There have been a few tweets the last couple of days speculating that in the event of a Romney loss, the Republicans will offer a new narrative. Most recently, this comes from Ben Smith at BuzzFeed, “Top Republicans are already hinting that if Romney loses, his people will blame the storm for stalling his momentum.” It goes like this: After the first debate, Romney’s campaign went into high gear. They were charging the finish line. They had momentum. They were going to win! But… The Hurricane. It destroyed Romney’s chances.
I don’t suppose this matters. If Romney loses, it will not cause the Republicans to admit that maybe their policies really are toxic. I think there is an important 47% in this country, but they aren’t the people who pay no federal income taxes. Instead, they are the people who find modern Republican values so vile they won’t vote for them regardless. (The number for Democrats is much lower: more like 35%.) That isn’t a lot of turf to fight over.
Before the hurricane, the narrative was going to be that Romney was too liberal. As Ann Coulter said, “If we don’t run Chris Christie, Romney will be the nominee, and we’ll lose.” The tendency among revolutionary movements is to treat losses as opportunities to purify. So the new narrative at least isn’t explicitly calling for more conservatism.
Regardless of the narrative the Republicans pick, the only way we can get them to move to the center is by defeating them in 2014. They have stayed alive (and even thrived) on the carcass of a broken electorate that just doesn’t show up for these off-year elections. If everyone voted, the United States would be a very blue country. So we need to spend the next two years convincing people that they must vote. Our very lives depend upon it.