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51 minutes ago
The Republican story about how societies prosper — not just the Romney story — dwelt on the heroic entrepreneur stifled by taxes and regulations: an important story with which most people do not identify. The ordinary person does not see himself as a great innovator. He, or she, is trying to make a living and support or maybe start a family. A conservative reform of our health-care system and tax code, among other institutions, might help with these goals. About this person, however, Republicans have had little to say.
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Team Romney’s polling cluelessness comes after years of conservatives demonizing pointy-headed academics, including scientists. On subjects like evolution, global warming, the biology of human conception, and even macroeconomics, conservatives have been increasingly bold about rejecting the consensus of scientific experts in favor of ideologically self-serving pronouncements. That attitude may have contributed to their loss of the White House in 2012.
"Don't tell me the old, old storyTell me the truth this time"Billy Bragg
What all of this signifies is that the Republicans now find themselves facing a moment similar to the one that Democrats met in the wake of the 1988 election, when the party found itself markedly out of step with the country — shackled to a retograde base, in the grip of an assortment of fads and factions, wedded to a pre-modern policy agenda. And so, like the Ds back then, the Rs today must undertake a wholesale modernization of their party, starting with, but not limited to, making real inroads with those ascendant elements of the electorate. Doing so will be a Herculean task, and one that will require not just institutional resolve but individual leadership; it will require, that is to say, that the Republicans find their own version of Bill Clinton circa 1990. But daunting as the task may be, what last night indicated is that the party has no choice but to undertake the assignment — because to forgo it would be to risk not just irrelevance but extinction.
DisclaimerI believe editorials concerning another country's election, my own included, are fair journalism, so long as they are reasoned, informed and respectful*.