Wednesday, November 28, 2012

why Mitt Romney lost

A very telling op-ed here from Romney's chief campaign guru on the kind of moral victories Romney won. The piece begins with a bunch of tired campaign rhetoric you should probably skip: "from a small field in blah blah grew into A NATIONAL MOVEMENT..." Yawn. Later in the piece, Romney "captured the imagination of millions of Americans," whatever that even means. I guess Mitt Romney is Steven Spielberg or something.

What's helpful about it, though, are the things Stevens considers the campaign's great victories. First:

When much of what passes for a political intelligentsia these days predicted that the selection of Rep. Paul Ryan meant certain death on the third rail of Medicare and Social Security, Mitt Romney brought the fight to the Democrats and made the rational, persuasive case for entitlement reform that conservatives have so desperately needed. The nation listened, thought about it — and on Election Day, Mitt Romney carried seniors by a wide margin.
The only people who matter for "entitlements" are seniors? Then the much bigger tell:
On Nov. 6, Mitt Romney carried the majority of every economic group except those with less than $50,000 a year in household income. That means he carried the majority of middle-class voters. While John McCain lost white voters under 30 by 10 points, Romney won those voters by seven points, a 17-point shift.
 Those who make less than $50k/year aren't middle class, apparently. That should come as news to a tremendous number of people in that bracket. Also, it turns out that voters under 30 aren't important, just white voters under 30. I don't think I've ever heard anyone separate out the white youngsters from the rest, and that tells us something about how these people think. Who would even think to go there?

That's how the rest of the piece goes, finding different ways to say "black, black, black." "Angry bitterness." Barack Obama turned the Democratic party's "dependence on minority voters" into an advantage. "Charismatic African American." "A media that often felt morally conflicted about being critical."

I'm actually with Stevens in that I think rumors of the Republican Party's demise are greatly exaggerated. They lost by around 4 points with a strong incumbent and a weak challenger. They'll be fine. Nevertheless, how does one look at the subtext of this op-ed and not see that racism was a common thread binding most of the rhetoric of this campaign?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

the split decision

Remember how people were dreading a so-called "split decision" in the presidential election, whereby Mitt Romney loses the electoral college but wins the popular vote, as happened to Al Gore in 2000?

It actually did happen this year, just not to Mitt Romney. In the 2012 elections for the House of Representatives, Democrats received about half a million more votes than Republicans, but because of extensive Republican gerrymandering in 2010, Speaker Boehner still enjoys a roughly 30 seat majority.

30 seats, by the way, is not rough parity. That's a sizable majority by historical standards, bigger than any Newt Gingrich ever enjoyed during the halcyon days of the Contract with America.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Republicans are not one immigration bill away from winning the Hispanic vote

In the aftermath of President Obama's re-election, a lot has been made of the fact that not only did the Republican candidate receive a lower percentage of the African American, Asian, and Hispanic votes than they've gotten in a very long time, but that those margins appear to have been decisive. People are saying that the Republican party needs to moderate on immigration, and then it will suddenly be an attractive competitor for Hispanic votes.

On Up with Chris Hayes today, though, Hayes makes an important point: Hispanics have always been a Democratic constituency. George W. Bush secured 40% of the Hispanic vote, but that was the high water mark for the Republicans. Furthermore, exit polls show that on issue after issue, Hispanics are more liberal, not more conservative, than the country at large. People talk about Hispanics (and sometimes even African Americans) like they're a conservative demographic that just doesn't feel welcome in the GOP, but that isn't really the case.