Friday, November 9, 2012


Two new blogs from the Lion of the Left:

 Once Florida is declared for President Obama, he will have 332 electoral votes.  He will have won over 50% of the popular vote, and his party will have gained seats in the Senate.   It's too easy.

     Obama, and his team, predicted a close race.  Close races are won or lost by turnout.  In 2008, African American, Hispanic, women and young voters turned out in record numbers and Obama won.  Republicans claimed it was a fluke...a one time phenomenon which can't be replicated...they were wrong.  Election analysis shows African American voters turned out in higher numbers than 2008.  In Ohio, if African Americans had turned out at 2008 levels, Romney would have won the state.  In Pennsylvania and Florida, the same story occurred.  Hispanic voters represented 10% of the electorate.  (It's the first time they have broken into double digits)  They broke 71% for Obama, and once again the percentage of turnout increased from 2008.  60% of voters were women who went for Obama by 12 points and voters under 30, whose numbers were supposed to drop, increased.  The most often repeated political story was that Obama's base was unenthusiastic, dispirited, disappointed and there was no way they would turn out like they did in 2008.  As usual, conventional wisdom failed in the face of reality.  Obama bet they could hold this coalition together and could expand it and he was right.  Their model will be studied by political scientists and operatives for years to come.

     Before a vote was cast, Obama had about 220 electoral votes in his pocket. He knew he could lose Florida and Virginia so they focused all their time and effort on the battleground states of the upper Midwest, in particular Ohio.  If they won Ohio, they win the election.  Not only did they win Ohio, but like Grant through Richmond they steamrolled over Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, creating a firewall to keep Romney from reaching 270 electoral votes even if he won Florida and Virginia.  They saw Nevada, Colorado, Iowa and New Hampshire as another part of the firewall.  In the end, Obama won both Florida and Virginia and Romney was left wondering about what might have been.  Even if Romney had won Florida and Virginia, he still would have lost the race.

     If this election had been a referendum on the economy, Obama would have lost.  If it was portrayed as a choice between competing visions of the future and competing characters, Obama wins.  Once again it was easy.  All of the effort was put into getting voters to choose between Obama and Romney.  Starting in May, Obama's campaign began spending millions of dollars defining Romney.  A Democratic Super PAC flooded Ohio with ads about Romney and Bain Capital.  This continued throughout the summer.  Their efforts were successful and the election was about choice and not a referendum on the last four years.  Despite voters preferring Romney on the economy, they didn't like him...they didn't feel an affinity for him...they didn't trust him to be on their side...they thought he is out of touch with average Americans and this proved to be his undoing.  (the fly in the ointment was the first debate...had Obama performed well, the strategy of the summer would have turned this into a rout)

     Once they had their coalition in place, and had their ground game model up and running, (in Virginia a story is being reported about how Democratic voters were in a line near Richmond and were being checked off by an Obama volunteer with an iPad.  There was no Republican counterpart) all that was left to do was to get them to the polls.  Oh, one other thing, they seized on early voting and provided registration forms etc. to enable as many Democrats as possible to vote early.  Early voting totals broke to Obama in almost all the key battleground states.

     Republicans claimed they were pouring millions into voter turnout.  Regressive super PACs said they were going to replicate the Obama model and turn out voters in high numbers.  It turns out this was all smoke and mirrors.  There are rumors already spreading about Karl Rove, and his operatives, refusing to share voter information and any voter modeling with anyone else.  It was proprietary information which could not be shared.  The Republican coalition of white voters and senior citizens along with rural voters held together, but it's shrinking and cannot match up against the new voting power of what Obama assembled.

     Therefore what...?  Obama's re-election carries a number of messages.  Obama ran promising to let the Bush tax cuts expire and to have the 1% pay higher taxes.  The voters agree.  Obama ran on the benefits of health care reform.  Once and for all, Obama care is here to stay and will be the law of the land.  Millions of Americans will get health insurance who currently don't have it.  States will have to set up health care exchanges and the mandate requiring everyone to have insurance will be enforced.  Obama ran on Wall Street reform.  Regulations from the Dodd/Frank legislation will now be promulgated including the Volker Rule (a kind of slimmed-down version of Glass-Steagle) in an attempt to rein in risky activity.  It isn't as strong as it should be, but it’s so much stronger than under a Romney administration.  Obama got rid of Don't Ask Don't Tell, which Romney said he would reinstate.  Obama supported gay marriage.  Obama used executive orders to implement the Dream Act, which will serve as a basis for the immigration reform debate soon to start.  The war in Afghanistan ends in 2014. (it should be sooner)
     Elections have consequences.  Those regressives who say there is no mandate for Obama are whistling past the graveyard.  This was not a campaign full of specifics, but where Obama was specific, the election gives him the justification to move on all of these various fronts.

     In the end, it was too easy.  As Obama's coalition grows, Romney's shrinks.  As the ground game for Obama becomes more sophisticated, Republican's efforts came up short.  As Obama courted women, minorities and the young, Romney courted the rich, richer and politically stilted.  As Obama reaped the rewards of an auto bailout, which created thousands of jobs, Romney talked about cars being made in China.  The 47% which Romney predicted would never vote for him, turned out to be an underestimate.  (more like 51% at least in the popular vote) and it is the reason there isn't a Mormon heading for the White House today.


  1. Always a pleasure to read your commentary, Bernie, thanks very much for sharing.

  2. And the irony is, Bernie, that Romney is getting around 47 point something percent of the vote. Hah! I hope when all the votes are in it's exactly 47 percent. It would be poetic justice.