Editorial: GOP continues its dominance in Oklahoma
BY World's Editorial Writers
Thursday, November 08, 2012
11/08/12 at 3:53 AM
Oklahoma, the nation's reddest state four years ago, became, if anything, a little redder on Tuesday. But it may have lost its reddest-state title.
Oklahomans gave Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney 66.8 percent of the vote in Tuesday's general election. That was slightly more than the 65.6 percent it gave GOP candidate John McCain in 2008. That percentage was the greatest of any state. And, as was the case four years ago, every one of Oklahoma's 77 counties went for the Republican candidate.
Unofficially, Utah voted 70 percent and Wyoming 69.3 percent in favor of Romney, leaving Oklahoma third among the red states.
Elsewhere on the ballot Tuesday, Republicans maintained their grip on the state Legislature and made a clean sweep of the state's five seats in the U.S. Congress. Previously, one congressional seat, in District 2, was held by a Democrat, Dan Boren, who retired. On Tuesday, that seat was won handily by Republican Markwayne Mullin. In the only other open congressional seat, Jim Bridenstine, who upset incumbent John Sullivan in the Republican primary, easily defeated Democrat John Olson.
Although the Republican Party is firmly in command in Oklahoma, it has issues nationally.
President Barack Obama won another impressive victory in the Electoral College, garnering at least 303 votes (270 are needed for election) and winning the popular vote by more than 2.5 million votes.
Obama did that, for the most part, by holding together the coalition that carried him to the White House in 2008: women, blacks, Hispanics, Asians and young people. That suggests that the Republicans, if they wish to reclaim the White House, are going to have to offer something besides lip service to those groups. They are going to have to soften their intransigence on issues such as women's health and immigration.
Exit polls conducted by the major news organizations revealed that the economy was the No. 1 issue for the majority of voters and that by a slim margin they believed that Obama would do a better job with the economy than Romney.
The exit polls also revealed that by a wide majority, voters believe that illegal immigrants should be given some sort of legal status. That belief is counter to the Republican Party, or at least to the Republicans who dominate the party's primaries and caucuses.
Republicans are going to have to wake up to the fact that the American electorate is becoming more diverse. The GOP cannot be the party of the Old South and High Plains or the party of grumpy old white men if it is to remain viable outside of Oklahoma and Wyoming and similar states.
Oklahoma Democrats have viability problems of their own. There is no Democrat in an elective office above the legislative, county and municipal levels, and there is no sign that will change in the foreseeable future. Oklahoma Democrats will continue to struggle as long as their party's presidential candidate gets barely a third of the Oklahoma vote and the positions that are troublesome for the Republicans nationally are wholeheartedly embraced by voters in Oklahoma.
Original Print Headline: A deeper red
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (left) and his wife, Ann, stand on the stage with Republican vice presidential candidate, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and his wife, Janna, after Romney conceded the presidential race Wednesday in Boston. Romney got 66.8 percent of the vote in Oklahoma on Tuesday. DAVID GOLDMAN/Associated Press