As many pundits discuss how Obama won the 2012 election, the truth is Republicans lost it more than Obama won it. The Republican Party lost a wonderful opportunity to win the Senate and the White House. All of the conditions were right for a Republican victory. Obama received 10 percent fewer votes in 2012 than in 2008. For a party that was supposed to be so energized, Romney only got 1 percent more votes than what McCain got in 2008 – 6 percent would have beat Obama. Romney and the Republicans blew it.
- The swing states (Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin and Colorado), except for North Carolina, have Republican governors. But only North Carolina, the state with a Democratic governor, voted for Romney. All of the swing states run by Republican governors voted for Obama. Not one of those Republican governors delivered his state for Romney – and that is one of the jobs of a governor for his party. The odds of that being a coincidence is less than 3 percent.
Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey personally handed 3 points to Obama by his fawning over BHO the week before the election. Before the storm that ravaged the East Coast, Romney had 52 percent of the electorate as measured by Gallup and Rasmussen. By the time of the election, the poll numbers for Romney dropped to 49 percent as the world watched Christie become the major reference for Obama. Christie was more interested in his personal political needs than in saving America by stopping the Obama agenda.
Why did Romney not get the same 57 percent vote in Virginia Bob McDonnell got for governor? It was not because of Romney. Romney won North Carolina, which had a Democratic governor. McDonnell, Christie and the other Republican governors did not bet their jobs on Romney. They did not go to the mat for their party’s standard-bearer.
- 47 percent. Romney said that he was not interested in the 47 percent of the electorate that did not pay taxes. That sound bite was played over and over in all of the swing states. It was taken out of context. It helped reinforce the image of Romney presented by Democrats, that he’s rich and not interested in people who need help. Romney was wrong in what he said. He did not consider all those older people who would vote for him who do not pay taxes, or the military, or conservatives in low= paying jobs. He was wrong, and he never recovered from it.
- All polls showed for the last three years that 55 percent of Americans want Obamacare repealed. Did you ever hear Romney say that the only way to repeal Obamacare was to get rid of Obama? Did you hear him discuss it daily the way Obama discussed Romney’s tax reductions for the rich? Romney should have won the election 55 to 45 on just this one issue.
- Wisconsin has 9 electoral votes, Ohio has 18, and Florida has 29. So why did Romney pick Paul Ryan, from Wisconsin, as his running mate? Why didn’t he pick Rubio from Florida or Portman from Ohio? Rubio could have also increased Hispanic votes for Romney in other states. And Ryan did not even deliver Wisconsin as a swing state. Even JFK was smart enough to pick LBJ, his enemy, as his running mate to secure the votes of Texas; Reagan picked George H.W. Bush for New England, military and oil support; and Obama picked Biden for the union vote. Picking Ryan had the same impact as when McCain picked Palin. Romney put his personal chemistry with Ryan ahead of what was needed to win.
- 53 percent of males voted for Romney; 54 percent of females voted for Obama. Obama had as much of a gender gap with men as Romney had with women. They offset each other. Five percent more women voted than did men. Romney did not get out the male vote as well as Obama got out the female vote. Obama gave women a reason to go vote. That was the difference in the election – 3 percent. If Romney had gotten 57 percent of the male vote or 1 percent more turnout of men as women, he would have won. Romney neglected the male vote.
- Half of the conservatives who vote for Republicans are tea-party people. That is about 20 percent of the electorate. They were the energy of the 2010 midterm elections. They got Rubio elected. They won back the House of Representatives for the Republican Party. They were active in the local elections of 2012 and held the congressional seats they won in 2010. But they were absent from the presidential election. There was no march on D.C. of 2 million people like in 2009. There was no big event from Dick Armey to push national momentum for Romney. The Republican Party and Dick Armey deliberately neutralized the impact of the tea party in the presidential election … and that hurt Romney.
So what can we learn from this?
Many conservative activists will stay home in the future as their hopes were crushed by the performances of Romney in 2012 and McCain in 2008. But maybe, just maybe, those who fight against the evil presented by the Obama/Alinsky type of politicians will learn to:
- Fight the demonization quickly before it becomes fact.
- Demand loyalty from the Republican governors and establishment.
- Stop making stupid comments that can be used out of context by the media and the opposition.
- Make decisions based on good business information.
- Embrace the grass-roots activists.
Then, maybe conservatives will learn how to win.