There is much talk about the 2016 presidential race. Much of that talk on the Right has been a clattering of opinions between those who feel that a more moderate candidate like Jeb Bush has a better chance of winning, and those who opt for a more conservative nominee like Ted Cruz. I only mention those two men because they are the bookends of the Republican field, from the most Left-leaning to the most Right-leaning.
The Republican base has been very frustrated as of late in national elections, but have made gains in both mid-term elections of the Obama era. Six years ago President Obama enjoyed Democrat control of both the House of Representatives and the United States Senate. In the span of two mid-term contests the Republicans have taken control, not only of those two national bodies, but many governorships and states legislatures.
But have the Republicans' presidential losses as of late been due to the weakness of their candidates, or how they campaigned. John McCain, while he was not a particularly strong candidate should have had a better showing against the virtually unknown Barack Obama. And Mitt Romney should have easily unseated the incumbent president, after four years of a worsening economy, foreign affairs disasters like Benghazi, and domestic scandals like Solendra and Fast and Furious. After all, Barack Obama was the first president in history to preside over a downgrade of the nation's credit worthiness, and a weaker job market than when he took office.
All of the above aside, I think the reason Republicans lose presidential elections is that they allow their political opposition to define them rather than defining themselves. The Obama campaign defined John McCain as being out-of-touch and feeble-minded. He proved it by not having a strong conservative approach to the financial crisis. Barack Obama did not have a clear response either, but he did not need one. His party not having been in power during the collapse, he could sit back silently and advantage himself with the ineptness of Senator McCain's response.
The 2012 contest between President Obama and Mitt Romney saw much the same approach from the Obama campaign that worked so well in 2008. His campaign drew a picture of Mitt Romney as an elitist billionaire who had contempt for the common man. Even though the Obama campaign benefitted from money donated by 2/3 of Wall St. firms and PACs that were funded by billionaires like George Soros. And the glimmer of hope for conservatives that was provided by Mitt Romney in the first presidential debate quickly faded to political horror when he refused to mount an all out assault on the president for Benghazi and other examples of his incompetence.
If Republicans have any chance of winning the presidency in 2016 they must clearly articulate who they are and what conservatism is. They must not allow the Democrats to define them and make them unpalatable to not only moderate voters, but the conservative base of the Party. The Republicans need to acquire the marketing skills of the Democrat Party. The Democrats have been able to sell the American voters on rotting meat package in an appealing package while the Republicans have had filet mignon wrapped in a dirty old tarp.