GOP Problems More Than Mourdock, Romney
Most focus on the election results have been on the Presidential race nationally. We held the House, which is somewhat gerrymandered and where Republicans were in a large majority so only lost 2 seats (it was a good year for incumbents everywhere). But the other national dominated races (not local issues like gubernatorial, county or state legislative races) are for US Senate. Control was at stake. Democrats had by far the most seats to defend. In the next four years (one-third of the Senate is up every 2 years versus 100% of congressmen) we will likely gain little.
Election day Republicans got shellacked worse than we did for President. In other words, the loss was not Romney. He actually led the ticket for national-dominated races. While a winner would have helped more, at some point conservatives and other Republicans have to come to grips with what is happening or the trend line will worsen.
President: Clinton in 1992 and 1996, close Bush 43 wins in 2000 and 2004, Obama wins in 2008 and 2012.
We have not won the majority in the Senate since 2006 and unlikely to have another good chance until 2016 (maybe 2018).
We do best in off-year elections for the House of Representatives (1994 and 2010) when Republicans are upset, Democrats not turning out as much as for Presidential years. (2014 should be a good year for House Republicans with Dems having President and Senate, so any blame is theirs.
Look at these stunning Senatorial race facts.
33 races: Democrats won 25, Republicans 8.
Only three non-incumbent Republicans won, all in states Romney won: Arizona, Nebraska and Texas. (One was a woman - Nebraska- and one Hispanic - Texas.)
In states that Romney won, not a single non-incumbent received more votes than Romney.
Let me repeat that, if the state voted Republican for President, not a single non-incumbent Senate candidate ran better than Romney. Mourdock was the rule, not the exception. That included the more conservative candidates who won primaries and the more moderate Republican candidates who defeated conservatives. Didn't matter.
The average margin of defeat in Republican states for our non-incumbent challengers was 8.6% which includes 3 winning candidates. Mourdock did about as well as the others. Hmm. Another 1.4% would have still been a loss.
Some conservatives are saying that every one of these candidates was flawed. Hmm. 100%? They all won primaries: is the proposal to have a room of "wise Republicans" pick the candidates? Who will be the "wise ones" to do so? Every candidate is flawed, once millions are thrown at them. And most of these candidates flaws were identified by fellow Republicans in the primary competition (like Lugar did to Mourdock) making it easy to re-enforce.
We have some deep problems, and demographics on female and minority voting are not breaking our way.
I do not believe that you change core principles. But we need more real discussion about the challenges ahead, not just simplistic slogans or we are in for a long, FDR type domination. Our nation cannot afford that in economic policy, foreign policy or social policy. Get real or get clobbered again.
This election was NOT a cliff-hanger. Conditions for takeover were about as good as it can get. We blew it.