Nov 8, 2012

My Take on Obama's Victory in Election 2012

Nobody's talking about Obama's victory in the 2012 Election. Rather, bewildered Republicans and pundits are focused on "why Romney lost". All the media analysts, political commentators and cable news contributors have theories on the election results, but if you want a novice blogger's ideas on Election 2012, take a walk with me. My cause-effect reasons are simple: people and process. Each side made assumptions and predictions about voters and laid out a strategy to win their votes.

Governor Romney put his fate in the hands of the White vote, seniors, Republicans and Independents. He bet that the Democratic base would be depressed resulting in a disengaged youth vote and low African American and Latino turnout. He bet that the motivated voters were old white men.He won 59% of the white vote and 88% of his supporters were white. President Obama's hard won victory is the result of a meticulously planned and executed strategy to deliver a diverse coalition of the growing Latino vote, the youth vote, and the African-American vote. Securing the vote of Women was also a primary focus of the Obama campaign.

The "Swing States" held the prospect of victory for whichever candidate could win their votes. In the end, Romney was able to reclaim only Indiana and North Carolina, turning these state red again from their support of Obama in 2008. Obama took Wisconsin (home state of Paul Ryan), Pennsylvania, Colorado, Virginia, and Nevada. Florida is still not decided, but leaning toward President Obama. The Latino vote helped the President deliver Nevada and Colorado and possibly Florida. In 2008, Obama won 67% of the Latino vote and won 71% in 2012.

Young people came out strong for President Obama. In 2008, 66% of this group vote for Obama. In Election 2012, 60 % of young people voted for the President. Governor Romney counted on the White vote and claimed 59% . President Obama had 43% of the white vote in 2008 which dropped to 39% in 2012. Romney fell short of the white support he needed. Obama claimed enough of the white vote to be successful. (Contrary to unfounded opinion, the President captured 70% of Jewish support.)

I had worried that the millions of dollars flowing into the Republican campaign coffers might be a negative factor for Obama's re-election. Spending in the 2012 Election in all federal and state races is projected at $6 billion dollars. Millionaire moguls gave generously to Governor Romney, while a large part of President Obama's supports was grass-roots based with fewer big money donors. Overall, the money did not buy the election as was originally thought, but could have an impact on state elections.  For example, I'm convinced that dark money bought Dean Heller's Senate seat in Nevada with the flood of negative ads against Shelley Berkeley in the last days of the election. Money poured into the Senate campaign in Ohio and Missouri, but Democrats Sherrod Brown and Claire McCaskill were successful in their races. Democrats retained control of the Senate.

In my opinion, one of the biggest mistakes Romney made was the misleading ad in Toledo media market about Chrysler moving Jeep production to China. I guess he had lied so often and so successfully (or so it appeared), that one more "big lie" wouldn't matter. Even when the head of Chrysler and the Ohio media called Romney out on this lie, he stayed the course as he had always done. But, this lie did him in at a critical moment in the election. Ohio went to the guy who put his job on the line with the Auto bailout, not the guy who said "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt".

President Obama's ground game was far superior to that of Governor Romney's. The Obama campaign was able to find, persuade, and turn out voters for early voting and on election day.
It also appears that Republican efforts to suppress the vote and discourage voters in key battle ground states backfired.  The courts ruled against some of the state legislation designed to reduce the Democratic vote or in some cases delayed implementation of new laws until after the election. The Democratic base seemed fired up by attempts to suppress their vote and long lines and ridiculous wait times did not deter them for casting their votes.

 No Obama didn't win the election because of superstorm Sandy, or Chris Christie's lavish praise, nor Romney's ever changing positions on issues. The President took his case to the people and was heard. He asked for four more years to finish what he started and the voters saw that he got it. Now the fight begins anew. Good luck Mr. President and God bless you.



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