Mitt Romney lost the election despite having the support of billionaire corporations and CEOs who donated heavily to his campaign. He was so certain of a win, so positive that he had wrapped it up, so to speak, that he didn’t even have a concession speech ready until directly before he delivered it. Despite the fact that most Americans saw an out of touch wealthy man who really had no concept of what it meant to struggle financially, neither he nor his campaign staff felt it necessary for him to make changes that would have drawn more supporters.
In fact, Mitt was so confident of a win, that he and his staff didn’t have any inkling of anything wrong until the afternoon of the election, when North Carolina didn’t immediately go his way. They began to suspect Obama might just win again when people on the ground reported large turnouts in heavily Democratic areas, like northeastern Ohio, Miami-Dade, and northern Virginia.
His campaign adamantly refused to believe the polls reported by the main stream media, believing that they were skewed in favor of Democrats, and as WLTX news reports: “They based their own internal polls on turnout levels more favorable to Romney. That was a grave miscalculation, as they would see on election night.”
In other words, the GOP campaign was run in a bubble; a bubble that excluded mainstream Americans. It was a bubble that excluded reality, and real people, a bubble that convinced Obama haters that what the Republican stood for was what the entire nation wanted. It was a bubble that popped violently on election night when President Obama won the Electoral College in a landslide, and won the popular vote in with 50.4 percent to 48.1 percent. That is only a margin of 2.3 percent, but it was more than enough for an Obama win, and the GOP ticket failed to sway enough voters to their side because they were too confident.
His off-the-cuff 47 percent remark, which was secretly recorded at a private donor party certainly didn’t help. Ann also revealed that she would not be a First Lady for the people when she called average Americans “you people,” and when she tried to scold people for criticizing her husband with her “stop it, this is hard,” tirade. Her comment about Mitt’s temper tantrums certainly didn’t help win any followers, either.
But the reality is, the Republican campaign had a billion dollars to work with, through wealthy donors, to help convince the public to vote for their candidate. That was more money than Obama had to work with. And instead of winning, as Karl Rove pompously believed, the money was squandered on hateful ads and character assassinations, instead of focusing on the issues. Perhaps if Chris Christie hadn’t praised the president’s leadership after Sandy hit, things might have been different. But Romney surrogates who ordered the New Jersey governor to reaffirm his commitment to Mitt did more damage, and only reinforced the image of an incumbent willing to reach across the aisle to a formerly hostile adversary, while conservative leaders thumping their chests looked like forsaken school yard bullies.
While Barack Obama still faces the challenges of a bitterly divided electorate, the fact remains that the Republican party has some serious soul searching to do, and it does not involve moving even further to the right.
Photo credit: Gage Skidmore