The 2012 Presidential Election results were far from a blowout. The election didn’t give President Obama a mandate at all. I would argue that the results show a significant split in the electorate. The Senate is still controlled by the Democrats but the House is still overwhelmingly Republican.

This was a sincere plea for compromise. However, compromise doesn’t mean that the Republican Party must become more moderate or liberal. What it needs to do is become more rational. The party needs to stay away from the discussion of rape and insert some common sense in our fiscal issues. I believe we should have less Todd Akins and more Christies, Jindals, Jeb Bushes, Rand Pauls, and Huntsmans.

These are men that constantly talk about issues that matter to the American people like the debt, jobs, immigration, education, scaling back on our military expenditures, and even loosening marijuana laws. These statesmen don’t talk about social issues, not because they are not important, but because they understand that these are state and local issues and not federal issues. That’s how federalism works and that’s the kind of message we need in the Republican Party.

So, why did Mitt Romney lose? We still have a fragile economy and yet the President won. This election should have easily been a Republican year. The problem comes from the underlying issues within the Republican Party. The Republican message didn’t stick with the youth, hispanics, blacks, and women. Today’s Republican Party believes that it can survive by only targeting white males and that’s not going to cut it. Mitt Romney didn’t understand that reality. He didn’t articulate a solid defense for conservatism.  That was the main problem with this year’s ticket.

Governor Jindal was very right this week. He categorized the current GOP as “dumbed-down conservatism.” Conservatives should offer solutions instead of pitting everyone against the Democratic Party. As Jindal said, “Simply being the anti-Obama party didn’t work. You can’t beat something with nothing. The reality is we have to be a party of solutions and not just bumper-sticker slogans but real detailed policy solutions.”

Those who opposed the Obama Administration usually just criticized the President without any proposals. They carried the anti-Obama crusade via FoxNews and the radio talk shows of Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin. Jon Huntsman said that these so called conservatives just want larger audiences instead of better public policy. These personalities care more about bigger profits than a stronger country. That’s why they don’t represent the vast majority of the 40 percent of Americans who call themselves conservative. I can’t speak for them but I can bet that those Americans want to hear more than just blind criticism. They want conservative leadership that will make America number one again.

This doesn’t mean that the Republican Party deserved it’s loss. Yet, the lack of conservative leadership paved the road for Obama. Republicans need to take the lead and fight the President on a variety of issues where I believe they can win with minorities, female voters, and young people.

The Left’s policies are failed policies. For example, more bureaucracies and government spending in the healthcare system doesn’t help the uninsured. The conservative alternative to the Obama agenda is allowing individuals to buy healthcare policies anywhere in the Continental U.S. which is something that is prohibited today. More free-market based ideas will make healthcare more affordable for all Americans, not just the uninsured.

Let’s face it, my fellow Republicans, we are flawed in many ways. We need to accept that fact and grow into a better party. We need to become that stronger party that restores America to its exceptionalism.Lowering tax rates is also imperative to the electorate that voted for Obama. Instead of appearing like Republicans are friends of big businesses and the rich, they should be out there clamoring to support minimal rates for those at the low and middle income. Remember the Reagan Democrats? That’s the kind of people we should aim to register as Republican.

Alex Uzarowicz | Knox College | @AUzarowicz