By Yaël Ossowski | Florida Watchdog

ST. PETERSBURG — Devotees of the Republican Party will spend the next several months testing various theories of why their candidate Mitt Romney lost to incumbent President Barack Obama in the 2012 general election.

Inevitably, some of the blame will be placed upon formerNew Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party candidate who pulled close to 50,000 votes inOhio, nearly 40,000 in Florida, more than 30,000 votes in Colorado and 1 percent nationally.

The mantra coming from Republican spin doctors will be that young libertarians played “spoiler” to Romney, putting concerns about civil and social liberties above the need to “fire” Obama and put an economic conservative in charge.

Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly, on the other hand, categorizes the GOP loss by way of demographics, openly lamenting that the “white establishment is now the minority” and blaming Hispanics and blacks who voted for Obama because they “just want stuff.”

Other sore loser theories will focus on mother nature, specifically the arrival ofHurricane Sandy right before Election Day.

“If you hadn’t had the storm, there would have been more of a chance for the Romney campaign to talk about the deficit, the debt, the economy,” said GOP strategist Karl Rove, adding that people were “preoccupied by issues of getting food to eat and having a roof over their heads” and couldn’t hear Romney’s message.

The better analyses, however, will come from those arguing for a shift in the GOP’s platform and focus.

Playing to this tune, the Daily Caller’s Matt Lewis underscores the need for appealing to the young, urban “cosmopolitan conservatives,” while the Guardian’s James Antles said “minor shifts” in Republicans’ immigration policy would be enough to capture Hispanics and ensure future GOP victories.

But these claims are not sufficient to understanding the problem or even uncovering the solution. This election was not lost because of people or groups, but rather because of bad ideas.

The Republicans were quite smart to begin their campaign reinforcing economic policies and debt, but their neglect of social liberty was enough to turn a lot of potential sympathizers away.

As soon as rape and abortion were brought into the campaign, people became convinced that Republicans were ready to shut down abortion centers and take away birth control for women, a genius ploy by the Obama campaign strategists and advisers.

In effect, the Democrats banked on institutional ignorance and fear, realizing the impossibility of overturning the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision by way of a constitutional amendment but still hoping to scare ordinary voters into putting social concerns above all else.

The same goes for marriage equality.

The GOP’s insistence on pushing for marriage proved enough to allow opponents to claim an “anti-gay” agenda, seemingly in contravention to growing American tolerance to same-sex relationships.

In the past two years alone, the majority of public opinion on same-sex marriage has shifted to outright favor, 54 percent to 42 percent, according to a June CNN poll.

In state elections, social liberty and tolerance was exactly what voters decided to adopt when questioned at the ballot box.

In MaineWashington and Maryland, same-sex marriage was either upheld or legalized, while Minnesota rejected a constitutional ban, which would have restricted marriage to straight couples.

Outright legalization of marijuana was passed in Washington and Colorado, while medicinal marijuana was approved by voters in Massachusetts, signalling the beginning of the end to cannabis prohibition and an uncertain future for America’s persistent “War on Drugs.”

On immigration, the GOP lost the momentum earned by President George W. Bush’s appeal and reform throughout the past decade, ceding the advantage to Obama’s tacit procedural discretion directive in June, which stops deportations for low-priority undocumented immigrants.

This decision was supported by 64 percent of the American public, according to a Bloomberg poll.

Restricting social liberties, like gay marriage, possession of marijuana, free immigration and abortion rights, is not tolerated by the majority of American people, as the election results demonstrate.

In order for a real conversation on debt, deficits and bailout economics to take hold in the U.S., these social questions must be settled or relegated to private households.

Social liberty and tolerance must not only be embraced, but actively championed by the GOP. That would be in line with their projected belief in “individual liberty.”

Otherwise, the Republican Party faces many more calculated nights of defeat at the hands of those who better know how to appeal to the masses.

Read more: