I don’t have it in me this week to do a full scale 2012 election compendium like I did in 2008, but just a few good links that cover the election well. Conventional wisdom heading into the campaign stated Dems would lose seats in the Senate and Obama, presiding over historically bad unemployment numbers and a weak economy, should be easier to defeat. That didn’t happen. The GOP primary season was a clown car and Mitt Romney barely made it through. After the party conventions, Obama took a commanding lead in the national and state polling. The first presidential debate, in which Romney was widely seen to have destroyed Obama, reversed national polling trends and tightened many state races. (“Did Obama Just Throw the Entire Election Away?”) This reversal was halted at around the time of the VP debate, and began to turn around shortly thereafter. It was at about this time the questioning of polls began (Unskewed!), and as election day got closer and closer, a backlash against Nate Silver began.
Now that the election is over, many in the GOP are blaming Hurricane Sandy and Chris Christie for thwarting Romney’s momentum, though Romney’s momentum started to thwart before the Hurricane, and if you’re election can be derailed by someone in your party saying nice things about the other guy, you have bigger problems. Like the demographics of the electorate.
Leading to the Romney campaign’s ultra-confidence, and the driver for distrusting the polls, was a misunderstanding of the election climate. They didn’t think Obama could match his 2008 turnout, which lead them to believe the electorate would be far whiter than it was. Obama also beat Romney among unmarried women (who made up 23% of the electorate), by 38 points. More on women voters and how underreported rape and abortions may have doomed the GOP.
Lastly, it was a terrific night for LGBT rights as gay marriage was approved in Washington, Maine, and Maryland, and an anti-gay marriage ballot initiative was defeated in Minnesota. Wisconsin also elected the first openly gay senator.
Below are some more links worth looking at about the election.
Obama’s speech after winning the election.
Romney’s classy concession speech. In another classy move, they streamed Obama’s speech on the campaign website.
After Fox News projected Obama as the winner of Ohio, and thus the election, there was some amazing theater live as Karl Rove pushed back on the projection. Reports of Rove melting down or freaking out were overstated, but the weird part was Megyn Kelly leaving the anchor desk and walking through the studio to the office where projections were being made. In any case, Rove is in hot water himself for spending lots of money raised from rich dudes with little to show for it. Questions persisted about possible reasons for Rove’s outburst.
Was he acting as the man who oversaw the most expensive advertising assault on a sitting president in history, unable to face his own wounded pride? The fund-raiser who had persuaded wealthy conservatives to give hundreds of millions of dollars and now had a lot of explaining to do? Or the former political strategist for George W. Bush, who saw firsthand how a botched network call could alter the course of a presidential contest?
Why was Dick Morris wrong in his predictions? Because he’s racist and stupid.
Romney’s friends in the media then and now.
How many hours of Glenn Beck conspiracy theories did Fox News broadcast to its viewers? How many hours of transparently mindless Sean Hannity content is still broadcast daily? Why don’t Americans trust Republicans on foreign policy as they once did? In part because conservatism hasn’t grappled with the foreign-policy failures of George W. Bush. A conspiracy of silence surrounds the subject. Romney could neither run on the man’s record nor repudiate it. The most damaging Romney gaffe of the campaign, where he talked about how the 47 percent of Americans who pay no income taxes are a lost cause for Republicans? Either he was unaware that many of those people are Republican voters, or was pandering to GOP donors who are misinformed. Either way, bad information within the conservative movement was to blame.
Florida took two days to finalize their vote, and many Americans stood in long lines to vote. Here’s 5 ways this could be sped up, including the information Congress has broad powers to dictate how things should go. They just haven’t historically used those powers.
This map shows the US the states drawn to emphasize the number of electoral votes.
This is from the last speech Obama gave as a candidate.