On Sunday I vented a bit. It needed to be done — and I think I spoke for many others, too –, so why not use the forum I have to make my opinions known, right? I called it a “rant”, but I think it was relatively tame, as rants go. Not an expletive or ad hominem in the piece, though I was rather blunt regarding how I felt about the voting decisions of everyone who I think contributed to Obama’s reelection. So, as promised, today I’ll be less rant-ish and stick to more reflection & analysis.
Frankly, I’m not surprised in the least that fewer Democrats turned out to vote for Obama than the first time. The 2008 presidential race/election was a phenomenon, where the youth and many others who normally wouldn’t vote (or may have voted Republican) were caught up in a feel-good wave in support of the rock-star, Hope-n-Change candidate that was going to bring peace and sanity to the world (not to mention, lower the rising oceans). This time, though, many of them knew what a crock it was; their soaring hopes deflated, they stayed home. (I wish a few more of them had, too.)
But, with the popularity Romney seemed to be gaining over the past few weeks, I thought for sure he would have gotten a much better voter turnout than McCain did in 2008. Wrong. There were 3+ million fewer voters for Romney than for McCain (though the Washington Post puts it at 1.3 million). What the…?!
“If the Republicans who didn’t vote had voted, Mitt Romney would have won the popular vote by 180,000 [votes]…. [Republicans] didn’t lose because of demographics; 3 million of their voters stayed home.” — Rush Limbaugh
Romney wasn’t the ideal candidate, obviously. But, we can’t place the blame all on him. He is who he is, and all things considered, he did pretty well. Yes, he should have been more aggressive re Benghazi, Fast & Furious, and a few other issues (e.g., the administration’s various cover-ups and power grabs of dubious constitutionality), but I doubt that would have been enough to change many (any?) minds to vote for him that weren’t already planning to do so. Romney ran a pretty good campaign, though it appears he/we could learn some lessons from the disappointing results of the campaign’s voter-turnout and social media efforts (e.g., the Project Orca debacle). Also, as Robert Knight has pointed out, a good argument can be made that a little too much focus was put on the economy, at the expense of other important & relevant issues.
I’m too upset to even gloat over the fact that I was right all along, despite all the “data points”, that Obama was *not* going to get massacred in the election and might even win. (I wish you had been right, ECM.) During those last few days before the election, I even allowed myself to think Romney might squeak out a win. Dick Morris said independents would vote overwhelmingly against the incumbent. Did they? Did it help? Sean Hannity’s “man in Ohio”, Bill Cunningham, staked his very reputation that Ohio would go to Romney. It didn’t. Karl Rove and Michael Barone and other pundits thought Romney would win, too. These guys may all have had good track records and what they felt were pretty solid numbers and anecdotal evidence supporting their predictions. Well, they were all wrong. So much for the experts’ opinions.
Well, not everyone had it wrong. It appears that Larry Sabato, Intrade, and RealClearPolitics had it right. Unfortunately, I didn’t bother to check them out, so when I finally saw the election results written on the wall — er, on the web page — I was stunned, as were a lot of other people. Disappointment, frustration, and anger also developed over the next few days, as revealed in my “rant” the other day.
I’m not the kind of person who can just dismiss the whole thing with “Well, the people have spoken.” or “It’s God’s will.” or, even, “God is sovereign. He is still in control, no matter who gets elected.” They’re all true, especially the last one. (We can argue over the other two.) But, they don’t help me deal with the present-and-future, down-to-earth, pragmatic ramifications of the results of this election cycle — particularly, but not limited to, the re-election of Obama/Biden. For the moment, I’m still living in this world, and for many reasons I tend to prefer a free, strong, principled America over one that isn’t.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not looking for a “political savior” or any such thing. Even if Romney had won, he probably would have drifted to the center, anyway, especially on “social” issues. But, I’m pretty confident he would not have tried to “transform” our economy or weaken our military/national security the way our current president has and will now continue to do. On the contrary, Romney would have done his level best to rejuvenate our economy and ensure we could project a strong presence on the world stage — militarily, diplomatically, trade-wise, energy-wise. Alas, this shall not be.
So, why did Romney lose?
Everyone’s speculating… Obama regained ground by looking presidential after Superstorm Sandy, plus Gov. Christie complimented the President and played nice with him. (You would, too, in Christie’s situation.)… Romney was too much of a moderate. (Yeah, but he ran a conservative race.)… The GOP was too conservative and inflexible, especially on “social” issues. (Baloney! We must stand firm.)… The Obama campaign outspent the Romney campaign — i.e., Romney didn’t have enough money to fully counter the opposition’s efforts. (Possibly. Although, the Obama team probably didn’t need all of that money it got from the labor unions, Hollywood, George Soros, etc. We know Obama’s good at spending other people’s money, but was it really all that well spent?)… The election was stolen via voter fraud. (I think this one has some merit, actually.)…
Another “explanation” that comes up (in Christian circles, anyway) is that Obama’s reelection is “God’s judgement” on the U.S. for various corporate sins. The implication is that God supernaturally intervened to make sure Obama would win, in order to punish us. I don’t buy it. First, I am not convinced that God deals with nations now the same way he did BC. Second, I don’t think such a thing is necessary. In other words, we are simply reaping the “fruits” that naturally come from a culture in moral decline. No divine intervention needed.
Of course, while some of the suggested causes seem negligible in their impact, I think there are/were several factors that were significant in the 2012 election results. Two in particular stand out to me. First, the GOP and conservatives in general still don’t have their act together in communicating conservative principles and policies — both their moral rightness and their practical effectiveness. This is especially true when it comes to the Black and Hispanic communities, as well as young people in general. We need to find more & better ways to reach them with our message, explaining clearly why they are better off under conservative policies than under “progressive” ones. (Minorities, at least, already tend to be conservative on the social issues, anyway.) Second, thanks to a combination of corruption and laziness, voter fraud has been on the rise and has become a serious problem which likely caused a skewing in Democrats’ favor. Evidence of this has been turning up in key states (e.g., Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida), as well as suppression of the active military vote. It wasn’t just Romney/Ryan that got hurt by this, either. Just ask Allen West. (The spirit of ACORN is alive and well.)
Stay strong and stay positive, folks! See ya in a few….