Election 2012: What Happened??
Many of my regular listeners know that I have predicted a Romney defeat going all the way back to the first debates. I bounced around during those debates looking, not the perfect candidate, but an electable candidate. That was definitely not John McCain and, as it turned out, not Mitt Romney either. So what exactly happened to the Romney campaign? Who pulled the rug out from under him?
It’s Not The Economy Stupid
You would think that a presidential candidate with 44 months of 8% unemployment, 23 million unemployed, record food stamp increases, numerous scandals and a national debt going from $11 trillion to $16 trillion in four years would spell certain defeat for any ordinary candidate. But, as we all know Barack Obama is not an ordinary candidate.
How did the president overcome these insurmountable numbers? It’s no sweat if you’ve got the demographics. The president and his campaign were very selective in the groups they needed and produced a comprehensive plan to bring them all “under the tent” while doing a masterful job of vilifying the competition at the same time. Not only on the national level but also on the local level as well. While Romney was carrying the traditionally Republican states something else was happening. People were voting for Romney then voting for democratic candidates for senator and representative. The democrats actually gained ground in states they had no business winning.
Before the election I laid out on Mark’s morning show all the groups I thought Obama had in his camp. And there were many. Here are just a few examples.
There is no question to expect a repeat of the black voter going strong for Obama. In this case 93% compared to 95% in 2008. Hispanics also voted strongly for the president. Seventy-one percent versus 67% last time around. Romney’s strong stand on immigration-helped deliver an additional 4% voter turnout to Obama.
The fabricated “war on women” was the only weak demographic for Obama. Married men and married woman supported Romney. Single men and single women supported Obama. The youth also turned out again for the President at 60% only 6 points down from 2008.
The most telling point in the election was the party voting tendencies. You would think republicans would move heaven and earth to remove the president from office. They didn’t. In 2008, Democratic voters outnumbered Republican voters 39-32%. This year they outnumbered Republicans 38-32%.
The Republicans have some work to do and they have some definite problems. The world is changing. Gay marriage passed in a couple of states, marijuana passed too. Many legislators are becoming more sympathetic to more lenient immigration laws. All of these positions, along with pro-choice positions, do not sit well with conservatives or the religious right.
The makeup of the house and senate are nearly identical to what they were before the election. Are we looking at four more years of gridlock? Is there any reason to believe that the same people who failed to get along before will suddenly get along now? I seriously doubt that any concessions will be made until the 2014 midterm elections. Republicans and Democrats are both going to have to go out and buy votes. So everyone will have their hands out in November 2014.
Some Final Thoughts
If the Republican Party plans to re-define itself it’s going to have to make some tough choices. The religious right might be looking at a third party in the future. In addition, the Republicans are going to have to resonate with people of color. America is turning brown and the Republicans need to recognize that. The party of Lincoln might need to return to some of those former values of the past.
The Democrats have an even bigger problem. It’s great to promise healthcare, food stamps, student loans, Medicare and more but they also have to figure a way to pay for all of it. So far nothing they have tried has worked very well. Trying to sell creative accounting and using the Congressional Budget Office no longer works. At best Congress has two years to make some sort of change in unemployment and the dependency addiction that sent Greece into near bankruptcy before people in the US will begin taking to the streets like their European counterparts.