Today, Republicans feel a combination of confusion, disbelief, and anger as to how a slim majority of Americans can possibly want four more years of the Obama administration in the White House. To many, it seems inconceivable that people want to take a chance on more of the same.
Yet, the election is over, and the nation gets exactly what they asked for – four more years of the same.
It’s time to reflect on what went wrong for Mitt Romney and those who wanted a Mitt Romney presidency so very much.
First of all, Mitt Romney, in general, never convinced Americans that he cared about them as much as many Americans believe Barack Obama cares about them. The most damaging part of this issue was obviously the video of the May fundraiser in Florida that went viral in which Romney talked about the 47% of Americans who would never vote for him because, basically, free-lunchers want Obama and the free lunch to continue. Of course, Romney was way off by saying that 47% of Americans are basically the free-lunchers, and he admitted so – but his admitting the error didn’t do much good.
Secondly, the uphill battle of beating an incumbent was a very difficult hill to climb, and Romney didn’t quite make it to the top. Ironically, though Obama won his first presidency by talking about “change”, the truth is that people are often afraid of “change” and want to stick with what they know. The electorate know what they have with Obama and weren’t sure what they’d get with a “change” to Romney. Incidentally, Obama is the third incumbent president to win reelection in the past 20 years.
Thirdly, the media – as they typically are regarding politics – leaned “left” throughout this presidential campaign. One might even say that the liberal press is currently as fierce against conservatives as it was during the Reagan presidency – but then, Romney is no Reagan – apparently.
Fourth, specifically, the media recently buried the Benghazi, Libya story for the most part and that helped President Barack Obama a great deal. Had the media kept the story alive and on the front page, it would have done more damage than it did. Romney, too, is at fault for not using the Benghazi terrorist attack as he should have in his final months of the campaign.
Fifth, President Barack Obama is a great campaigner and Mitt Romney isn’t as strong a campaigner. Ironically, while many have scoffed at Obama’s being a community organizer more than anything else prior to his political career, it is likely that job that taught him much about successful campaigning and the terrific organization he has had in both elections. In 2012, he appears to have actually improved on what he did in 2008.
Sixth, though many people hate to admit it and hate to even hear it, race was a huge factor again in the Obama victory. Minorities obviously stick together and get the elective job done. Initial reports indicate that the minority support for Obama ended up being just as strong in 2012 as was in 2008 – 69% Latinos for Obama and 90-some percent of African-Americans for Obama. Whites obviously do not vote nearly as much due to a candidate’s race.
Seventh, Sandy and Chris Christie had impact in the final days of the campaign. Call it dumb luck on Obama’s part, but exit polls showed that a good number of people chose Obama over Romney due to Obama’s ability to look and be presidential during the past week’s Hurricane Sandy along the nation’s east coast. Of course, New Jersey’s Republican Governor, Chris Christie, enhanced the presidential look by uncharacteristically fawning over the Democratic president when Obama showed up to New Jersey just days before the national election.
Eighth, on Obama’s part, it was very effective to use former President Bill Clinton to try to convince Americans that it would take more than four years for anyone to improve the economy. After all, President Clinton did a great job with the national economy back in the 1990s during his two terms, and many people trust his opinion – whether he was right or wrong.
Ninth, the length of time campaigning for the presidency obviously has an impact on one’s ability to win an election. President Obama has been campaigning for practically his entire first term in office. Romney started much later – compared to Obama.
Tenth, Romney’s Mormon religion worked against him with many voters. One recent poll showed that as many as 18% of voters said they wouldn’t vote for a Mormon to be president of the United States. Unlike Obama having to squash rumors of him being a Muslim in the past, Romney’s religious facts cost him votes.
About Scott Paulson
Scott Paulson writes political commentary for Examiner.com and teaches English at a community college in the Chicago area. The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of CBS Local.