“We have to stop sounding as if we want to take away those things from people,” she said. “Democrats take advantage of people’s lack of knowledge, and lack of knowledge is power” for those who exploit it, Kelso said.
“The Democrats were successful at misinforming people, but that we won’t do,” she said. “You just have to lock and load again.”
Exit polls showed that Obama received extraordinarily high support from African-American and Latino voters, while Romney led the president among white voters by some 20 points.
Chuck Pinkey, a conservative columnist for The Daily Star, said the GOP “obviously needs to broaden the tent, but we can’t out-liberal the liberals to do it.”
“We shouldn’t allow ourselves to get caught on stupid things like the ‘war on women’ and contraceptives,’” Pinkey said. “We have to pay more attention to minorities, but we don’t have to give up our core values to attract them.”
Pinkey also suggested the Republican Party would be best served by finding a presidential candidate who reminds voters of the conservatism of the late President Ronald Reagan.
“Thirty-five percent of the population say they are conservative, and 25 percent say they are liberal,” he noted. “We only have gain another 15 percent to be at 50 percent.”
Roxbury Town Supervisor Thomas Hines, a Democrat who has won local elections for 28 years in a community where there are many Republicans, said success at the ballot box comes by avoiding taking extreme positions and appealing to moderate voters.
He said Republicans would be better off if they avoid starting new arguments over “some of the stuff that was settled years ago. People who have fought battles before shouldn’t have to fight them again. Times are changing. We all have to adapt.”
Erik Miller, the unsuccessful Republican candidate for mayor of Oneonta three years ago, said he does not vote for candidates based on their party affiliation but on where they stand on issues. Both Romney and Obama, he said, never offered enough to get him energized to support one over the other.