Tuesday night’s election result has left conservatives (and reportedly Romney himself) shell-shocked, dumbfounded and a little traumatized by the seemingly gravity-defying political skills of President Barack Obama. Obama, who has won reelection to the office of president with the highest unemployment rate since Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and facing Carter-esque trends in terms of the United States’ strength abroad, was supposed to be the most vulnerable president in recent memory, and arguably the one whose opponents should have felt most confident about defeating — especially in the wake of a late campaign surge by Republican Mitt Romney after a decisive debate defeat for Obama.
Because of these trends, many Republicans and commentators (this author included) dismissed early warning signs that despite running a terrible campaign, Obama was still leading in the polls because of an increasingly Democratic electorate. Polling samples showing increased Democrat leads were denounced as the result of media-biased induced sampling errors, rather than genuinely frightening signs of danger. As a result, Obama eked out a sleeper victory, and many Republicans — confronted with the brutal reality that their victory was not so assured as possible — have since wondered what exactly went wrong.
As it turns out, a lot more than anyone could have seen coming went wrong, which is why so many on the Right are now talking of the need for a drastic retooling of conservative policy positions, while (in most cases) still defending root conservative principles. After all, without a winning coalition, ideologies inevitably end up on the ash heap of history. The following are seven reasons why Republicans should be worried about facing this potential electoral wipeout.