Alfonse D'Amato

How the Republican Party lost its way


In the weeks after the election, it will be easy to Monday-morning quarterback and ask, “What if?” Many people will blame Mitt Romney’s loss on Hurricane Sandy, and others on the candidate himself.

Neither was the deciding factor. The Republican Party lost its way.

I went into Election Day feeling confident in my party’s presidential candidate, but my perception of the electorate was clearly wrong. I’ve always considered myself a conservative Republican, on both social and fiscal issues. However, if I were running for U.S. Senate today, I would be a liberal compared with the extreme Tea Party groups.

Where did our party go wrong?

The political process is always changing, and with it, the platforms of our political parties change as well. The Republican Party built after World War II was the party of individual liberty and freedom. It encouraged an entrepreneur to start a business and create jobs. We were the party that stood for free markets and free people.

Politicians like George Wallace and George McGovern were in favor of using government to impose their values on the public. Wallace wanted to foist his racial and religious values on the rest of us, and McGovern wanted to impose his elitist left-wing views. The Republican Party that gave rise to Barry Goldwater believed strongly that there was too much government imposing too many values on too many people.

The theocrats were, at the time, in the Democratic Party, and those who believed that government should impose morality were Democrats.

Today, the born-again Christian movement that came to national prominence with the nomination of Jimmy Carter is now the movement that has taken over the Republican Party.

Romney lost the election because he allowed himself to become the candidate of the right instead of the moderate he really is.

Exit polls proved that the most important issue to voters was the economy, but they didn’t trust that Romney was the guy to help all people in all walks of life. Let’s face it: Romney is a successful entrepreneur, a multimillionaire. I don’t think the American people fully trusted that the Republican Party would help all people, and not just the rich.

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