BRIAN MICKELSEN, Kennewick
In the months to come, the Republican Party will carefully consider what went awry in 2012. The lesson to be learned: The party can recapture the presidency by reinventing itself.
The nature of America's political process compels serious candidates to embrace hardline policy positions propagated by an ideological primary electorate. As the general election draws closer, candidates must then attempt to appeal to the broader general electorate.
During the primary, Mitt Romney adopted policies such as self-deportation and spouted other severe rhetoric that would significantly cut into his chances during the general election. He secured his party's nomination but at too high a cost.
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In the end, Romney and the Republican Party alienated too many female voters and African-American and Hispanic-American voters, causing Romney to lose the election. The very group adamant to dethrone Obama proved self-defeating. In the words of Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.), "If I hear anybody say we lost because Romney wasn't conservative enough I'm going to go nuts. We're not losing 95 percent of African-Americans and two-thirds of Hispanics and voters under 30 because we're not being hard-ass enough."
It is in the GOP's best interest to strike a balance between maintaining core principles and developing a message that will resonate with the broader electorate.