Last night I went to bed by 11:15 PM. Once Romney lost Ohio, there was no point remaining up. I was tired and the Presidential election was officially lost at that point. With the election now behind me, we can move forward and we as conservatives have a few things I know that I learned last night.
1. Voters need to be forced to pay attention to ballot initiatives - Look at the results from Questions 1 through 3, the questions no one talked about. Overwhelmingly ridiculous margins in favor. Why? Did everyone honestly read what they did or understand fully the implications? Maybe, but more likely not. Apart from Questions 6 and 7, were voters really informed on these issues? On the fact that now Orphans Court judges are limited only to lawyers in PG and Baltimore County (Questions 1 & 2)? How about the fact that illegal immigrants are granted in-state tuition now, a privilege not granted to legal immigrants residing in this state. If you wanted real change - you needed to make sure every single voter had heard about your issue and even then, they may not vote the way you expect. I expected a close race, but after recent polling - I thought Question 7 was going to fail. I was mistaken. And seriously on Question 5 - anyone who sees our map knows it's awful. If you voted for it without looking at the Congressional map you did yourself and Maryland a disservice. The map is an embarrassment with districts of people who have no actual local connection forced into districts together.
2. We Need to Continue to Encourage our Bold Candidates - In 2012 we had some excellent, bold candidates running for office in some hard fought districts - including Dan Bongino running for US Senator statewide. We need to continue to encourage them. They proved they were excited and ready to take the battle to the enemy. They didn't win, but that doesn't mean the battle is over. Reagan ran for President in 1976, learned a lot in the primary before running and winning in 1980. I hope Bongino continues to be involved in Republican politics. He currently resides in Anne Arundel County - which has a crummy Republican County Executive who it might be worth replacing with a young, business owner who dedicated a good chunk of his life to helping maintain and protecting American freedom. Just saying. Ken Timmerman ran a spirited campaign and with better fundraising efforts could have been a contender. Van Hollen's district is a potential future swing district with the right candidate - mark my words.
3. The More Things Change - The status quo remains nationwide. The GOP controls the House, the Democrats control the White House & US Senate. The GOP also retains the majority of Governorships in this country. Not much has changed from before election day except our commercials will go back to people trying to sell us stuff instead of selling us on the awfulness of their opponent.
4. There is New Hope for Conservatism - Some exciting faces rose to some serious positions in this election cycle. Mike Pence is now the Governor-elect of Indiana which, for me, is exciting. Ted Cruz and Deb Fischer won some hard fought elections in Texas and Nebraska. Some good people won and some good people also learned what it's like to be in the rigors of a serious campaign, lessons they'll take when they come back and win in 2014.
5. Language Matters - It's not just your stance on the issues that matter - but how you frame the debate. We had a number of pro-life candidates this cycle who could not talk on the issue without getting bashed. We had gay marriage on the ballot here in Maryland and those like myself who opposed it were made out to be bigots. Here's a hint - we're not. How you address these issues matter. We need to talk about reducing the number of abortions performed in America, not just saying - "we need to ban them all now." Well, that would be great, but we need to focus first on the reduction. When talking about parental notification one can say, "Look, take away all the stigma, take away everything except for the simple fact that this is a medical procedure either surgical or requiring drugs which is being administered to a child without the consent or notification of their parents. This is a problem which needs to be remedied." You need to frame the debate in such a way that it makes sense to the non-political and people in the middle. Also, you can not let the opposition define the language. Saying "marriage equality" instead of "gay marriage" or "same-sex marriage" is deliberate to convince you opposing them is to oppose equality. Referring to expansion of gambling in Maryland as "gaming expansion" was deliberate wording to make it sound more palatable. Language matters.
6. The Lord is Sovereign - No matter what happened last night I am comforted by one simple fact - the Lord is in charge. He is sovereign and He is in control. He gives us these opportunities on this Earth to do things for His will and, whether we do or not, He uses it. Whether we listen to Him or not, He uses it. So, no matter the outcome - God is still good. He was, is, and always will be good and in charge. I take comfort in that simple truth.