The post-election analysis of how the Republicans lost the election is driving me crazy. I've heard a number of discussions and read several articles and in every one, when Republicans are questioned about how they can do better next time, they completely avoid the real problems. Every time they say the same things: we have to appeal more to minorities and to women. But they ignore the obstacles to doing so: their party's racism and rigidly pro-life agenda.
In Charles Blow's analysis of exit polls and election results in the New York Times yesterday, he points out that the states that had the highest proportion of whites voting for Romney are the states with the highest population of blacks (e.g. Mississippi). Conversely, the states with the lowest populations of blacks had the highest percentage of whites voting for Obama (e.g. Maine, Iowa). I think the explanation is obvious. A lot of the people voting for Romney are threatened by a black President. But Republicans can't acknowledge that a large part of their appeal in the last few decades has been racism ('the Southern strategy'). Not to mention the rise of the Tea Party, which is almost explicitly racist, inspired as it was by opposition to Obama. Everyone knows this, but it can't be discussed openly. Black people know it too. Why would they vote for a racist party over the first African-American president? There's really no way for the GOP to undo the effects of decades of racism on their part.
When Republicans talk about appealing more to women, they mention women having more control over their bodies, etc. Well, I don't understand what that means in the context of a virulently anti-choice party. The GOP has been pro-life for decades now, even radically so (i.e. no abortion even in cases of rape). This past election cycle, they even challenged women's right to contraception (and by the way, I love how this is discussed as if it were only a women's issue when it profoundly effects men as well). The entire discussion was profoundly insulting to women and made us feel as if the GOP wants to take us back to the mid-20th century. So they expect women to just ignore this? Their candidate talked about women in the workplace as if it were some kind of aberration ("if women are going to be in the workplace..."). He refused to even embrace women's right to equal pay, instead implying that it should be left to the discretion of individual employers' largesse. This is ridiculous, in this day and age. I haven't heard Republicans say a single thing that seriously addresses their problems with women.
(As a footnote, apparently the majority of white women voted for Romney. So the problems aren't with white women as a group. Although I wonder if this would be the same if the Democratic candidate were white.)
Basically, the problem is with their policies and positions. Putting more minorities and women up for office would probably help somewhat, but that doesn't change the fact that the GOP has a history of appealing to racists and failing to acknowledge the actual role of women in the modern world.