When you lose something -- a wallet, an election, money, a lover -- you ask yourself this question: did I lose it, or was it stolen?
Last night, we lost. No one stole it from us. We lost it.
1. It goes without saying -- I hope -- that Barack Obama, as painful as it is to admit, is the President of the United States for the next four years. I wish him well. He's my president, too.
2. Let's face facts: Nate Silver, the polls, the "establishment media" -- they were all right. It wasn't about weighting or poll skewing. They were right. We engaged in wishful thinking. We were in a bubble. Last night, that bubble was popped. The major polls called it close, and it was close. Barack Obama won about one half of one percent more of the popular vote than Mitt Romney. But that was enough. Mitt Romney may have won the popular vote, but the Electoral College map tells a different story: it was about population-center votes, not about enthusiasm or which side was more energized. They outsmarted us. We outsmarted ourselves
3. Last night was a complete and systemic failure of the Republican party -- both at the national and the state level. The DC-based Republican establishment couldn't deliver a victory -- couldn't deliver Florida. The state-level Republican operation failed, too. For example: in Missouri, a state that should be solidly Republican, the state operation nominated an ill-prepared, out-of-touch clumsy gaffe-machine for the Senate -- Todd Akin. Romney carried the state. But Claire McCaskill won a major victory. We forced our side to split the ticket. We muddied our message. The Republican party failed.
4. More facts to face: the media is liberal. The news organizations are liberal. They protected their candidate. And it worked. But that's part of the hand that we conservatives have been dealt. That ain't gonna change. We need to figure out a way to win despite the fact that we're swimming upstream in the culture. Whining about it isn't going to get us to a solution.
5. Latinos and women voted big for the other side. Either we figure out a way to connect with those groups, or persuade them to our side, or we're going to be a very small part of the national political scene and getting smaller all the time.
6. Our side drinks too much Kool Aid. We watch Fox News and think we're winning the rest of the country. But Fox News is at most a 3 million viewer proposition. Last night, each side garnered about 48 million votes. Each side.
7. We can't rely on the establishment Republicans. We can't rely on Fox News. We can't rely on talk radio. We can only rely on ourselves. We need -- all of us, especially here on Ricochet -- to connect with each other, keep each other informed and energized, and persuade our neighbors and friends. We need to evangelize the rest of the country that doesn't agree with us. We need to win the country back.
8. We need to win the country back. Not take it back. Win it back through argument and engagement and debate. Win it back by articulating our key principles, persuading more Latinos and women to our side, and evangelizing the rest of the country.
9. Forgive me for this plug, but I really mean it: the conversations and engagement on Ricochet, and the passionate and articulate members here, are the future -- maybe the only future -- for our side.
10. If you're not a member of Ricochet, today is a very good day to join. The slow march back begins now. And it begins here.