I’ll have some more substantive analysis of my own in the next couple of days, but I wanted to share a couple of excellent posts on where we need to go as conservatives.
First, John Hawkins provides seven reasons why we can’t build the Republican Party around moderates. This was particularly insightful.
Additionally, because of the factors mentioned above, moderates tend to be extremely fickle voters. This time around, even rightward leaning moderates like Colin Powell, Christopher Buckley, & Ann Althouse defected over to the Obama campaign rather than vote for the most moderate GOP candidate since Richard Nixon. That’s why trying to build a coalition around moderates is like trying to build a castle on sand.
And Darwin Catholic offers some reflections on a defeat. I agree with pretty much everything, and his closing is especially important.
There is still a constituency (even in “blue” states) for social conservatism, but a significant number of those who hold traditional views on social issues are Hispanic or African American. The GOP would be especially wise to find a way to appeal to socially conservative Hispanics. The best way of doing this would probably be getting behind an agenda of massively simplifying the immigration process, increasing immigration quotas (especially for Central and South America), and at then enforcing the law rigorously.
Conservatives need to find a way to seem like they care (and the amounts of time and money conservatives put into social issues show that they do care) without advocating big government solutions to local problems. Bush simply went the big government route, with programs like No Child Left Behind and the Prescription Drug Benefit. What we need is instead an approach to a range of “safety net” issues which, like charter school and vouchers have done for education, can be a national issue yet a force towards localization.
I think it will be incredibly important for conservatives to figure out ways to appeal to the middle class without subscribing to Douthatism. That will be one of our core missions over the next couple of years.