Saturday, November 17, 2012

A late election post mortem

Because I was busy with NaNoWriMo I didn't post my thoughts about the loss of Mitt Romney (in some respects he did worse then John McCain and that really is saying something).

I want to start out with the following thoughts

  1. The truth of the matter is our elections are far more local then we give them credit for. Mitt Romney wasn't running 1 national campaign he was running 50 state campaigns. The Obama team got this in a way that Romney's team never did. If Romney performed as well in Ohio as his national demographics would have indicated we would likely be talking about President Elect Mitt Romney today.
  2. Team Obama pioneered better technology to create better information and put it in the hands of the decision makers. Team Romney was still using national Republican technology thats largely unchanged since election 04/06 (it may even go back to 00).  This means Obama was able to be more efficient with his targeting and outreach efforts (and thats a part of why he won)
  3. Team Romney's ad strategy of playing rope-a-dope ALMOST worked. And if not for hurricane sandy it may have worked. But the problem with ALMOST winning is thats the same as losing. The damage Romney and Ryan took while they were waiting for the money numbers to be there way gave him to much to over come.
  4. 3 or 4 million Republicans stayed home. Part of what Karl Rove did so well for President George W Bush was finding people who should vote republican and get them to vote republican. If those 3-4 million voters showed up on election day and voted for Mitt Romney he would be President elect Mitt Romney. John McCain also had a lot of republicans on the bench and in 2000 George W Bush even had some republican and republican lean voters on the bench (See Florida 2000). The fact this was overlooked was negligence on the hands of the people who ran the Romney Campaign. The fact its been a problem for the GOP in the 21st century (with 02,04, and 10 being exceptions to the rule) 
  5. The election of 2006 is haunting us to this day. The weak primary field in 2008 and 2012 are in large  part because of the bloodbath in 2006. The Gop has also not improved the fundamental mechanics of how parties win elections since 2006. The only reason 2016 will be a little better for us is we have a more mature field that got on the bench in 2010.
These are some of the things that I blame the people Romney hired to run his team for, and I blame the people who have run the GOP nationally for. What I blame Romney for is a different set of matters

  1. The Business of America isn't Business: The truth of the matter is American voters don't care that much about small and big businesses getting their operating capital and wonkish matters like that. What they want to hear is "In  4 years when I come back to you seeking re-election your children will move out of your house and be moving on with their lives." What Americans wanted wasn't to get business back on track but rather America to be normal again. This was a major miss on behalf of Romney and his messaging.
  2. Paul Ryan did a lot to reinvigorate the campaign and did a lot to change the tone of the debate: But Romney didn't close the deal. He didn't close the deal by saying "Yes I am going to put the American government on a diet so we will be healthy again." He picked Paul Ryan but the message that Paul Ryan represented largely faded away. So we couldn't trust Romney to be serious
  3. Romney is a loser: And I don't mean this as a knock on his character. He lost every election he ran in but one. He didn't run for Re-Election in 06 because he knew it was going to be a ugly election for Republicans (an Ugly election he was spearheading for the national Governor's association). When he tried to run the GOP's efforts in the State House on Beacon hill he lost seats. Romney lost the 08 election to a very weak John McCain candidacy. The problem is quite profound: Other then the 2002 election where the Democratic candidate was very bad Mitt Romney has had his behind handed to him in every election he's taken a leadership role in. He doesn't have what it takes to close the deal.
None of the issues that lost the GOP the election are issues about our being out of touch with the electorate. We had a mediocre candidate with a history of under-performing and the Republican party is fundamentally weakened in the ways parties win elections and has been for 6 years now.

We need to build up our O-Line before we draft another Quarterback to lead our team to a title. We don't need a new team.

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