Wednesday, November 7, 2012


President Obama won election to a second term over challenger Mitt Romney on Tuesday by a convincing 300+ electoral vote landslide, promising more of the same partisan gridlock in Washington as the voters also reelected a Republican Majority in the House of Representatives.

Much to the dismay of some conservative pollsters and analysts who had placed unbounding confidence in continued momentum by Mitt Romney, (see our article hinting at just such concerns following Chris Christie's unprecedented pandering to the President in attempts to secure federal "disaster aid" following the admittedly brutal effects of Hurricane Sandy on the State of New Jersey, contrast with the overly optimistic projections of conservative pundits Dick Morris and Karl Rove), President Obama held Romney at bay in all but one "battleground" swing state (N. Carolina), to hold on to his lead and secure his re-election.

Aided by a superior "get out the vote effort" (aka GOTV) and targeted appeals to the President's base and narrow demographics such as young women with appeals such as the Administration's "War on Women" meme, exit polls suggest that this strategy, along with President Obama's early "framing" of his challenger with negative ads were effective in states such as Ohio, (where Obama squeaked out a victory notwithstanding less young voters supported him than in the watershed year of 2008 due to a depressed turnout among more conservative members of the electorate resulting in younger- and more liberal- voters constituting a larger share of the electorate on a percentage basis). 

Moreover, the raw numbers indicate that less Republicans in general voted in 2012 than in 2008, i.e., large numbers of the electorate which voted for John McCain in 2008 found apparently less reason to vote and stayed home this time around, raising questions about why and and much head scratching and consternation of party insiders attempting to determine just what went wrong for the Romney campaign and the consequences for the Republican party going forward.  

Moreover, the Romney campaign seemed beset by organizational and campaign gaffs, some of which were pointed out by this party, which combined to eventually doom the Romney campaign, among them an inordinate reliance on a disfunctional and digitally-based "get out the vote" effort dubbed "Orca" which by all accounts was a spectacular failure.

The effort, which attempted to channel the efforts of over 30,000 volunteers through the internet and dedicated call-in lines into "real time" GOTV and poll watching updates, suffered from ill-defined and unforeseen technical errors which saw the system down for as much as six-eight hours at a time in various critical areas, with no "back up" plan to monitor problems at the polls or get sufficient numbers of supporters to them in time to vote.

Specifically, many who attempted to long on to or otherwise utilize the "Orca" system found that pre-distributed "passwords" didn't work with no ability to effectively reset them, with eventual complete crashing of the system.

Compared to the Obama campaign's superior ground game which actually focused on using real and often paid campaign staff to move people to the polls and make sure their base got out to vote, the Romney campaign was clearly bested by the President's superior organization.

Combined with an overwhelming advantage among women, minorities, and the youth vote, which turned out in equally impressive numbers for the President as they did in 2008, there really was no contest from the beginning of the vote tabulations, with most networks declaring Obama the winner at a relatively early (and unexpected) 11:10pm time shortly after calling the pivotal state of Ohio for the President.

A spark of hope for conservatives evidenced by Karl Rove on Fox news arguing with the call for Ohio on live T.V. was soon doomed as it became clear that Romney would not carry the equally crucial states of Virginia or Wisconsin, and would not pick up any purple "swing" states except North Carolina, which the President's campaign had earlier all but ceded to Romney.

In early returns it appeared that the GOP also would, rather than pick up seats in the Congress, would actually lose seats in both the House and the upper chamber, though by how much was uncertain.

As might be expected, the mood was somber at one in the morning EST when Romney gave what by all accounts was an especially gracious and magnanimous concession speech from Boston, with tears seen in the eyes of more than a few supporters.

 The crowd in Chicago, which had erupted almost three hours earlier when the race had been called for Obama and had been partying ever since, was a stark contrast to the Romney camp.

 At 1:39am when the President finally came to the podium for his victory lap it was a nearly raucus celebration, Obama sealing the deal with a rousing and uplifting speech reminiscent of his 2008 campaign, (emphasizing bi-partisanship, never mind he hasn't governed that way his first four years). 

  And although it wasn't near the partisan screed that liberal firebrand Chris Matthew's of MSNBC hoped it would be, the President's speech tracked Romney's and an American tradition of magnanimity in victory, at times seeming to even echo themes Romney had tried to utilize in his bid to unseat Obama to (apparently) no avail in his bid for the presidency, praising the American spirit of initiative and hard work and promising that, for the nation, "the best was yet to come."

 While we will have more analysis in coming days, and why our own (optimistic?) electoral projections were so starkly off the final numbers, right now one thing is clear.

 The nation has spoken, and we applaud the American people on their involvement in their most sacred civic duty, their right to vote and participate in the political process.

 What the result means to the continued viability of the Republican party long term, at least at the national level, as well as our nation's ability to resolve the pressing fiscal and other problems facing it, will undoubtedly be a matter of extended debate, (particularly within the Republican party), over the next two years.   

 While such matters are still to be determined, judging from the initial numbers and exit polling overall, they don't, at least initially, look positive to us at this point, (particularly with regard to the youth vote, more on this in a future post).   

 It now seems likely the Republicans will be forced to compromise with the President on his "soak the rich" agenda, (regardless of the facts that taxing the only group able to create jobs for the rest of us will likely hurt, not help, job creation).  Likewise the President's more liberal social agenda for things such as gay rights, permanent inclusion of tax-payer funded abortion in Obamacare, and a likely push for legalization of marijuana use at the federal level before the end of his second term or in the least abandonment of enforcement of federal drug laws in states that have approved medicinal or recreational use of the gateway drug) looms large.

  More importantly, without the cooperation of an even-more-Democratic-Senate thanks to the offensive and easy-to-frame "abortion comments" of far right Senate candidates Todd Akin from MO and Rick Murdoch from Indiana, Republicans will face an even tougher uphill climb politically in efforts to address the nation's crippling deficit and spending spree of the Democratic party led by the newly elected President. 

  But all was not lost, with Republicans holding onto their majority in the U.S. House, the branch of the federal government responsible for initiating tax changes, (albeit by slightly smaller margins).

  To what extent it actually means the American people have willfully chosen a governmental paradigm based more on the European "social democracy" model instead of just the results of a superior campaign and slick marketing, one thing's for sure: The model of American free enterprise as one based on the rugged individuality and self initiative on which our nation was founded, and on which the modern West has traditionally and universally acknowledged as the world's greatest and shining example of freedom and self government, is almost certain to face challenges the likes of which we have never seen.

May God bless and guide our republic's leaders with wisdom in the days ahead. Jp

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