joined the Romney bashfest, saying he was a "weak moderate candidate" hand-picked by the "mushy middle."

But the nation's demographics show that the Republican Party -- conservative or mushy -- may never be fully realized, as younger voters, women, and minorities increasingly flock to the Democrats. Obama soundly carried all three voting blocks last night.

Unsurprisingly, senior citizens, whites, and men strongly supported Romney.

In all likelihood, the Republican control of the House means we're in for at least two years, perhaps four, of ongoing political gridlock in Washington, D.C.

Though amid all the soundbite jockeying, a wise Grand Old Party might look inward and examine whether it can learn a few new tricks.

Its survival just might depend on them.

- Follow me @erica_holloway.

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