Let's Make Sure We're Gazing At The Right Part Of The Navel
After campaign losses, there's a rush to assign blame for what happened. The smart people are the ones who rush into the debate ready with a persuasive case that their pet issue or identity group is the key to understanding the result.
The most hilarious version of this yesterday was when people tried to assign blame to the social conservatives -- the group that had largely been kept quiet by the Romney campaign in favor of campaign manager Stuart Stevens' belief that the "economy" message would win a presidency. If you're going after social cons on a year like this, you are probably just showing your bias against social cons -- not that libertarians aren't great at winning elections and therefore the most sought after in the land for election advice.
(Here's a chart showing, by the way, how conservative positions on social issues outperformed Romney.)
Anyway, while the mainstream media continued to push its meme regarding the "war on women" as a reason for the loss, other groups identified Romney's poor performance among Hispanics. And it really was absolutely dismal.
But let's be careful that we don't hang on our pet issues at the expense of having a broader view of the problem. Just by way of example, Richard Starr at the Weekly Standard was perusing the New York Times exit poll data and noticed that Obama took 62% of the non-married vote. He writes (on Twitter):
I see that "unmarrieds" now 40 percent of voters, up from 34 percent in 2008. Obama's share was +27
"Unmarrieds" as a group are four times the size of Hispanics and growing faster. Why are latter getting four times the attention?
Seems like a bigger problem for GOP, unless marriage rates suddenly reverse.
Unmarried people tend to be younger, less religious and more sexually libertine than others.
Sexual libertinism is a major American cultural value. Americans are willing to do anything to retain it, including subsidize the wreckage (single motherhood, absentee fathers, child delinquency, poverty, literacy problems, etc.) in exchange for the right to have sex whenever and with whomever we want.
How do conservatives reach out to this group, which is growing and will undoubtedly grow all the more as the institution of marriage is further eroded among the poor and middle class?
Picture of young sportswoman via Shutterstock.