Random thoughts on the election results

1.  When I predicted Obama would win by 5% I said the one possible game-changer was the debates.  Romney’s striking victory in the first debate did change the game, but not enough, probably because he did not follow it up with dynamic performances in the next two debates.

2.  The claimed bias of the pollsters was pretty dramatically disproven.  If anything, the polls OVERESTIMATED Romney’s support.  But, generally, they were right — state-by-state and overall.

3.  One of the reasons I gave for predicting Obama would win was the fact that his advertisements were vastly superior to Romney’s.  Both sides put out many new ads in the subsequent weeks, but Obama’s were consistently better.  Here is the key battleground state of Florida, I never saw either of the ads that Bookworm linked to as examples of good Romney ads.  Forthermore, I never saw any ads that stressed Romney’s positive traits, aside from a belated emphasis on his ability to forge coalitions — not a message likely to persuade many votes in the closing days of the campaign.

4.  This election was probably the last gasp of straight white men.  The changing demographics will make straight white men (the major group that strongly supported Romney) a continuingly shrinking portion of the population.  If Republicans/conservatives/some-new-third-party can’t find a way to attract women and minorities to vote for their candidates, they will never win again.

5.  One of the theories that conservatives put forward in claiming the polls were wrong was that disaffected Obama supporters would stay home this time around.  Not true.  They voted in numbers at least comparable to 2008.  Even I’m surprised by that, but it is cause for on-going concern to conservatives.  Conservatives have always benefitted from the fact that they vote in higher percentages than liberals.  That may be changing, as liberals do a much better and more consistent job of turning out their vote.

6.  This country is seriously divided and Obama is not likely to do anything but make the division worse.

I look forward to your thoughts on the election, the polls, and where we go from here.

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  • Charles Martel

    DQ, how does a party that has any principles “attract” women and minorities?
    If the answer is that we must treat women as vaginas first and humans second, and must appeal to the ludicrously ignorant thinking of people who either voluntarily reside on a 21st-century version of the plantation or think that America is a perpetually open ATM they can saunter over the border and tap, what’s the point?
    You are expert at raising questions. Perhaps you’d like to make some suggestions and provide some answers of your own?

  • drk

    Charles –

    I agree.   It is not like we can somehow think harder and come up with a better, more sexy presentation of our values or principles to win over the vast majority of women and minorities.  They simply do not want what we value: responsibility, planning, free markets, self-reliance, a small government that helps only those who truly cannot help themselves.  

    What scares me most is that many people just think that all we need to do is change our message so we (meaning Republicans) will win again – as if we just need to get our product and marketing right and voila! our problem is fixed.

    It isn’t about winning.  It doesn’t matter if we win if our principles and values aren’t right.

    Now, a bunch of folks on the right are going to scream that we need to change everything and spend millions proving to a bunch of idiotic women and others that gosh, we really are ok with abortion whenever a woman says she wants one (is the baby not the sex you, as a woman, wanted?  That’s ok – you are a woman and what you want is more important than what anyone else might want) and that, yes, indeed, it is completely fine if you and all of your family and friends want to come here illegally – laws mean nothing, the borders should just be wide open and all the services should be provided for free to anyone who thinks they might “need” them. 

    Just save the money – trust me, there are much better uses for it.

    And to all of those who think that we just need to tweak our message on women and minority issues: the left is coming for you too.  Do not think that somehow there are just millions of people out there who support women and minority issues but will go to the mat for some hard core conservative economic issues.  The left is making sure that the masses are too ignorant to understand the principles of fiscal conservatism.  In order to appeal to all of these people, we will then have to ”change our message” and assure everyone that yes, we really do support endless bailouts, out of control spending.

    Bottom line:  you have to have a truly educated populace grounded in morality.  We have an ignorant populace (including many who have graduated from universities) who have no moral compass, no foundation.  Any appeal to principles is a useless endeavor. 

  • Charles Martel

    Amen, drk. Well said.

  • http://photoncourier.blogspot.com David Foster

    British general Edward Spears, who in the late 1930s was a member of Parliament, writing about his feelings at the time of the Munich agreement:

    “I for one have never been through such an ordeal as that of Munich. Like most people, I have had my private sorrows, but their is no loss that compare with the agony of losing one’s country, and that is what some of us felt had happened when England accepted Munich. All we believed in seemed to have lost substance…When we threw the Czechs to the Nazi wolves it seemed to me as if the beacon lit centuries ago, and ever since lighting our way, had suddenly gone out, and I could not see ahead.”

    The British did, a few years later, manage to relight their beacon. Will we?


  • drk

    Wow, David.  That quote describes what I am feeling today.  That darkness is descending all that was beautiful and right about America is being extinguished.

  • Cheesestick

    DQ, how does a party that has any principles “attract” women and minorities?

    I have the same question as Charles.  Not only do I not know how we are going to attract them (even though I am one), I don’t understand what is the attraction for them on the left?  That party is dooming them.  And not just their policies but especially in the case of F&F, where this administration literally handed thousands of guns to prolific murderers for the sole purpose of killing a huge number of Mexican citizens so that he would be able to push his anti-gun agenda here.  This is the single most important fact that I believe should have caused him to drive everyone away – not just Hispanic people.  The fact that it didn’t, boggles my mind.    

  • Cheesestick

    …And the women.  I mean, if they seriously voted for him because they are so dumb they believe that Republicans “support rape” and want to take away their birth control & want to force them out of the work place and back into the kitchen…and all the other complete non-sense I’ve seen going around about why it is stupid for women to vote republican.  I mean seriously, how do you fight that?  Despite having no evidence to support such ridiculous, outlandish lies, these twits actually think this is true.  So do you just keep trying to prove you aren’t the rape party?  Or do you come up with another set of ridiculous, crazy lies and then offer the only protection from them you can get?  

    Hey ladies, please vote republican because if you don’t, the democrats are going to sell you into slavery to aliens and you will be forced to go to their planet & cook & clean their windows and birth their alien babies against your will….

    Do you think this would work?  What other cray-zay-zee stuff can you think of that we can scare these idiots with into voting for us?  Clearly there is nothing too unbelievable for their pea-sized brains…..that must be located in their vaginas.     

  • http://bookwormroom.com Bookworm

    DQ, if you weren’t my favorite person in the world, I would hate how prescient you always are about these things. 

    Much as we hate to hear it, DQ is right.  America’s demographics and mindsets have changed.  We thought we could entice people into conservativism by showing that it’s the best way to run a country, benefiting everyone.  

    The Democrats went the other route — the “free gift with purchase” route — and it paid off.  Tammany Hall rules win, in that you can buy the voter. 

    If conservatives do not want to pander to voters, but want to keep their principles, they have only one hope:  That those who voted Democrat decide that the product they purchased is so lousy that even a free gift won’t entice them into the store again.

  • Danny Lemieux

    The “New America” is women flaunting lady parts and totally helpless victims of Hurricane Sandy waiting for “others” to help them instead of helping themselves. To build on David Foster’s thought train, I believe this election confirms that nothing will set America right again other than an existential crisis, and that crisis is now roaring toward us like a hurricane.

    If there is a silver lining to this, it is that Republican Romney will not be there to preside over and take blame for that crisis.

    What do I want now? Galt? Galt? John Galt? You there?

  • Charles Martel

    Danny, I think you’re right to characterize what’s about to happen as an existential moment for our country. Sad to say that that moment is one a small majority of our countrymen has brought upon itself and the rest of us. 
    There’s the old saying that a conservative is a liberal who has been mugged by reality. Well, let’s get ready for the biggest mass mugging in history. Four more years of Obama-style misfeasance, malfeasance, and bumbling should do the trick.

  • BrianE

    “This election was probably the last gasp of straight white men.” – DQ

    Odd characterization. 

    I would say this election was the last gasp at saving the country. I’ve had a suspicion that we’d already reached the tipping point and 2010 gave me some hope that it wasn’t so, that conservatism wasn’t dead.

    I’m not sure Romney would have made that much difference, but probably some– rearranging the deck chairs kind of thing. Even had he won, the outcome would have been close– certainly not the kind of mandate needed to structurally change entitlements and regulations.

    In some ways it’s a shame that the Republicans still control the House, since it gives the media a fall guy for whatever happens in the next few years. And even if they concede every economic battle, there’s still the fall back position of ‘Blame Bush.’ That worked for four years and can probably be milked for a few more. 

  • lee

    Look at a map of how the country voted. The urban areas and college towns were who went with Obama. And Obama won by only about 3 million votes. You may say that the people who stayed home adds up to a “crushing” defeat of Romney, but I also think it adds up to some optimism for 2016. The thing about appealing to people in the urban areas is getting them to stop reading the damned New York Times. They think, “Ooooh! Look at me! I am sooooo COSMOPOLITAN! I read the New York Times.” Someone should sue the NYT for malpractice.  How do you get the LAME-stream media to have SOME BACKBONE, and report NEWS, instead of trying to shape opinion? We all gave up on them, but they are what informs too many people, especially those selfish self-centered clowns in the cities who voted this jackass in.

    And I am a woman who resents the way Democrats paint us–as shrill sluts who can’t manage anything for ourselves.

    BTW, if you do the math, Obame won most of the “battleground” states by less than a 5% margin, which translates into about 100,000 or less. Which means Romney came very close to winning the whole banana. Had he won those handful of battleground states, the electoral number would have put him over the top to take it all. So there are women out there voting for Romney, unless you think it was women who all stayed home…

    Meanwhile, we are SCREWED. The next fours years will be long, and things are just going to go from BAD to WORSE. Obamacare will go fully into effect. So say “goodbye” to your relatives over 70, because they won’t get much medical care after 2014. Say good bye to the second amendment, because when this jackass starts naming Supreme Court replacements, they will make Kagan and Sotomajor look conservative. (And will the Republicans “bork” his nominations? Nope. Too friggin’ wimpy. The Dems didn’t care what they did to Bork or Thomas. Thomas got in, barely. Bork never made it.)

    My husband I WERE going to buy a small sailboat; now I think we’d better save the money because we are going to be BLED dry–by taxes, by the cost of fuel (and electriciity, and food, and everything else that high fuel costs drive up.)

    I am so angry, sad, depressed, furious… ERgggggh!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Mike Devx

    I’d like to add a little here, though I’m trying to stay away from all the “Here is what we must do now” commentary.  For me that’s far too soon.

    Lee, you said in #12: if you do the math, Obame won most of the “battleground” states by less than a 5% margin, which translates into about 100,000 or less. Which means Romney came very close to winning the whole banana. 

     I think Mitt Romney was a completely viable candidate.  Not perfect, and not Reagan.  But when I reflect on all the other GOP candidates, I don’t think any of them could even have matched him. To me, when I reflect on how *their* campaigns are likely to have gone against Obama, they’d have done far worse.

    I’m not offering post-mortem, but I am reading a lot of it, with interest.  I’ll note that the harsh criticism from some – and these are serious bloggers – is that Romney was too conservative, and from others that he wasn’t conservative enough.  Honestly, one thing that’s clear to me is that the defeat can’t be caused by BOTH.  (And might not have been caused by either.)

    It is clear that GOP turnout for Romney was simply horrible.  McCain was supposed to be our nadir, and this year was worse.  In a year such as this, after four years of what’s been seen, if we couldn’t win this 2012 election with ease, then it is difficult for me to envision *any* conservative candidate short of some perfect dream-candidate ever winning another election in this country.

    Book’s commentary on demographics will be worth taking seriously.  At least worth seriously thinking about.  Politics and a political party are about winning 50+ % of the vote at a minimum.  Conservatism isn’t about political party, it’s about philosophy.  There’s a difference between political party and philosophy.