Why We Lost

There’s going to be plenty of time to examine why Americans got it wrong last night, Save Jerseyans.

Four years to be exact.

My projection map was way off. I frankly didn’t believe the President’s campaign would hold his ’08 coalition together given the state of the economy and a more robust GOP challenge. A D+2 or +3 electorate? Sure. D+6? You win this time, Mr. Silver. Mea culpa… this blogger isn’t above admitting when he’s wrong!

Now on the morning after, like in the wake of all great disasters, there’s no one single discernible causation that is fully capable of explaining what’s transpired. We can guess and draw some conclusions. Among these ugly variableswas the fact that the Republican Party went from winning approximately 44% of the Hispanic vote in 2004 to just 29% in 2008. That’s a fatal swing for the GOP in a country that is now roughly 17% Hispanic. It also completely accounts for why certain states went “red” as recently as 2004 (Florida, Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico) but went blue this time around.

Other factors include, but are by no means limited to: (1) horrible Senate candidate selection processes in battleground states, (2) months of unanswered Obama negative ads in battleground states (compounded by a GOP primary that drove Romney’s personal unfavorable sky-high), and (3) a hurricane which took the focus off of the terrible economy for a full critical week.

But the single biggest factor in my mind, folks?

The financial crisis of 2008…

Consider what the exit polls found (which were much closer to 2010 in terms of accuracy). The Virginia exit polling (where Romney lost by a whisker hair) showed Romney up 53% to 45% when asked “who is better for economy.” Only 1 in 4 thought they were better off than four years ago! Supporting ObamaCare repeal? Yes, 49% to 46%…all translating to a win, right? No, because in Florida just like Virginia, where Romney also lost by the narrowest of all margins, “[s]lightly more than half of Florida voters believe President George W. Bush is to blame for the nation’s economic problems.”

It was a repeated pattern all night in most of the key states (almost all of which were very close). Americans weren’t happy with the economy, not thrilled with Obama’s handling of it, but still convinced — by a relatively small but significant margin — that it was the Bush-era GOP’s fault. Polls showed a majority of Americans believing Romney would better handle the economy yet, curiously, they still though he wasn’t as good for Middle Class.

Huh?

Again… there are plenty of reasons why a campaign comes up short. And in this case I do mean short. The national vote and the battleground margins are closer at this hour than they were in 2004. Football analogy? Romney got to Obama’s 5-yard line but couldn’t convert on 4th down. Game over.

It’s nevertheless abundantly clear how the Republican Party’s messaging failures of the Bush years weren’t fully absolved through losses in 2006 and 2008. The vast majority of yesterday’s voters had never heard of Barney Frank or Chris Dodd, the true architects of our housing crisis which, in turn, brought down the banks.

They aren’t familiar with Bill Clinton’s role in it, and they sure as heck don’t know how Barack Obama advocated for most of those failed policies before ascending to the presidency.

But they do acutely remember George W. Bush, and a critical mass simply weren’t convinced Romney/Romney ’12 was sufficiently different even though conflicting answers obtained by exit pollsters strongly suggests swing voters weren’t sure why/whether/how the financial crisis happened in the first place. Mass economic ignorance, I’m afraid. Going forward, logic tells me the “blame Bush” theme will run its course by 2016. At the same time, what’s logical about thinking the man who is worse for the economy is also good for the Middle Class?

Class warfare works, at least to a point.

More later…

 

Matt Rooney

Matt Rooney

Save Jersey’s Founder and Blogger-in-Chief, Matt Rooney is a widely-respected New Jersey political commentator, practicing attorney at the law firm of DeMichele & DeMichele in Haddon Heights, and a graduate of the Rutgers Camden School of Law.

29 Comments

  1. As long as you're admitting you're wrong, please be sure to state how YOU said that the only Republican who could beat Obama was Romney, when EVERYONE ELSE wanted… well, ANYONE else. He was losing to Cain, Bachmann, Newt, and Santorum at different time, but he outspent them all, and people began to vote for him on the premise of people like YOU saying only he could win.

    Maybe if people got to vote in the primaries for who they wanted rather than "the best chance to beat Obama", we would have BEATEN Obama.

    Nice job screwing the rest of us.

    • Logical fallacy, my friend.

      Romney was the best candidate in the field. Doesn't mean there weren't better candidates on the bench. But do I think Santorum or Newt would have done better with Hispanics? Or provided more of a contrast to the Bush years? No.

  2. Hey, there were just one too many unforced errors on the part of Romney. Obama didn't really have to do that much…..

    • Romney's biggest tactical mistake? Not finding a way to get more stuff up on the battleground airwaves sooner. Solidified negative perceptions.

  3. The Republican party couldn't sell snowballs in hell. Its campaign strategy does not address the average voter. In addition it has a reputation as the party of the rich and intolerant.

    I think that the Republican party brand has been damaged beyond repair. Its time to abandon the Repulican name and history and establish an effective, national Conservative party

  4. We can win more Hispanics in 2016. Look at the recent victories with Ted Cruz in Texas and Marco Rubio in Florida. It'll take time to catch on but it'll happen.

  5. The American economy crashed at the end of Bush's EIGTH YEAR as our President, yet he's not accountable? . It went far beyond the housing crisis…..lets not forget 2 wars (and that little detail about finding "weapons of mass destruction" that were never there). It's amazing that you find a way of blaming Democrats, and Obama for just about "everything", yet you don't hold your own with the same standards . If it had been Obama or Clinton who had led the country into the Iraq and Afghanistan wars with identical circumstances – your party would have had either of them impeached. If you can impeach a president for lying about a sexual indiscretion, I would think misleading a country into war would certainly meet the criteria. The level of hypocrisy within your party is appalling.

    And by the way…..the American's got it "right" last nite!

  6. There alot more factors in play: ( I do understand Clinton got rid of some of the controls which helped created Crash)

    A: It been said the Rep party has only won the popular vote in the last 6 elections "2004" So the since 1992 there not getting the support of the public.

    B: If you have notice the turn out has Bumped again, back in the good old days it was around 50% and somewhere along the line Same of the other 50-Lazy-% good off there back side and started letting there voice be heard and it seems there were not happy with the Rep Party.

    C: Mitt, He was not the best place, A man who flip flop all over the place and has moved and changed his view to many times, this week center Mitt, Next week Hard Right Mitt etc. But Nor were most of the other Canadaties appeared from the Republican Party, WHY? I believe the only person that could have had a real chance could have been Ron Paul.

    D: That TAX Cut for the top 1% being allowed to continue, sorry but that should be killed off Most of the people in that top 1% have not seen there life's gone down hill, most have still seen big raising there there wages. It did not help there tax cuts from 03 help push up the debt

    E: Why Does the Rep come across So bad to Non White men and woman voters?

    F: What Does the Rep Party STAND FOR? I have nor does most other people. It keeps changing, it needs to be singing of the same page. Tea party can win since it got back the house in 2010. Maybe if there started doing stuff like that and made it clear how getting rid of the debt, reducing government spending and most programmes free up more cash for tax cuts. but Mitt wanted more spending and more tax cuts it cant worked like that. It needs to be one or the other. I think there should go for broke and move to the Tea party side ( Ron Paul) Make it clear what it stands for…..

    Why move to the centre? that makes it no different to Democrats….. Look at the UK the Tory party moved more to the Centre and could not even win outright in 2010, against a high spending Left wing party who had been in power since 1997 and from the point of the crash starting in 2008.

    G: Mitt was from massachusetts, Of course anyone from that place has never won the Elections, Look at Walter Mondale, Kerry, both from massachusetts

  7. Seriously? Pull your head out of your south end. Romney was a great candidate. He could have been less of a gentleman & gotten just as dirty as the Obama camp, but he took the higher road – and we all know where that gets you. It's the voters who are lacking. They are uninformed on the issues, can have their vote "bought" with subsidies, and want everything for nothing. They have proved they will vote for a liar who doesn't give a rat's ass about 4 dead Americans in Benghazi. Do us all a favor and put away your Ron Paul signs, put on your big boy pants & direct your anger & energy in a more productive direction.

  8. Here is why you lost:

    1. You are wrong on the issues.

    2. Your candidate flip=flopped on every major issue.

    3. George Bush and Dick Cheney

    4.Your candidate had no plan whatsoever except the 20% tax cut.

    5.You are controlled by the tea party.

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  10. An obvious non-partisan conclusion would be, that the people rejected the Republican message. Actions speak louder than words, and the Republican actions belied their words,

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