As we all know, Barack Obama has been re-elected for a second term. Right about now, Republicans need to ask themselves, “What went wrong?” How could Obama have won? His track record was abysmal. The economy is tanking, unemployment continues to rise, civil government debt has reached a level from which we will probably never be able to recover, foreign relations in the Middle East have only become more treacherous… On almost every issue upon which Obama campaigned, he has proven worse than his predecessor. Yet he has been elected for a second term. Why?
Let’s look at the numbers. The race was almost split 50/50. Obama got less than one percent of the votes more than Mitt Romney. Of interest, libertarian Gary Johnson got right at one percent. Gary who? Right. How did a guy with almost no presence during the primaries get one percent of the votes? The only other Libertarian to get this much traction was Ed Clark in 1980 with 1.1 percent. But this wasn’t so much a victory for the Libertarian Party as it was a loss for the GOP. How did Gary Johnson get so many votes? Ron Paul. Sorry, but that’s just the truth.
Most disillusioned Ron Paul supporters chose either to not vote, to vote for Gary Johnson, or to write in Ron Paul even though such a vote would be largely symbolic. But before you start talking about how lame Ron Paul fans are, let’s really assess this issue.
Tea Party candidates in the Senate lost big this election. Joe Walsh and Allen West lost their seats in the Senate. Akin and Mourdock, as expected (or ensured), also lost. Almost all the members of the GOP who operated on a principled conservative Republican “Tea Party” platform did poorly this election. Why? Because the party establishment abandoned them. The Tea Party didn’t cause the split. The Tea Party represents the majority of active grassroots Republicans. The GOP power brokers caused the split. And they added insult to injury by pretending like they didn’t need the Tea Partiers any more. Say what you will, but the GOP is going through a major identity crisis. And I think it’s choosing to become Mr. Hyde. But it doesn’t have to be this way.