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By Jan C. Ting

Why were Republicans surprised by their election losses? What should they do now?

A lot of Republicans seemed genuinely surprised that they lost, that Mitt Romney was defeated by President Obama, and that Republicans lost seats in both the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives. Republicans were both stunned and shocked. They actually thought they were going to win!

How could they have believed they were going to win? Scientific polling offered by Nate Silver of the New York Times, the Pew Research Center, and others showed with granular clarity that President Obama had maintained his narrow national lead, and had a high probability of success in most of the swing states.

Throughout the campaign, Republicans had criticized as flawed or biased any polling showing Mitt Romney trailing President Obama. But the recent track record for polling has been very good, which is why campaigns study polls.

What critics of polling fail to understand is that polling is a science. That's not the same thing as saying that polling, or any other science, is the absolute truth or is always going to be correct. It just means that polling uses a scientific methodology to figure out what works and what fails to work in predicting outcomes.

It's true that every polling sample is by definition too small. But by aggregating the results of different polls, a larger and more accurate sample can be assembled. It's also true that every poll is flawed in some way. But again, by aggregating different polls, and adjusting for known variables, those flaws can be minimized.

It is perhaps predictable that those who deny and criticize the science of climate change would also deny and criticize the science of polling, which this year again accurately predicted the election results.

Republicans lost, and will continue to lose, until they recognize demographic trends, and adjust their unpopular ideas accordingly. If only the 19th Amendment to the Constitution could have been repealed and American women disenfranchised, Mitt Romney would be the president-elect. If only young voters, however defined, could have been disenfranchised, Mitt Romney would be the president-elect. If only lower-income voters, however defined, could have been disenfranchised, Mitt Romney would be the president-elect. If only minority voters could have been disenfranchised, and only white Americans allowed to vote, Mitt Romney would be president-elect.

How can Republicans appeal to the growing demographics of women, younger generations, lower-income voters, and minorities?

First, stop threatening to repeal the Roe v. Wade decision recognizing reproductive rights. Everyone is entitled to his or her personal or religious view of the morality of abortion. But Republicans should stop trying to legally impose their views on Americans with a different point of view on reproductive rights.

Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican Party, has proclaimed his party "proudly pro-life". In that context, the anti-abortion--with no exception for rape--statements of failed Senate candidates Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock were not extreme statements at all. They were the logical conclusions of believing that human life begins and must be protected from conception. They were mainstream beliefs of the pro-life movement and its political arm, the Republican Party, though not of the demographics Republicans need to court.

Same thing with same-sex marriage. Again, everyone gets his or her own opinion on the propriety of same-sex marriage. But no one should try to impose his or her personal views on others to deny them equal rights. Younger voters in particular understand this.

Republican candidates and elected officials should stop signing written pledges to outside lobbyists like Grover Norquist, giving up their power to cast independent votes in the best interests of their constituents and the country as they may determine at the time of any vote.

Republicans can and should play a positive role in questioning and challenging excessive and unnecessary government spending, including defense spending.

Republicans should clearly oppose President Obama's plan for a big immigration amnesty which past experience shows only leads to more and faster illegal immigration. But they should stop blaming the illegal immigrants themselves for responding predictably to the promise of past and future amnesties and the failure to enforce our immigration laws.

Republicans should explain that the only alternative to unlimited immigration is setting and enforcing numerical limits. Pretending we have numerical limits but not enforcing them, as President Obama proposes, and instead giving amnesty to all who violate our laws, is not a serious or practical alternative.

Shipping American jobs overseas to be done by cheaper foreign workers is predictably condemned. Importing unlimited foreign workers to compete for those jobs in America should be equally objectionable to American voters.

Via Brandywine to Broad

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Why were Republicans surprised by their election losses? What should they do now?

A lot of Republicans seemed genuinely surprised that they lost, that Mitt Romney was defeated by President Obama, and that Republicans lost seats in both the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives. Republicans were both stunned and shocked. They actually thought they were going to win!

How could they have believed they were going to win? Scientific polling offered by Nate Silver of the New York Times, the Pew Research Center, and others showed with granular clarity that President Obama had maintained his narrow national lead, and had a high probability of success in most of the swing states.

Throughout the campaign, Republicans had criticized as flawed or biased any polling showing Mitt Romney trailing President Obama. But the recent track record for polling has been very good, which is why campaigns study polls.

What critics of polling fail to understand is that polling is a science. That's not the same thing as saying that polling, or any other science, is the absolute truth or is always going to be correct. It just means that polling uses a scientific methodology to figure out what works and what fails to work in predicting outcomes.

It's true that every polling sample is by definition too small. But by aggregating the results of different polls, a larger and more accurate sample can be assembled. It's also true that every poll is flawed in some way. But again, by aggregating different polls, and adjusting for known variables, those flaws can be minimized.

It is perhaps predictable that those who deny and criticize the science of climate change would also deny and criticize the science of polling, which this year again accurately predicted the election results.

Republicans lost, and will continue to lose, until they recognize demographic trends, and adjust their unpopular ideas accordingly. If only the 19th Amendment to the Constitution could have been repealed and American women disenfranchised, Mitt Romney would be the president-elect. If only young voters, however defined, could have been disenfranchised, Mitt Romney would be the president-elect. If only lower-income voters, however defined, could have been disenfranchised, Mitt Romney would be the president-elect. If only minority voters could have been disenfranchised, and only white Americans allowed to vote, Mitt Romney would be president-elect.

How can Republicans appeal to the growing demographics of women, younger generations, lower-income voters, and minorities?

First, stop threatening to repeal the Roe v. Wade decision recognizing reproductive rights. Everyone is entitled to his or her personal or religious view of the morality of abortion. But Republicans should stop trying to legally impose their views on Americans with a different point of view on reproductive rights.

Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican Party, has proclaimed his party "proudly pro-life". In that context, the anti-abortion--with no exception for rape--statements of failed Senate candidates Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock were not extreme statements at all. They were the logical conclusions of believing that human life begins and must be protected from conception. They were mainstream beliefs of the pro-life movement and its political arm, the Republican Party, though not of the demographics Republicans need to court.

Same thing with same-sex marriage. Again, everyone gets his or her own opinion on the propriety of same-sex marriage. But no one should try to impose his or her personal views on others to deny them equal rights. Younger voters in particular understand this.

Republican candidates and elected officials should stop signing written pledges to outside lobbyists like Grover Norquist, giving up their power to cast independent votes in the best interests of their constituents and the country as they may determine at the time of any vote.

Republicans can and should play a positive role in questioning and challenging excessive and unnecessary government spending, including defense spending.

Republicans should clearly oppose President Obama's plan for a big immigration amnesty which past experience shows only leads to more and faster illegal immigration. But they should stop blaming the illegal immigrants themselves for responding predictably to the promise of past and future amnesties and the failure to enforce our immigration laws.

Republicans should explain that the only alternative to unlimited immigration is setting and enforcing numerical limits. Pretending we have numerical limits but not enforcing them, as President Obama proposes, and instead giving amnesty to all who violate our laws, is not a serious or practical alternative.

Shipping American jobs overseas to be done by cheaper foreign workers is predictably condemned. Importing unlimited foreign workers to compete for those jobs in America should be equally objectionable to American voters.

Via Brandywine to Broad

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Election eve predictions on Pennsylvania and New Jersey races

I'm a great believer in coattails. In a presidential election year, candidates in down ballot races get caught in the draught of the presidential race, for better or for worse. This year, especially in Pennsylvania, enthusiasm is running high for both presidential campaigns, which complicates in particular the U.S. Senate race between Senator Bob Casey and Republican challenger Tom Smith.

Tom Smith, by investing his own fortune in his campaign, has shown surprising strength against the incumbent, and has benefited from the revived Romney campaign interest and spending in Pennsylvania. But in the end, I still think President Obama will carry Pennsylvania, and Senator Bob Casey will be a beneficiary of that win.

President Obama will carry New Jersey by a larger margin than Pennsylvania, so Democratic U.S. Senator Bob Menendez can expect a comfortable victory over Republican challenger Joe Kyrillos.

The Pennsylvania Attorney General race between Democrat Kathleen Kane and Republican David Freed has been hot and bitter. But an Obama victory in Pennsylvania should mean a victory for Kane, who also benefits from the checks-and-balances idea that the Attorney General should be from a different political party than the Governor.

In Pennsylvania's 6th congressional district, incumbent Republican Jim Gerlach has survived tough and close challenges. But thanks to redistricting after the 2010 census, he now finds himself in a more Republican, if oddly shaped, new district, and should again be able to defeat his 2010 Democratic challenger Iraq war veteran and physician Manan Trivedi.

In Pennsylvania's 8th congressional district, Republican incumbent Mike Fitzpatrick has been resisting a tough challenge from Democratic lawyer Kathy Boockvar. Boockvar has a shot if President Obama carries the Bucks County district, which he probably will. This one is too close to call, but I'll make one prediction: Mike Fitzpatrick will have a tougher time beating Kathy Boockvar in a presidential election year than he had two years ago when he defeated Democratic Congressman Patrick Murphy in a Republican surge in a non-presidential election.

In New Jersey's historically Republican 3rd congressional district, the former Eagles football player Jon Runyan seems likely to win re-election over Democratic challenger Shelley Adler, widow of one-term Democratic Congressman John Adler, whom Runyan defeated and replaced two years ago. Lawyer Shelley Adler has raised a million dollars to seriously challenge the incumbent. But Runyan benefits from reapportionment which has made the district more Republican.

Via Brandywine to Broad

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Election eve predictions on Pennsylvania and New Jersey races

I'm a great believer in coattails. In a presidential election year, candidates in down ballot races get caught in the draught of the presidential race, for better or for worse. This year, especially in Pennsylvania, enthusiasm is running high for both presidential campaigns, which complicates in particular the U.S. Senate race between Senator Bob Casey and Republican challenger Tom Smith.

Tom Smith, by investing his own fortune in his campaign, has shown surprising strength against the incumbent, and has benefited from the revived Romney campaign interest and spending in Pennsylvania. But in the end, I still think President Obama will carry Pennsylvania, and Senator Bob Casey will be a beneficiary of that win.

President Obama will carry New Jersey by a larger margin than Pennsylvania, so Democratic U.S. Senator Bob Menendez can expect a comfortable victory over Republican challenger Joe Kyrillos.

The Pennsylvania Attorney General race between Democrat Kathleen Kane and Republican David Freed has been hot and bitter. But an Obama victory in Pennsylvania should mean a victory for Kane, who also benefits from the checks-and-balances idea that the Attorney General should be from a different political party than the Governor.

In Pennsylvania's 6th congressional district, incumbent Republican Jim Gerlach has survived tough and close challenges. But thanks to redistricting after the 2010 census, he now finds himself in a more Republican, if oddly shaped, new district, and should again be able to defeat his 2010 Democratic challenger Iraq war veteran and physician Manan Trivedi.

In Pennsylvania's 8th congressional district, Republican incumbent Mike Fitzpatrick has been resisting a tough challenge from Democratic lawyer Kathy Boockvar. Boockvar has a shot if President Obama carries the Bucks County district, which he probably will. This one is too close to call, but I'll make one prediction: Mike Fitzpatrick will have a tougher time beating Kathy Boockvar in a presidential election year than he had two years ago when he defeated Democratic Congressman Patrick Murphy in a Republican surge in a non-presidential election.

In New Jersey's historically Republican 3rd congressional district, the former Eagles football player Jon Runyan seems likely to win re-election over Democratic challenger Shelley Adler, widow of one-term Democratic Congressman John Adler, whom Runyan defeated and replaced two years ago. Lawyer Shelley Adler has raised a million dollars to seriously challenge the incumbent. But Runyan benefits from reapportionment which has made the district more Republican.

Via Brandywine to Broad

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Mitt Romney and Hurricane Sandy

Although my neighborhood in northern Delaware was right in the projected bull's eye for Hurricane Sandy, we came out of it with just two power outages, each of less than one day, and a few wet basements. Coastal residents of Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and other states were not so fortunate, victims of historic and unprecedented storm surges of sea water.

The nation has been shocked by the death and devastation wrought by Hurricane Sandy, and inspired by the heroism of the nation's first responders. President Obama has directed the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to insure that those first responders have the resources they need to bring relief to suffering Americans, for which he has been praised by both Republican and Democratic governors, including Republican Convention keynoter Chris Christie of New Jersey.

Mitt Romney told us what he thinks of FEMA back on June 13, 2011, when in response to a direct question about FEMA from CNN's John King who was moderating a Republican presidential primary debate, Romney said that FEMA's responsibilities should be removed from the federal government and transferred to the states, and that if they could be transferred "back to the private sector, that's even better."

When John King incredulously asked, "Including disaster relief?", Romney replied that, "We cannot afford to do those things without jeopardizing the future for our kids."

After Romney's improvised "storm relief" political event in Ohio on Tuesday, October 30, 2012, the press pool report for the event states, and video tape confirms, that Romney was asked at least five times if he would eliminate FEMA, but in each case refused to answer the question. At that event, Romney demonstrated his empathy by collecting canned goods for storm victims, and comparing disaster relief to volunteers picking up the litter from a football field.

Romney running mate Paul Ryan's budget proposal, which actually passed the Republican controlled House of Representatives, would only have cut 41% from the government function that includes FEMA and disaster relief. Would Ryan's political inspiration Ayn Rand, or Mitt Romney, have thought that cut sufficient?

Finally, Romney expressed his contempt for any concern over climate change in his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention in Tampa on August 30, 2012. In that speech, Romney mocked President Obama's stated concern over climate change and specifically rising sea levels.

Romney smiled as he said, "President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans..." At this point Romney paused for jeers and laughter from the partisan audience before continuing, "... and heal the planet." Even louder jeers and laughter. Romney smiled some more.

Romney liked that line so much that he repeated it on "Meet the Press" on September 9, 2012, when he said, "I'm not in this race to slow the rise of the oceans or to heal the planet." We should believe him.

Via Brandywine to Broad

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