This weekend Gov. Romney and his wife returned to the national stage with a lengthy interview on FOX news. Why did his campaign fall short? In a sentence: Only one in three voters sensed that Mitt Romney “cares about people like me.” Fair or unfair, perceptions shape elections.
In today’s WSJ, Arthur Brooks pens a devastatingly accurate assessment on why Republicans are struggling to connect with voters. He notes that “citizens across the political spectrum place a great importance on taking care of those in need and avoiding harm to the weak.” Then he writes:
Conservatives are fighting a losing battle of moral arithmetic. They hand an argument with virtually 100% public support—care for the vulnerable—to progressives, and focus instead on materialistic concerns and minority moral viewpoints.
What should they do?
…make improving the lives of vulnerable people the primary focus of authentically conservative policies. For example, the core problem with out-of-control entitlements is not that they are costly—it is that the impending insolvency of Social Security and Medicare imperils the social safety net for the neediest citizens. Education innovation and school choice are not needed to fight rapacious unions and bureaucrats—too often the most prominent focus of conservative education concerns—but because poor children and their parents deserve better schools.
Defending a healthy culture of family, community and work does not mean imposing an alien “bourgeois” morality on others. It is to recognize what people need to be happy and successful—and what is most missing today in the lives of too many poor people.
Read the whole thing. I don’t think I’ve read a better post-election analysis.
HT: Mindy Belz