Imagine you’re a Republican who saw Barack Obama’s 2008 victory as an opportunity for the GOP to re-examine its priorities. The Iraq War and the financial crisis had contributed to a stunning rebuke from voters, and it seemed as though Democrats could be in power for a generation. Now was the time for the Republican Party to reinvent itself, ideally by doing more to advance the interests of working-class families.
Scott Brown won a special election in Massachusetts, and Republicans retook the House in 2010. Never mind. We’re good. Nothing has to change.
Then Mitt Romney lost the 2012 presidential election, in part because the domestic agenda advanced by Romney’s running mate Paul Ryan proved less than inspiring. It turns out voters aren’t pumped about the idea of rolling back funding for nursing homes. Looks like we’ll have to go back to the drawing board after all. One possibility: Keep the exact same policies but translate them into Spanish. Another: Maybe do more for nonrich people.