To my fellow Republicans, my friends, and all others…

November 20, 2012 13:15 pm

by Mike Hassinger · 56 comments

(Note: As a rule, we try to keep things at Peach Pundit focused on state and local issues. But after I sent this out as an email to some personal friends and posted it on my facebook page, our Editor-in-charge requested I post it here as well. So I’m breaking the “Georgia politics” rule, but only because Charlie made me.)

Enough of you have contacted me to ask “what happened” in the Presidential election that I’m going to try to answer you all at once. This is personal, but I’m sharing it widely and you may feel free to share or forward it to your friends (and other despondent Republicans) if you’d like. (It’s also kind of long, so I apologize in advance).

Lots of you are depressed. You’ve probably had to endure a solid week of Democrat gloating -that’s fine, everyone’s entitled to gloat after their side wins an election. It’s a rule, and I’ve gloated myself more times than I am proud of. We should smile and let the Democrats continue to gloat. Don’t get mad, get gracious. But we do need to ignore the class of professional pundits, especially the ones on “our side,” who are criticizing Mitt Romney, the campaign, the party or our conservative values, and telling us what we need to do now. Every one of those criticisms is constructed like this: “We lost because the (party/candidate/campaign) wasn’t (conservative/moderate/hawkish/dovish) enough to suit my PERSONAL values, just like I told you back in (insert date here)”.  The circular firing squad needs to be dismissed, if not from the airwaves, then from our own minds, immediately. They are wrong and here’s why.

First, we need to remember that it’s nearly impossible to get people to turn out an incumbent president. Our nation has only done that 10 times in our history and only 5 times since 1900. In 1912, mainly due to a rift in the Republican party, Woodrow Wilson (with help from Teddy Roosevelt) beat William Howard Taft. Franklin Roosevelt and the Great Depression beat Herbert Hoover in 1932. Jimmy Carter and Watergate beat the appointed-not-elected Gerald Ford in 1976. That leaves only Ronald Reagan in 1980 and Bill Clinton in 1992, the “greatest communicator” and the “greatest campaigner,” who have been able to defeat incumbent Presidents. It’s a tall order, even for a man as kind, decent, generous and qualified as Mitt Romney.

Second, this election was CLOSE. (If you’re going to believe the electoral vote count indicates some sort of sweeping mandate, then stop reading this now and go study math and the Constitution until you’re smarter than a Democrat.) How close? Look at four battleground/swing states: Colorado, Ohio, Virginia and Florida.

Colorado went to Obama by 113,099 votes. Margin of win? Over 4%.  But Romney did 1.8% better than John McCain did in 2008, and Obama did 2.5% worse than his own 2008 performance. Romney closed the gap in Colorado, just not enough. (And do you think marijuana on the ballot helped the Democrat or the Republican?)

Ohio went to Obama by 103,481 votes or 1.96%, out of more that 3.6 million votes cast. Again, Romney did 1.4% better than McCain in 2008, and Obama performed 1.2% worse. (Those margins may shift with the outstanding ~300,000 provisional ballots still being canvassed in Ohio, but the outcome probably won’t.)

Virginia: Obama won by only 115,910 more votes out of nearly 3.7 million -even though Romney was up 1.4% over McCain 2008, and Obama was down 1.8%.

In our nation’s most embarrassing state, Florida, nearly 8.4 million ballots were counted and only 73,858 (less than 1%) more of them were for Obama than Romney. (Again, Romney improved McCain’s numbers by 1% and Obama decreased his own numbers by just under 1%.)

Those four close states represent 69 electoral votes that, had 204,000 people voted the other way, would have given Romney the presidency.

So, think about those numbers as you hear that because of the “devastating loss,” and “crushing defeat,” that “Republicans must win over left-handed, unmarried, bisexual single-mothers under 40.” Not according to history, and not according to the numbers. A “mandate for Obama?” Please. Obama won fewer votes than legalized marijuana! Cheech and Chong got a bigger mandate.

Another myth you need to ignore: “Romney was too moderate -he won 3 million fewer votes than McCain!”  No, Romney took less than 1 million fewer votes than McCain nationwide  -even after losing a million total Republican votes in California! (Where, AGAIN, Romney eked out a tiny percentage higher than McCain did in ’08). Romney outperformed McCain in every single battleground state except Ohio, and the “missing Republican votes” were in California, Washington, Illinois, New York and New Jersey. But Obama won 7.5 million fewer votes overall in 2012 than he did in 2008. You’re not hearing THAT on the news, are you? Anybody saying Obama was “too moderate” this year?

Let me focus my own laser-like, pundit-grade insight on why 2012 Romney might have performed worse than 2008 McCain in New York and New Jersey. I seem to have heard something about the weather in that part of the country recently. I remember being told the President doing a “good job” in his bomber jacket, flying over some damaged areas, and being told what a “great job” he was doing by some sniveling, lard-assed Bruce Springsteen fangirl -oh wait, no, that was the Governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, an alleged Republican. I remember that because it WAS ALL OVER THE NEWS. Exit polls conducted by the AP say about 42% of voters said the President’s response to the storm was a factor in their vote. So that might have changed a few minds, and the fact that power is STILL out on parts of Staten Island and the region might have depressed Republican turnout. Those folks might walk across broken glass to vote, but apparently they WON’T walk barefoot through cold, raw sewage to a polling place without electricity. I don’t blame them, and I don’t blame Mitt Romney. As I write this, some folks up there STILL don’t have power. We should send some non-union power crews to help out. We did? And they were turned away? Oh, well. I can’t wait for CNN’s follow-up stories on Obama’s handling of Hurricane Sandy. Heckuva job, Barry.

This was a base vs. base election, and their side out-hustled our side by a whisker, and they have a bigger base. Since they own the media, academia and Hollywood, they also completely control the narrative and easily defined our candidate in their terms. But we can’t let ourselves off the hook. We know the media is in the tank for Obama -but we knew that 4 years ago and didn’t adjust, and still haven’t adjusted. That’s on us. The polls that we screamed were “skewed” because they “oversampled Democrats,” were not skewed. That’s on us, too. There ARE more Democrats than Republicans and we need to ask ourselves some very hard questions about why that is. Some of those questions may be bitter medicine for some of you, so I’ll follow up on that later.

For now, though, my political advice is: clear your eyes. Come in off the ledge and unpack the moving van. Tune OUT the chattering class -all of them- Limbaugh, Hannity, Karl Rove, CNN, the Sunday shows with David Frum and David Brooks and my friend Erick Erickson on the radio and everyone else. Fill your hearts. Thanksgiving is on us -go cook something delicious and share it with family and friends and people you love and your in-laws too. Know you are “blessed” as my friend Monica Luck reminds me and others. Believe what my son said last week: “The Republic will stand.” It has. It will. Win or lose, the sun always comes up after election to reveal a world much bigger, and brighter and fuller than mere politics. There’s more grace and joy and beauty in the world than any of us could ever use -go find some, take more than you need and then go share it. You’ll feel better, and we’re gonna need you feeling better next time. There’s always a next time in America.

Left Turn Only November 20, 2012 at 1:46 pm

My “sage” advice to the Republican Party is obvious – play to your strengths. You have always been a party of the robber barons and industrialists – which doesn’t necessarily mean that, tempered by Democratic populism, that’s a bad thing. You made a pact with the devil when you aligned with the religious nuts, the anti-choice, ten commandments in the public square folks. And, of course, you alienated large groups of people with your coded racial strategy to win the Southern vote. No, no, don’t protest. It’s people like D.A. King, your anti immigrant darling, who helped Obama win this election. You don’t have to be a fortune teller to know the tide has turned on same sex marriage. And for all the BS out there, the fact is that Catholics use birth control and have abortions at about the same rate as everyone else. So dismiss the tail that is wagging the dog. Bring back the pragmatists and hunker down on what you do best. And here’s another flash – gratuitously humiliating the black population of Fulton and Atlanta just because gerrymandering gave you a majority in those delegations will come back to bite you,

atlanta_advocate November 20, 2012 at 2:47 pm

A word of advice: never take advice from the other side, especially when the other side does not respect you or have your best interests in heart, as in the case with Left Turn Only. Taking the advice of guys like this will result in the GOP being a marginalized regional party like it was for most of the 20th century, and it will of course free the Democrats to go further to the left, which is what they want to do anyway. The Democrats who keep screaming “go left, go left!” to the GOP really want the GOP to become what the Democrats are today so that the Democrats can take the positions that they really want, which are the Green and Socialist parties of Europe.

xdog November 20, 2012 at 2:11 pm

Mike, you could have skipped all but your last graf.

Have a great Thanksgiving.

David Staples November 20, 2012 at 2:34 pm

Thanks for posting this Mike! I read it on Facebook, but I’ll comment here…

“We lost because the (party/candidate/campaign) wasn’t (conservative/moderate/hawkish/dovish) enough to suit my PERSONAL values, just like I told you back in (insert date here)”.

Here’s where I typically have issues with the Republican Party. One person’s PERSONAL values do not always equal another’s. Thus, in keeping with the smaller government theme that so many of my Republican friends insist that the GOP stands for, wouldn’t getting out of establishing certain laws based on personal values actually shrink the size of government? Gambling is the issue that I typically bring up the most because it seems to be the one that finds the most support within the GOP.

Let me give you an example. My boss lives in Germany. His boss lives in Canada. On various Sunday afternoons (evenings in Europe) my co-workers around the world will get together to play a game of online poker – for money. It’s never much, but it’s fun… or so I’ve been told. Care to take a guess as to why I can’t join? Because I live in “the land of the free”, where gambling my own hard earned money on a game of online poker isn’t legal.

I understand some of you have moral objections to gambling. And that’s completely fine. But to impose one’s moral objections on other people who may not share your views (in rather large numbers might I add) I would argue is immoral in and of itself. Having grown up in a Southern Baptist Church, I heard sermons on the topic of “free will”. I think some people have either not heard those sermons or they walked away from them with a different take on them than I did.

It’s time that the Republican Party focus back on fiscal conservatism and leave social conservatism to each of its individual members. We won’t all agree on whether it’s moral to drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes (or the illegal natural alternative), play games of chance, or a variety of other things… but that’s okay. We can each hold those beliefs individually without imposing them on our neighbors who may just be responsible adults and able to make those types of decisions for themselves.

atlanta_advocate November 20, 2012 at 3:06 pm

“It’s time that the Republican Party focus back on fiscal conservatism and leave social conservatism to each of its individual members.”

You mean back when the GOP did when it was a tiny regional party that got hammered in presidential elections, was irrelevant in Congressional/gubernatorial/state house elections and couldn’t pass any agenda? Wow, those were the days …

Look. Go back to any electoral map before 1980. You will see that the south and midwest were solidly, consistently Democratic. The white conservative evangelicals – including your Southern Baptists – either stayed at home, or when they did vote they were good New Deal Democrats. It was the social issues that got the evangelicals that weren’t voting out to vote, and it was social issues that got the evangelicals away from the New Deal coalition and into the Reagan coalition.

Take the social issues away, and the white evangelicals either go back to staying at home, or go back to voting Democrat because of pocketbook issues. When that happens, you’ll likely have a great time in the GOP without all those bothersome social conservatives, but you’ll be having it all by yourself. It will be just you, Rudy Giuliani and some guys named Ford and Rockefeller. Oh yeah, and Johnny Isakson. Forgot about him.

The people who keep saying that the GOP needs to abandon social issues always forget that without social issues the GOP never wins squat. Moderate Republicans can’t even win in the northeast and far west anymore. If socially liberal Republicanism won’t win elections in Oregon and Massachusetts, what makes you think that it will in Oklahoma and Georgia?

drjay November 20, 2012 at 3:21 pm

yes that has always been what was remarkable to me about the 72 election, how poorly nixon did in the south and midwest….

atlanta_advocate November 20, 2012 at 3:31 pm

Oh, Nixon ran on social issues all right. And we all know what they were …

drjay November 20, 2012 at 4:34 pm

ok fine look at ike in 56, he won places like fla, and tenn (whose senator was on the ticket)and texas and loiusiana–i just do not accept your notion of the gop as a regional party failing nationally when it has won numerous prez races even before 1980, i think it’s actually about half and half since the gop became a party…although each side has had “runs” of several elections in a row…

benevolus November 20, 2012 at 3:28 pm

Ah, the Southern Strategy. Worked once, why not again?

David Staples November 20, 2012 at 3:36 pm

I’m not a Southern Baptist myself… but was raised in that setting.

“the white evangelicals either go back to staying at home, or go back to voting Democrat because of pocketbook issues”

You’ve basically validated my point. If someone believes in larger government, higher taxes, more spending… you know, pocketbook issues… so long as they’re for implementing laws that essentially implement Biblical values as they interpret them, it’s okay for them to call themselves a Republican?

Here’s the thing… the younger generation? We don’t care as much about the social issues as we do the fiscal ones. I don’t give a rat’s patootie if Bubba makes his own moonshine… so long as it doesn’t infringe upon my rights. I do care about the amount of taxes I pay, the fact that it takes so many hours to comply with government regulations for my small business and to file my income taxes (if I want to take advantage of the various deductions anyways). I do care that I don’t see any end in sight to our borrow and spend policies that have gone on for way too long.

Oregon and Massachusetts have completely different demographics than Georgia. Find a valid comparison and let’s talk. Having just come off the campaign trail as a candidate who wasn’t running as an R or D, I can tell you that there are a number of fiscally conservative “Democrats” who are only members of the Democratic Party because of social issues and what they see as hatred by those in the Republican Party. I know people who call themselves “Democrats” who are more fiscally conservative than people I know who call themselves “Republicans”. If that doesn’t boggle the mind…

AMB November 20, 2012 at 3:50 pm

Mr. Staples, can you drive down the Stone Mountain Freeway and pick up your campaign signs? KThxBye.

David Staples November 20, 2012 at 3:54 pm

Can you tell me approximately where they’re at and I’ll see if I can figure out which volunteer put them out and see if they can go get them? I don’t have any plans to be on that side of town for at least a few weeks, but would like to make sure they get picked up. Feel free to e-mail me at david (at) ponytailacres.org. Thanks! :-)

AMB November 20, 2012 at 5:12 pm

They were at each exit. However I have been told the DUI boys have been picking up litter this week and it may no longer be a problem. Will check in person tomorrow.

kyleinatl November 20, 2012 at 4:27 pm

Except voters have greater access to information today than they did when the GOP struggled to win over voters in the south…to think those voters would now turn blue is a fallacy, they may stay home, but Dems won’t gain anything. On the other hand, with a more moderate or lassez-faire social stance, there’s a mighty good chance they could start to win over those that vote Democrat simply for social issues. It’s a matter of growing a shrinking base with one more vote for you being one less vote for them, hanging onto the evangelicals will not do that.

benevolus November 20, 2012 at 5:33 pm

I think that most mainstream Americans of either Party are not too far apart on most issues. It’s just that with a 2 party system, we have to magnify our differences in order for candidates to distinguish themselves. I would like to think that in the grand scheme of things, our system will tend towards consensus solutions. In other words, we will eventually find the right thing to do for most people. We should be happy about this. If we are arguing about different ways to pay for the wonderful health care that we get, that’s a good thing!
I really do think the time is ripe for additional parties, but it’s a chicken and egg thing- nobody votes for Libertarians because they can’t win. Libertarian can’t win because nobody will vote for them. We really need more ranked choice voting. This would let more “minor” parties flourish. Get that going on the local and state levels and let’s see what happens. Imagine a city council with 3 Dems, 3 Repubs, a Libertarian, maybe a Green Party member, maybe even a Socialist. It would all be about alliances, but I think everyone would realize that there are several population segments being represented and they all deserve a voice. You don’t have to take the opposite position of your opponent just because they are your opponent anymore: You couldn’t, with 3 or 4 or 5 opponents.

Alas, incumbents are not inclined to invite more competition to the game.

Harry November 20, 2012 at 3:12 pm

Certain laws are needed to attempt to protect people from themselves and those around them. The most extreme example are laws against suicide and infanticide. Are they always effective? No. But perhaps they do have a deterrent effect in some cases. However, I do agree that many laws on the books are beyond reason. For example, laws prohibiting internet gambling or attempting to control certain mildly addictive but not too destructive substances are beyond the limits of what is required. They are simply in place to limit competition with government monopolies, special interests, and sources of revenue.

ryanhawk November 20, 2012 at 5:08 pm

Thanks for running David. You got my vote. The PSC results were depressing, and I think revealing — there is no way should Stan Wise do better than Chuck Eaton. The only difference voters could have possibly been aware of were the party labels, and the L brand is very obviously a non-starter. I wish it were different, but it does not appear to be so. It is relevant to the discussion going forward. Not only can an L not win, neither can an L leaning republican. The Social conservatives run the GOP in the South and that’s a fact we can’t avoid.

David Staples November 20, 2012 at 5:44 pm

Thank you for your vote! I think an L leaning Republican can win given the right situation. I gave it my best shot at winning as an L. If I happen to run again, I’ll most likely run under one of the two major parties next time. I talked to a number of people who found out about Stan’s antics after they had already voted a straight R ticket. Unfortunately, since they had early voted, they couldn’t change their vote.

Either way, what’s done is done. I get to go back to the private sector and my small businesses. I’m completely happy in the private sector and only ran to try and get a crony out of office. On the bright side, it gives me time to add another revenue stream to our horse related activities. :-)

AMB November 20, 2012 at 2:41 pm

Close? Close? Close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and atomic bombs.

drjay November 20, 2012 at 3:02 pm

i don’t think the hating on gov christie is necessary…should really be an “above politics” moment even if the timing is inconvienent to a campaign…

Three Jack November 20, 2012 at 3:17 pm

From Christie’s perspective, if Romney won, no chance for a 2016 run in the GOP. Christie, Rubio, Ryan, Jindal, et al had to have an ‘oh boy’ moment around 10pm on election night when it became clear Obama would win.

Thanks for the stat analysis Mike. But even with the number crunching showing a tighter race than it appeared on election night, the GOP must admit they put forth a very flawed candidate from an extremely flawed field of potential nominees. If the outlying party cannot overtake an incumbent party running on a record of abject economic failure, then the blame falls squarely on the challenging bunch. The GOP has now lost the popular vote in 5 0f the last 6 presidential elections, it is time for dynamic new leadership capable of putting forth bold ideas, then standing firm when the inevitable media onslaught attempts to disparage these ideas. Otherwise history will just keep repeating itself and eventually the GOP will run out of people other than themselves to blame.

David C November 20, 2012 at 3:20 pm

Actually, the numbers show a less tight race than on election night. If you went to bed around midnight then, Obama led around 50-49 in the popular vote. As more votes have come in, it’s closer to 51-47.5.

atlanta_advocate November 20, 2012 at 3:35 pm

A lot of people are claiming this, but it is bunk. There is no evidence that Christie even wants to be president. And Christie knows that he would have real problems with voters in places other than New Jersey. He is a social moderate, his abrasive demeanor would alienate people outside the northeast, and then there is the weight issue.

It is amazing that so many people believe that Christie should have been thinking about helping Romney than doing what was best for his state in a real crisis. (Also … Christie might have been following the Nate Silver blog instead of the Rasmussen poll and knew that Romney had no chance either way. Pretty much everyone outside the talk radio/Fox News bubble knew that Romney was in real trouble.)

David C November 20, 2012 at 3:52 pm

Christie has no chance in a 2016 GOP primary due to social issues, etc. Hugging the President is only good for him as he runs for reelection in a very blue state in 2013. And more importantly, caring about doing good for his state instead of doing good for Mitt Romney is the best thing for him to be doing as Governor, period, election or no election. Failure to lead and partisan political BS in the midst of a disaster is political kryptonite: Just ask Gov. Blanco and Pres. Bush.

Of course, the idea that Christie or Sandy particularly cost Romney votes in NJ and NY is silly in the first place. Check the latest popular vote totals (https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/lv?key=0AjYj9mXElO_QdHpla01oWE1jOFZRbnhJZkZpVFNKeVE&f=true&noheader=false&gid=19 ) Turnout is down in both places (down 12% in NJ and 19% in NY) although that could also be votes uncounted due to disruption from Sandy, etc. Romney lost 0.76% of the vote in NJ relative to McCain and gained 0.06% in NY. But the hard numbers, both for O and R are far off their ’08 totals. In ’08 Obama had a 602K margin in NJ and a 2.1M margin in NY. So far his margins 580K and 1.65M respectively. So that’s almost 475,000 off his national popular vote margin, which currently stands at about 4.3 million. So if anything, at least as it impacted the NY/NJ electorate, neither the storm nor Christie realistically helped or hurt Romney and may well have hurt Obama’s national vote total.

benevolus November 20, 2012 at 4:10 pm

I think the argument is that people saw Obama acting presidential on TV and it might have swayed their vote. Obama was going to win NJ and NY anyway, depressed turnout or not. I won’t deny that it probably helped, but it could have just as easily not helped.
There’s always something in October isn’t there.

David C November 20, 2012 at 4:12 pm

Nope, he actually talks about “why 2012 Romney might have performed worse than 2008 McCain in New York and New Jersey.”

Three Jack November 20, 2012 at 5:17 pm

‘no evidence that Christie even wants to be president’. Except everything he does daily to make sure his name remains atop the potential candidate list.

bgsmallz November 20, 2012 at 3:19 pm

Good thoughts, Mike. Thanks for sharing. Happy Thanksgiving.

atlanta_advocate November 20, 2012 at 3:22 pm

The attacks on Chris Christie are appalling. His state got hammered by a major hurricane/snowstorm. What was he supposed to do? Give the president offering him disaster relief the cold shoulder in order to help Romney’s re-election prospects? Also, had Christie behaved any other way, he would have gotten shredded by the national media for putting politics over people’s lives in a disaster.

“As I write this, some folks up there STILL don’t have power. We should send some non-union power crews to help out. We did? And they were turned away? Oh, well.” Yeah, as if the Obama administration had anything to do with that. “I can’t wait for CNN’s follow-up stories on Obama’s handling of Hurricane Sandy. Heckuva job, Barry.” So, the problem with Hurricane Katrina wasn’t that it was a complete and total breakdown of leadership on the state, local and federal level but that the media talked about it? So, had the media not talked about all those people stranded in the Superdome and convention center without food, water, medicine or power and traipsing through disease-carrying water for weeks, it would have been just fine? And like it or not, it was Bush’s decision to make some two bit lawyer-fundraiser THE DIRECTOR OF FEMA. And to think that your side is allegedly the party of personal responsibility. How about this: next time the financial sector spends over a decade miring themselves in scandal, lawbreaking and immoral activity and it takes down the economy, do not make your presidential nominee a guy from private equity! Next time you want to win votes from the midwest, don’t nominate a guy who says that it would have been better had we let our auto manufacturers go bankrupt than to bail them out and let them pay the money back! Or at the very least, if you are going to vote for an anti-bailout guy, don’t vote for one who opposed the bailouts of the car companies but supported the bailout of the banks! Oh, I am sorry, I guess it is the media’s fault and Chris Christie’s fault that you guys nominated Romney instead of Tim Pawlenty. That you nominated a private equity flip-flopper like Romney instead of a guy with a long consistent center-right record who worked his way up to being vice president of a software company like Pawlenty and put together an excellent record working with Democrats in a swing midwestern state. Nope, it is all the fault of Chris Christie, Hurricane Sandy and the media that you guys nominated the candidate that midwestern swing and conservative voters were the least likely to vote for!

You say that the race was close? (That’s funny. I don’t recall conservatives saying that Bush didn’t have a mandate because the race was even closer in 2004.) Well that just means that had Pawlenty been the nominee instead of RomneyCare “bail out the financial crooks but not the car companies who were more unlucky than corrupt” Mitt, you guys would have won Virginia, Ohio, Colorado and Florida. You guys nominated the wrong candidate – again – and want to blame everyone for it but your own primary voters. Huckabee would have cleaned Obama’s clock in 2008, Pawlenty would have won comfortably this time. Meanwhile, the Democrats nominated their strongest candidate in 2008 and he proved how strong a candidate (as a politician) he was in 2012. Until your side deals with that fact, in 2016 you’ll be right where you are now.

bgsmallz November 20, 2012 at 4:17 pm

I believe what he said was it was close because “Those four close states represent 69 electoral votes that, had 204,000 people voted the other way, would have given Romney the presidency.”

204,000 votes. Draw your own conclusions on what close is.

David C November 20, 2012 at 5:03 pm

Judging by historical standards, not that close:

http://www.mit.edu/~mi22295/elections.html

McCain, despite losing by 7% and 10 million votes, only needed 445,912.

The 204,000 vote margin is far greater than that necessary for these other close election losers:

Kerry: 57,787
Gore: 269
Ford: 9,246
Humphrey: 135,284
Nixon ’60: 11,874
Dewey ’48: 29,294
Hughes: 1,887

It’s also not that far off some recent rather large election losers:
Dole ’96: 575,515
Bush ’92: 284,837
Dukakis: 537,766

Even in the Eisenhower landslide of ’52, where he won 39/48 states, 442/533 electoral votes, and the popular vote 55-44, a 713,453 vote swing in several states would have won Adlai Stevenson the presidency. So while 204,000 votes seems like a little, in the grand scheme of things, it’s a lot.

bgsmallz November 21, 2012 at 7:34 pm

So what you are saying is that in the last 40 years this election was the 4th closest election out of the 11 elections to take place ….and yet it wasn’t close by ‘historical’ standards?

Sorry, but your spin doesn’t seem to fit the facts you present. Not to mention trying to play off a comparison of the raw number of votes needed to win 1960 when 68 Million people voted to 2012 when 126 Million voted seems a bit sketchy.

Math always wins, suckas!

Mike was taking 4 battleground states…whereas you were borrowing a methodology to get you to the number with the smallest amount of votes. If you went VA, OH, FL, and NH instead of Colorado, you get 270 and only 166K votes needed to swing the election. 166,000 in a 126M vote election…I know ‘close’ is a matter of opinion, but even in comparison to the spin you tried to pull, it’s clear that this was a close election.

icowrich November 22, 2012 at 12:33 am

The number isn’t 204,000 any more. Votes are still being tallied, but, as of right now, Obama leads in those states by 386,362 (and growing).

That now beats both of W’s victories and Clinton’s ’92 win. That would make this the 3rd biggest victory margin out of the last 6, behind only Clinton in ’96 and Obama’s own margin in ’04.

Of course, the biggest problem with this Monday morning quarterbacking is that you can’t just sway 400,000 votes in those four states. To move the needle, you have to change public opinion generally. By Silver’s analysis, to get those 400,000 votes, you’d have to change the race nationally by about 5 points (which would have required about 6 million votes, nationwide). That would have been a tall order.

On the popular vote count, Obama now leads by 3.28 points, which is a lead of more than 4.1 million votes. That number is also growing.

Complete math always wins, suckas!

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/lv?key=0AjYj9mXElO_QdHpla01oWE1jOFZRbnhJZkZpVFNKeVE&toomany=true#gid=19

icowrich November 22, 2012 at 12:34 am

“Obama’s own margin in ’04.”
I meant ’08, of course.

Pamdavidson November 20, 2012 at 3:27 pm

excellent Mike in your analysis and the attitude you are trying to encourage.

Harry November 20, 2012 at 3:41 pm

In the future I will not support Republicans who pursue a negative primary campaign. It’s divisive. Primaries should be focused on discussing the issues.

WesleyC November 20, 2012 at 3:42 pm

This is a strange argument. As far as I can tell, it basically boils down to “we need some introspection and clear-headed soul searching”……”which we can accomplish by blaming Chris Christie for doing his job, pretending the election was closer than it was, and refusing to accept that the GOP’s message has been rejected by a majority of Americans for 5 of the past 6 elections. Oh yeah, and let me throw in the name Barry as a tasteless dog-whistle.” Doesn’t strike me as a convincing road to political salvation.

Mike Hassinger November 20, 2012 at 5:20 pm

You think the nickname our President used HIMSELF until he went to college is a “tasteless dog whistle?”
Racist.

The Last Democrat in Georgia November 20, 2012 at 5:26 pm

Here’s some even more valuable advice that can help Republicans stop shooting themselves in the foot, Barney Fife-style, in close elections that are theirs for the taking: STOP TALKING ABOUT RAPE!!!!!…Because for some odd reason, a bunch of dirty old creeps (the female repellent team of Akin & Murdock immediately come to mind) saying that they want to force women to carry their rapists’ babies to term just seems to be kind of a turn-off to female voters that more than likely might have voted heavily for the GOP because of economic concerns.

Yet another piece of very valuable advice that might help the GOP with the female vote in elections that should be a “gimme”: DO NOT AT ANYTIME EVEN IMPLY THAT YOU WANT TO DEFUND, RESTRICT ACCESS TO AND/OR OUTRIGHT BAN CONTRACEPTION, because, yet again, for some odd reason, contraception just seems to be really popular with female, and for that matter a lot of, male, voters.
http://thinkprogress.org/health/2011/10/19/348007/rick-santorum-pledges-to-defund-contraception-its-not-okay-its-a-license-to-do-things/

Republicans might also be well-advised to ease back somewhat on the abortion talk. Republicans don’t have to stop talking about abortion, just try talking about it in slightly less abrasive terms so as not to appear as a bunch of sick, psychotic, sadistic creeps. Stay away from veering into talking about abortion in extreme terms where the party appears to want to ban contraception (which, btw, is used for more than just birth control) and force women to want to carry dead babies and the babies of their rapists to term.

Just to sum up what Republicans should talk about moving forward:
Economy – Yes.
Fiscal Responsibility – Yes.
Personal Responsibility – Yes.
Smaller, less wasteful, more responsive and more efficient governance – Yes.
Family Values – Yes.
Abortion – Yes, but with care in a way that is a lot more persuasive and a lot less forceful without the “creep factor”.
Contraception – NO!!!
Rape – HELL NO!!!!!

Noway November 20, 2012 at 5:29 pm

Elections are won on emotion not logic. It’s always been like that and will NEVER change. Do you remember when Dukakas tried to win on compentency? Didn’t work in ’88 and didn’t work here. Mitt was right in the logic for electing him, but the Dems put out commercials playing to the moocher’s emotions and Obama won. (Mitt killed the union goon’s wife, he’s a SOB who closed plant’s just to throw folks out of work, Paul Ryan wants to throw Granny off the cliff, you know the rest..) Those who rob Peter to pay Paul can always count on the support of Paul. We are surrounded by millions of freeloading Pauls who love their free stuff. And I don’t blame them for not wanting to kill the Goose who’s giving them something for nothing. There was a sage who said many, many moons ago that once the electorate figures out they can use the treasury as an instrument of plunder, then the country is pretty much screwed. We’re there. Class warfare works every time it’s tried. We’re f***ed as a nation.

Dave Bearse November 20, 2012 at 10:31 pm

I think close elections are the new normal. On one hand there are significant numbers of people (Dems included) safely ensconced in social or information bubbles. On the other there are focus groups, polling, and other information age tools to provide candidates prompt feedback used to adjust campaigns.

And the art of comprimise becomes harder and more complicated.

greencracker November 20, 2012 at 10:36 pm

_Florida_ our most embarrassing state?

Well, for once I’m going to have to disagree with a PP declaration.

David C November 21, 2012 at 12:39 am

I mean, Mississippi still exists, right?

The Last Democrat in Georgia November 21, 2012 at 5:10 am

In addition to Mississippi, I’m also pretty darn sure that the other perennial contenders for the highly-coveted title of “Most Embarrassing State”, like California, Arizona, Illinois, West Virginia, Kansas, South Carolina, Alabama and our very own Georgia, might have something to say about the declaration that Florida is our most embarrassing state.

Charlie November 21, 2012 at 9:02 am

I think Florida is still the only state with a page on Fark.com

Ken November 21, 2012 at 1:40 pm

Just once? ;-)

I Miss the 90s November 21, 2012 at 10:36 am

If the GOP wants to hear the real reason they lost, I think you look no further than Jindal. The storm, Christie’s response, etc, those are excuses made by upset conservatives looking for a scapegoat (and you people better cool off before you ruin the 2016 election, if Christie, or someone like him, is not the nominee you are losing again).

Drop the evangelical right-wing and the Tea Party (which is basically the same thing) and you guys can move forward.

Stefan November 21, 2012 at 12:45 pm

You know who is most pissed about Chris Christie cozying up to Obama? Cory Booker. That guy was planning on running for Governor.

Joshua Morris November 21, 2012 at 10:42 am

The last paragraph of this article demonstrates some very rose-colored glasses. This administration has been a steaming pile of poo, and the People of this Nation went back and asked for more. We are a society of increasingly lazy and unmotivated people that believe government, the great magic machine on a hill, should provide a wealthy lifestyle for our minimal efforts. This is a disgrace to the “animated contest of freedom” our founders envisioned.

Wealth creators are finding places to hide their money rather than keep it in the economy. We’re on our own for now, and we’re going to be so deep in debt when this term is over that any potential debt reduction discussion will have to be a generational proposition. Good job, proletariat. Way to not see past the end of your collective nose.

kyleinatl November 21, 2012 at 12:04 pm

Ya know what doesn’t inspire voters? Accusing them of being “takers” and “lazy”… whether true or not, you won’t win over any hearts or minds that way.

Joshua Morris November 21, 2012 at 1:08 pm

This is why truth doesn’t win elections in this country anymore.

benevolus November 21, 2012 at 1:25 pm

Perhaps thinking that one has “the truth” is part of the problem too.

Ken November 21, 2012 at 1:38 pm

Well done, Mike.

seenbetrdayz November 21, 2012 at 8:26 pm

I say it’s time we abandon terms like, “left” “right” or “moderate”. Start changing the paradigm to ‘freedom-versus-control’. Ignore the party labels. There are some democrats who are more republican than republicans and there are some republicans who are more democrat than most democrats. Labels get you into trouble when the stop meaning anything.

But if you choose to start to view things as “freedom versus control”, know this:

Right now we have two parties that are interested in the ‘control’ side of the argument, and the American voters are losing interest in that. It’s evident by the 12 million fewer people who just didn’t bother to vote this year. If one of these parties really wants to boost its ranks, then they need only start basing their arguments on ‘freedom’. The Bill of Rights would be a great start. I mean, what do you do when both sides nominate a candidate who thinks it’s okay to just detain American citizens without a trial? One candidate gets 10,000,000 votes less than he did in his first election, and the other candidate loses 2,000,000 voters out of an already dampened base which tried in vain to breathe life into McCain’s 2008, ill-fated attempt to extend the Bush years.

Of course, those who make politics some sort of personal hobby scoff at the 12 million voters who just joined the ranks of the non-voters. However, I think the numbers are very telling.

Point being:

Our elections are now decided by which side has lost less credibility in the eyes of voters.”It’s like saying we did better because our side only fell 1,000 feet into a canyon, and yours fell 1,500 feet. Hahaha. Yay we won!” — there’s nothing there to be proud of, in my opinion, regardless of which side you’re on.

icowrich November 22, 2012 at 12:46 am

“First, we need to remember that it’s nearly impossible to get people to turn out an incumbent president. Our nation has only done that 10 times in our history and only 5 times since 1900.”

Since 1900, 7 presidents managed to win reëlection, 5 didn’t. I’d hardly call that impossible. Besides, weren’t all the conservative pundits keen to point out that no president managed reëlection under an economy like this one?

“Obama won fewer votes than legalized marijuana! Cheech and Chong got a bigger mandate.”

Perhaps, in Colorado…but Cheech and Chong’s mandate was pretty big. I wouldn’t underestimate it.

charliemann November 28, 2012 at 1:14 pm

Class and culture warfare works for drumming up support from minorities and progressive women. No one feels sorry for white men, especially rich ones. We Republicans should NEVER, EVER denigrate or otherwise stigmatize in anyway whatsoever those who are less fortunate or have different cultural values. We should double-up our efforts to show how Charter schools, education technology, plentiful capital “seed” money, guest worker program/earned path to citizenship and free trade can help level the playing field and accellerate growth for all. It maybe that the worst of worker dislocation caused by inevitable globilazation is over. We can be the party of fascilitating that transition or the party of dwindling white men.

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