As we move into 48 hours after November election, people’s heads are starting to come out of the fog and really look back at what has been one of the most raucous and monumental elections in recent history. Today as I unpacked my bags from my Vegas GOTV deployment, I really had a chance to take stock at what this election meant, for me and the country.
It’s clear that the major issue in this election was change – change in the economy, change in policy and in the posture that this nation takes towards itself and other nations.
Senator Obama’s election is truly a historic moment – as a person “of youth”, something like 66% of people who voted under 30 voted for the Senator from Illinois. In Los Angeles county, something like 82% of registered voters turned out at the polls – something totally awe inspiring for someone who traditionally sees turnout percentages in the 30’s.
One thing is clear, the Republicans were taken to task for failing to instill the reform they were originally elected to make. The era of the 1994 Republican Revolution is now dead.
So what does that mean? We’re now in uncharted waters. As a Republican fundraiser, media talking-head and strategist myself, I am looking around to see what might be in store for our Party, and I’m not really seeing anything I like. It’s the same old crowd vieing for control in the impending vacuum.
One of the mantras that I try to get my clients to believe in that this game is not about “thinking ahead of the curve”, it’s thinking “beyond” the curve. Really taking a sober look at what this country is about and the direction its heading, and then developing a plan that will use our principles of limited government, individual responsibility and rights to shape an agenda – and then following through with it.
The Republican Party doesn’t need to rebuild with remnants of the past…Reagan…Gingrich, etc. It’s time to use our principles (not “return to them”) to chart a new course for the Party and the conservative movement in this nation and then elect people who will adhere to that.
The question now remains who will those leaders be? How will the Party be funded, and how will the Party work with the new Administration to ensure that we don’t get steamrolled in the process? Good questions – and unfortunately I don’t have the answers yet.
As I’ve said before, change just for the sake of change is dangerous – but principled change can be one of the most important elements in engaging a new generation of conservatives that believe in our message, but not in our practice of them.
And that’s the biggest loss our Republican Party suffered in this election – we lost the trust of those who believe our message, but not in our execution. It will be our mission now to re-articulate those values, find people who truly represent them and provide a better plan than those who have just been elected to office.
The race for 2010 begins now – and there is not a day to waste.