"The color of the world is changing day by day." -- "Les Miserables," the musical
A look at the electoral map indicates the Republican Party won in square miles. Unfortunately for them, electoral votes, not landmass, won President Obama a second term. Analysis from the Center for Responsive Politics estimated that total spending on federal elections would peak at nearly $6 billion, an all-time record. This spending included ads that carpet bombed swing states; yet we are still an almost equally divided nation. But America is rapidly changing.
Historically, the losing party turns introspective and asks itself how to attract more voters. Some Republicans are suggesting that social issues be jettisoned and the GOP should become more like Democrats. Why, then, have two parties? Step one in a reform agenda would be to remove "old" from the GOP moniker.
Conservatives can adapt to the cultural shift without compromising their principles, or they can retreat into a bunker mentality, lobbing rhetorical ordnance from previous generations, which has little power to persuade young people today.
America is getting younger, but not wiser. We are increasingly secular, less interested in sacrifice and, apparently, we have more faith in government. I doubt that many people under 40 have ever served in the military, or even know anyone who has. The old "family values" appeal no longer works because for too many younger people the family they value doesn't resemble the one older Americans recognize.
And there's something else. The campaign against same-sex marriage is over. Maine, Maryland and Washington state became the first states to approve gay marriage by popular vote. Minnesota voters rejected a constitutional amendment to ban it. Six other states -- New York, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and the District of Columbia grant same-sex marriage licenses. The Supreme Court might soon hear arguments challenging the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as the legal union between one man and one woman. Conservatives might want to focus on strengthening their own marriages.
With Mitt Romney winning just 27 percent of the Hispanic vote, Republicans need a new strategy to attract Hispanics whose values mirror those held by conservatives.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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