GOP ‘Election Autopsy’ of 2012 … Did They Live Up To It in 2016?

GOP elephants fighting

After Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s devastating loss in 2012, the GOP looked inward and came up with an honest critique of what the party needed to do to move forward into 2016 and beyond. The critique was commonly known as the 2012 election autopsy that suggested a kinder and more compassionate party was needed — a party that was more inclusive of minorities and women and young people.

Talking Points Memo broke it down into six main highlights:

1. Pass Immigration Reform Yesterday

… the party’s standing with Latino voters has gotten so dangerously low that the RNC’s report openly begs Republicans to change their position in defiance of the party’s own 2012 platform.

2. Listen To Minorities

Much of the report is about encouraging Republicans to listen not just to Republican minorities, but to reach out to black, Hispanic, and Asian American voters in their own communities. The reason: arithmetic.

3. Gays Aren’t Going Away

It’s not a coincidence that more Republicans are endorsing gay marriage: gay rights has gone from a wedge issue against Democrats in 2004 to a topic President Obama actively highlighted in his 2012 campaign.

The RNC’s report doesn’t come out for marriage equality, but it warns that the party needs to move left on gay issues, not so much because gays are an important voting bloc, but because intolerance scares off other groups of voters, too.

“Already, there is a generational difference within the conservative movement about issues involving the treatment and the rights of gays — and for many younger voters, these issues are a gateway into whether the Party is a place they want to be,” the report reads.

4. Epistemic Closure Is Real

There’s been a long running debate on the intellectual right about whether the GOP suffers from “epistemic closure,” a condition in which conservatives block out all dissenting voices until eventually their own arguments sound nonsensical to anyone who doesn’t already agree with them. The RNC report concludes this is a real and growing problem.

5. Look To The States

The RNC report makes a careful distinction between federal Republicans — bad! — and state Republicans — good! The GOP currently holds 30 governorships and many of them, like Chris Christie in New Jersey and John Kasich in Ohio, have been both moving to the center and gaining in popularity recently. They stand in stark contrast to House Republicans, who have more conservative constituencies and typically have been more inflexible in their views.

6. Stop Being The Rich Guys

Less than year after nominating a millionaire investor who proclaimed that “corporations are people,” the RNC is concerned that the party has become too closely tied with wealthy interests.

Looking at these six points, how did the GOP do in 2016 in fulfilling its 2012 critique of itself?

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