Several Republicans and many political analysts believe that the party lost gettable Senate seats from Indiana and Missouri because of language on abortion and rape from the Republican candidates in those races.
Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri, who was considered among the most vulnerable Democratic incumbents in the Senate, defeated Republican Rep. Todd Akin, who spurred controversy this summer when he said that women rarely got pregnant in the case of “legitimate rape.”
In Indiana, Republicans put a safe seat in jeopardy by ousting longtime Sen. Richard Lugar in a primary and nominating tea party favorite Richard Mourdock. Mourdock was neck and neck with the Democrat for the fall election, then fell behind when he defended his opposition to abortion in cases of rape because he believed that life created even in rape was an act of God. He lost.
“This has to be more about how we appeal to the American people, not how we appeal to the party base,” Robinson said. “The agenda will have to help up us reconnect with the American people.”
One thing all factions within the Republican Party seem to agree on is the need to reach Hispanics. Obama captured 71 percent of the Latino vote to Romney’s 27 percent. Ironically, Romney warned in a secretly recorded video shot at a Boca Raton fundraiser that Republicans have to do something to get Hispanics into the party fold.
“We’re having a much harder time with Hispanic voters,” Romney said in the video, which was released by Mother Jones magazine. “And if the Hispanic voting bloc becomes as committed to the Democrats as the African-American voting bloc has in the past, well, we’re in trouble as a party and, I think, as a nation.”
A Republican outreach effort could include a serious bipartisan effort to pass comprehensive immigration legislation, something that Republicans helped scuttle during George W. Bush’s presidency and balked at under Obama.
“It’s kind of a threshold issue,” said Jeffrey Bell, a conservative consultant and author. “It isn’t the only thing that Hispanic voters care about, but if they think the Republican Party is not welcoming towards them, it’s hard to get their attention on anything else.”
However, Robinson believes that Republicans, in their post-election blues, aren’t ready to deal with the immigration issue.
“We’ve got to get ourselves straight first,” he said.