Having just lost an election, many Republicans are anxious to remake our party in the image of Democrats. The theory seems to be that whatever we’re doing isn’t working, so we better change everything.
But in fact, whatever Republicans did in 2012 — other than an overly long primary fight — worked amazingly well, given the circumstances.
In a detailed analysis of the 2012 election, William A. Galston, a fellow with the liberal Brookings Institution, makes a number of fascinating observations that Republicans would do well to consider before embracing amnesty, abortion, gay marriage and Beyonce.
In my analysis of his analysis, the single most important factor in the election was simply that Obama was an incumbent. As Galston notes, beating an incumbent president is a feat that has happened only five times since the turn of the last century. Republicans have done it only once.
On closer examination, in all these cases the incumbent president faced a primary challenge. In three of the five, the incumbent also had a third-party challenger in the general election.