With these elections still fresh, I suggest three tips to have in mind, if Republicans wish to stop losing presidential elections.
- Charisma matters: Obama did not win his reelection because of his plans for the future (none, except raising taxes) nor because of his accomplishments during his first term (again, zero). He was voted by so many people because he is "cool", charismatic, a good speaker, and - according to some people - he shows that he cares for the people and the poor (I would add that he cares so much that he made many more poor) As many others have also mentioned, he is "one of us". Image is very important. We know this since the famous Kennedy-Nixon debate, and it is more so in those days of celebrities, reality shows and media mania. Reagan once said that he could not imagine how you could be a president without being an actor. The role of an actor is to convince and to project a desired image or character. Obama is a very good actor in that sense, and Romney an awful one. He was probably the less charismatic of all the republican pre-candidates (this does not mean necessarily the worse). It is also evident that Romney cannot convince many people that he is "one of us" (it is fair to recognize that the Democrats and the media created a caricature out of Romney's wealth and career, but that was expected to happen). I wrote about all this back in January in an article titled "Why Romney can lose to Obama" (that you can find here). Next time, let's chose someone with charisma and appeal.
- Do not compromise in your principles: Many thought that only a "moderate" would win to Obama. Romney was as moderate as you can find them. On the other hand, Obama did not move to the center but, on the contrary, he campaigned from as far left as possible. I believe that people respect and want clear ideas. One thing on which Obama was partially right, was his criticism about Romney's changing or unexplained positions. He arguably tried to appeal to the center and he sugar-coated his message. This reached an extreme when in the third debate he chose not to mention Benghazi and he almost repeated verbatim Obama's foreign policy. Recalling the McCain - Obama final debates I also wrote in January that "at the end, they both seemed to be championing similar policies with just different degrees". This year's third debate was a deja vu. As Thomas Paine said, "Moderation in temper is always a virtue; but moderation in principle is always a vice". In the 2010 mid-term elections Republicans went bold, and they won big.
- Go for the minorities: With the changing demographics, the Republicans cannot pretend to win with the vote of mature white men and married women any longer. They need to talk to the minorities. In particular, I think they need to look for the Hispanic votes (Hispanics are social conservatives in their majority, and not particularly friendly to entitlements). For that reason, the next presidential candidate must be a representative of one of the (so called) minorities.
My choice and best guess for next Republican candidate: Marco Rubio. He is charismatic, young, solid in his principles, and obviously appealing to the Hispanic vote (and by the way to other minorities, that may currently resent the lack of representation in the Republican tickets). He would also neutralize some of the traditional talking point by the liberal media.