Sunday, November 11, 2012

Why Romney Lost and Obama won? It's Mom, Stupid!

I must admit: I was very cautious about predicting the outcome of the presidential election, for the very reason Nate Silver has been crowned the KING of predictions and poll analysis. In a divided electorate, with so much news, polls, data and opinion to digest, it’s just impossible to assess the mood of the voters in real time, and project the outcome based on feelings and raw facts. 

The Republican Party bears as much blame as the Romney campaign is now getting. Evangelicals and die hard conservatives didn't really back Romney or bother to go out to vote; Romney's surrogates worried more about their public reputation and initial perception ahead of 2016; Tim Pawlenty jumped ship when he received the news between the 7th and the 8th dream that he was not chosen as veep; And Chris Christie, well, he is just full of 'me, I and myself'. That's  the reason he spoke so much about himself at the RNC keynote speech, and why he feel over Obama for embracing him towards the final push of the race.

The reason I made a prediction in the last minute, was not that I was influenced by the Right-wing commentators, or that I drank Dick Morris' kool-aid. In fact I am not on record predicting a BIG win, a landslide for Romney, as I came to believe in polls over the past few years in politics, especially the skewed polls, number crunchers so liked to dismiss. The belief in Romney's win at the very end, was based on the assessment and assertion that Romney managed to get across his message of 'real change' and a broad appeal, that gave him the lead among Independents in addition of consolidating the Republican base following the Denver debate performance. 

So where did I go wrong, and what happened that we all took it by surprise?

While Romney was the best candidate that the Republican Party could of put up against Obama and the barrage of his negative ads, the campaign did not function as a national confident campaign, and spent too much time on an undefined message. On the other hand, President Obama was not the best candidate, he wasn't as excited as in 2008, and  he carried his reelection bid with no message or effective slogan other than tearing down Romney and the Republican party, but he has a brilliant campaign, a smart strategy carried out by that Jewish guy, David Axelrod, and a grassroots ground game of devoted volunteers who targeted minorities and Democratic strongholds. 

I can almost assure you that had David Akselrod been in charge of Jimmy Carter's campaign, and in today's world of social media, Ronald Reagan would NOT have won in '80.

Why Romney lost? 

Romney's loss could be attributed to 2 decisive factors which some saw coming some sought to cover. 1) Romney failed to emotionally connect to voters, he was too techno, too many hymns of America and too little detailed policies, which failed to convince voters that he is in for them, for their pockets and for their future. In that case Romney did more damage to his robotic and Richie-out-of-touch image, than the Obama campaign succeeded with a 300 million dollar barrage.

2) Romney's controlled message was in contradiction with his governing skills. On stump he was too spiritual for ordinary Americans, and delivered too little red meat for conservatives - who were eager to lick their fingers of attacking the President's personality and associations, rather than focus on bringing together America in tackling the real issues - and in TV appearances (the few he decided to actually give), or rather at the debates Romney managed to articulate and ride strong on his business experience and bipartisan governing skills.   

The best indication is Romney's boost in the polls and the growing momentum of his candidacy in the final weeks following the presidential debates. In these debates Romney managed to articulate his message in detail, succeeded in questioning Obama's governing skills based on his record, and presented himself as a moderate, safe change candidate who has a broad appeal to reach across the aisle to the extent of governing successfully. That is the basic reason I supported Governor Romney from the very beginning, which is why Tea Partiers and conservatives didn't fall for him.

Why Obama won? 

On the other hand, President Obama won reelection, not because voters were so enthused and satisfied with his first term nor did they grant him a mandate, Obama won because he frustrated voters, then gave them the mom treatment of saying "It'll be good, darling."

I liken it to a baby who has a cold, fever and an ear infection, crying all night from pain, all the mother can do at that point is cradle the baby in her arms, try to comfort him/her and ease the pain. Obama gave frustrated and concerned voters the same 'mom treatment', he gave those free cellphones, flexible policy promises and gave them the impression of ‘I can’t do anything right now, but calm down, it will be OK very soon.’

In addition, Obama's army and ground game proved to be effective in bringing out the necessary votes to overcome Romney's lead among Whites and Independents, and bypass his increased support among Jewish voters in the battleground states of Ohio and Florida.

The GOP's future

The Republicans will only win the presidency in 2016 and beyond if they stretch their muscles in appealing to the youth, single women and Latino/Hispanic voters. It's not about moderation, but modernization and mobilization. If the Republicans become an attractive party, court the changing demographics voters and pick a Hispanic Woman for instant or a reasonable young, average candidate, then Biden, Cuomo, Clinton or others won’t stand in their way in getting the trust of the American voters and regaining power in the Senate and win the Presidency.

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