What went wrong for McCain?
McCain's life has been defined by tight squeezes. But with two-thirds of voters saying the economy was their top issue, inevitably being the final nail in his political coffin, not even his bold, slightly crazy moves could save the Republicans campaign. Because of his military experience, he symbolized the claim that he could be trusted on issues of national security, but most of the country is tired of the Iraq war and especially the possibility of being over there for 100 years.
His reputation as being an independent maverick was tested when he changed his mind on oil drilling, picked a very conservative vice president, and embraced President Bush's tax cuts that he had earlier opposed. All to try and win over traditional Republicans. Is it any wonder Obama compared him so much to Bush?
The problem with this tactic is evident on the map above. The moderates and independents who initially liked him, were turned off by this move to the extreme right. This prompted the Daily Show to describe his transformation from a "maverick reformer" to a "reformed maverick."
This plan backfired in that the youth and Hispanic vote leaned heavily towards Obama. Why? Because the demographics of the country are changing. If I was a staunch Republican, I'd be worried. Times are not what they were in the early 1980's. Like how Reagan energized a generation of younger voters, who for decades now have dominated the political landscape, so will the young Obama voters do the same for hopefully decades more. So in other words, what was once red, may now be purple and at some point, maybe blue.
The older Republicans say a return to the old conservative way is the answer to revitalize the party. To get back to the basics of long ago. Embracing someone like Palin galvanizes the super conservative base, but does nothing to bring in moderates or independents, a base they need to win. That's a backward way of thinking. Times are different now. They must move forward and evolve, as much as they hate that word. I've talked with several Republicans who have admitted to not being as conservative as their parents. As a Democrat I would say it's the same for me.
A generation of young people just elected a black man to president of the United States! Times are changing. How do we keep moving forward? It's not by embracing the past. How about with two women on the next presidential ticket. I would look forward immensely to Hillary Clinton squashing Sarah Palin like a bug! (I am a bug lover after all.)