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Saturday, November 10, 2012

Playing the Blame Game with the GOP

It was four years ago this week that I last put my feelings on paper for the world to see, and four years later, the similarities between these two posts are frightening similar. In 2008, Barrack Obama won a historic and devastating victory over the GOP. A few days ago, on what was thought to be a bright November evening for Republicans, America elected Barrack Obama as President for the 2nd time. While his victory margin was narrower, and the Democrats did not regain control of the House, the loss was equally, if not more devastating for those opposed to his re-election.
Like in the aftermath of the 2008 election, fear and finger pointing spread like wildfire through the conservative ranks. Everything from social issues, to immigration reform has been analyzed in the few days after the election. Once Republicans recovered from the initial shock, they turned their anger to man at the top of the ticket, the one, who only days ago was being praised and his name chanted, is being chastised as a weak, RINO, candidate. They are blaming Mitt Romney personally for this, and in the words of Vice-President Joe Biden, “that’s a bunch of malarkey.”
The Republicans didn’t lose because Mitt Romney was weak. They didn’t lose because he ran a poor campaign or made a major flub. No, Romney ran a mostly solid campaign. His history of achieving economic success made him the perfect challenger to unseating the President with the state of the economy in the shambles it is in. Mitt’s pick of Paul Ryan was genius, and served to energize the more conservative voters. One can argue he won all three debates, and one thing is for sure, he slaughtered the President during the first one, gaining unforeseen momentum. The Fact is,Mitt Romney ran a good campaign. He drove his message home, he offered America a choice and a plan, and he sold it just as well as anyone could.

Now we can all play Monday morning quarterback and over analysis what happened and place the blame on the most obvious target, Mitt Romney and in hindsight, are there things he could have done differently? More Aggressively? Talked about other issues? Most definitely yes. Would those things have made a difference, no, probably not.

What happened last Tuesday was not Mitt Romney’s fault. I will say it again, what happened last Tuesday was NOT Mitt Romney’s fault. He is not a fake Republican, he did not run a horrible campaign. He is real and he cares about America with real passion. He is a good man, and was a strong candidate. What happened last Tuesday was the fault of one man, that man being President Barrack Obama

President Obama, and his re-election team defeated the Republicans fair and square. Mitt didn't fumble in overtime to seal the loss, his team lost to a better, team. It’s that simple. Obama’s reelection staff, even before Romney was the nominee, sold to the American public that Mitt was “out of touch” with their values. That he was an elitist, a snob if you will. They attacked his character so much that at times Sarah Palin may have been more popular in the undecided circles then Mitt Romney. This is how he was portrayed day in and day out for 10 months and when people read something, or see something over and over again, it becomes truth, and changing what one believes to be true, is a hard task.
What the GOP misjudged the most was how good the kool-aid was that Obama was serving. So good, people lined up for hours for seconds. He arose to power like the redeemer of a nation, full of hope and change and other phrases that tickled people pink inside. They believed in him so much, that it was unbearable to vote against him, and acknowledge the failure his administration has been. This was the climate that the GOP, and Mitt Romney was running against and unfortunately for them, none liked what Obama was serving more than the ever more important voting block of minorities.
Whether you like it or not, race played the deciding factor in this, no doubt about it. Like in 08, the African-American turnout was extremely high, and it went over 90% to Obama. Minorities as a whole made up 28% of the total voting electorate and they went around 80% or higher for Obama. There was nothing Mitt Romney could do or say to change their minds except hope the turnout wasn’t as high as it was in 08. Unfortunately for the Mitt and the rest of the Republicans, it was actually higher, and this is what kept Obama in office. African Americans love the fact that Obama is an African American in the White House, and they turned out in record high numbers once again to keep him there. They didn’t turn out like this for Gore or for Kerry, but for Obama they do. One can argue in 2016, if the Democrats do not have a minority on the ticket, the black vote will not be as high.
Looking at the exit polls more closely, one can easily determine that Romney ran a good campaign that resonated with a lot of people, especially the people Mitt was supposed to win.
  • Married men backed Romney by a high +22% margin;
  • He took a slight +4% majority of independents and took Catholics by +19% (these same Catholics and Independents voted for Obama in 08, indicating a good swing to the right, and a building block for the future).
  • Romney took the white vote by +20%, up +8% from John McCain’s 08 numbers; however this year, the white vote made up only 72% of the total electorate, its lowest portion since 1992.
Obama’s dominance of minorities is what turned this election around and gave him the extra 3-5 point margin on Election Day. This margin is what kept the swing states like Virginia, Florida, and Ohio, and maybe even Pennsylvania blue, and secured the win for Obama. Take the minority vote back to “normal” levels; Romney wins each swing state, except Iowa, Wisconsin, and Nevada, by about the same 3-5 point margin, and thus the key to the White House. Race was everything in this election. Minorities voted nearly 100% for Obama, and Whites voted strongly for Romney, the margin although not nearly as one-sided as the minority vote.

The last thing that put the nail in Mitts coffin was Hurricane Sandy. Aside from the fact that this storm stopped coverage of the Libya terrorist attack just as it was starting to get mainstream coverage, over 15%, a huge percent, of the electorate said the Presidents response was a major factor in them voting. If someone was still one of the 3-5% of the undecided voters, this storm changed their mind. No one saw this coming, and for Mitt, as a challenger, he wasn’t in a position to do anything to show how he would help the victims. Obama looked Presidential in doing so, he received high praise from Gov. Christie of New Jersey, and the American People believed he was a President who would take care of them if they needed it.

In summary, the numbers were there for Mitt. He carried whom he needed to carry. The minority vote is what kept the swing states blue by a tight margin. Did last night victory solidify the Democrat platform as America’s platform? Absolutely not. All that last weeks election proved was people believed in Barrack Obama. This was HIS Victory, not a Democratic Party Victory.

I could argue about several other factors that “could” have cost Mitt the election and several other demographics that swung for Romney, and Yes, each of these may have cost Romney a couple of points here and there. But the Bottom line is, this was not a mandate against Republican Principles, or even a mandate against Mitt Romney. This was a mandate from minorities supporting a minority President plain and simple.

The republicans need to accept the data and stop blaming Mitt Romney for this loss. The Republican Party is not in shambles and is not being rejected. When you look at the facts and the exit poll data, it is clear that no candidate from the Right could have won in this climate, with maybe the exception of Herman Cane or Condoleeza Rice (2016 anybody?)

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