As I’m sure most people have figured out by now, turnout in 2012 was massively off from 2008. As it turns out, Obama got fewer votes in 2012 than Bush got in 2004. My prediction of a Romney victory was predicated upon taking the 2008 turnout and re-figuring it for both a loss in Obama voters and a return of Bush voters. The Obama voters were, indeed, lost – I got that right (though, for full disclosure, Obama lost fewer votes than I projected he would). The problem for us Republicans is that the Bush voters McCain lost were also lost by Romney – and then some; it seems that Romney got about a million fewer voters than McCain. Had the 5 million or so missing Bush voters showed up on November 6th, Romney would have won…and we probably would have won a Senate majority, in to the bargain.
The big question is just why did these five million voters not vote? They voted for Bush. They are clearly ok with a socially conservative man of financially rich background – they should have had no particular problem with voting for Romney. But, they didn’t. Why? Several reasons:
Partially it has to do with the fact that while Bush and Romney are of similar background, Bush yet was more of an us-folks man. Bush, the scion of a patrician family, at least learned how to relate to average folks. Romney, a similar scion, looked and acted like the scion of a patrician family – this is not to take away anything from Romney’s magnificent charitable efforts or his other fine qualities. At the end of the day, point blank, Romney wasn’t one of us – he couldn’t excite the sort of devotion the GOP showed to Bush in 2004.
Secondly it has to do with that as bad as things are, there is a lack of crisis perception out there. We high-information voters know just how screwed up everything is. That the patina of economic “growth” we’ve had the past four years is the result of print and borrow financial policies which are not sustainable. Eventually we either print ourselves in to hyper-inflation or borrow ourselves in to bankruptcy. Democrats not only don’t have a plan to deal with these issues, they don’t even see them as a problem. They seriously believe that if we borrow and print and hire a few more teachers and re-pave a few more already paved roads then economic prosperity will eventually result. We know this is a crock – but as there has been some “growth” and some “hiring” and things aren’t officially as bad as they were in 2009, there was no perception among low-information voters (ie, Democrats and those who swing between Democrats and Republicans) that there is a crisis. Additionally, our rapidly eroding military might and collapsing position around the world bores most Americans – if anything, the general response to Benghazi would be, “let’s just get out of there” (which is, of course, my view – but not out of ignorance).
Third, we failed to craft an effective message. After all, there was genuine peace and prosperity in 2000 and yet then-Governor Bush managed to craft an effective message. We needed a passionate vision put forth with complete sincerity. Bush managed that. Reagan managed that. Romney didn’t. Romney’s thing – and no blame to him – is of the effective manager…but a political leader must first and foremost speak to the imagination of the people. He must be able to take the dazzling light of current events and re-cast them in a manner which makes people want to follow him.
Finally, I don’t think we really ran a good campaign. To be sure, it seemed like a good campaign – I was personally door-knocked twice and got plenty of calls and campaign literature. But I don’t care how much anyone wishes to praise the Romney GOTV, it failed. It failed miserably. It failed like the French army failed in 1940. It might as well not have even been there. We should have taken the hundreds of millions spent on it and blown it on a weekend in Vegas. It got less voters to the polls than McCain’s anemic GOTV of 2008. To be sure, Obama’s even more expensive GOTV also failed – it delivered 6.5 million fewer votes for Obama than it did in 2008. A wit pointed out today that we spent north of $2 billion to flip two States. We really need to re-think how we do this in the future.
I’m confident of the future. I know that the ideals of faith, family and country are the ideals which have the strongest appeal. Even if you could prove it to me mathematically that the liberal ideals of abortion and welfare were predominant I’d still hold that, eventually, faith, family and country will prevail. Because liberalism fails. It is failing in Europe and it will fail here, too. If not today, then tomorrow; eventually for certain. But we do need to change things.
We need to jettison the old fashioned GOP – the GOP, I’m sorry to say, of Mitt Romney. Fine and honorable man he is and he would have made a great President, but he’s not what we need. We need someone closer to the people. We need a candidate who lives in the America of the middle class – better, someone who started in the lower class. We need someone who can credibly condemn both the Department of Education and Goldman Sachs. Look no more to the Romneys of the world – look to the Rubios, the Ryans and the Jindals. There is our future. Our rule of thumb – if you’re worth more than $5 million, you can’t be the Republican nominee.
We also need to stop playing the game the way the Democrats and professional political consultants want us to. We can win everywhere. We don’t win everywhere because we have resigned a huge part of the board to the left – for goodness sakes, we didn’t even start trying in Pennsylvania until the last 10 days! Why weren’t we there in force in August? Why don’t we campaign hard in San Diego and Orange counties in California? Ok, so New York City is a tough nut to crack…but the rest of the State went for us…are the middle and lower classes of Brooklyn and Staten Island that much different from the middle and lower classes who vote for us in the rest of the State?
The point I’m making is that if we really believe that our views are correct then we should be unafraid to present them everywhere and to everyone. If we have a candidate who is of the people and understand them; if we have a message of faith, family and country; and if we then go and fight it out everywhere then we must eventually win it all. Because our beliefs are the correct beliefs. Because their beliefs are wrong and lead to disaster – and if it disaster time in liberal-world and we’re fighting everywhere then everywhere will go for us. It doesn’t matter if we “waste” some effort in a forlorn hope – we’ll have planted the seeds of future victory. We got 57 million votes yesterday. We got 58 million four years ago. We got 62 million 8 years ago. We can get more than we got yesterday – that is an indisputable fact. What I’m saying is that we can get more than we’ve ever got – more than even Obama managed in 2008. If we try. No, not all in a day – but over a period of years and with persistence and faith in our ideals, we can do it.
It is time for a clean break with the past and a new populist/libertarian revolutionary movement. We can do it. We can win it all. All we need to is try.