Friday, November 30, 2012 —
Why did Romney win?
Well, of course, he didn’t. But it was close. And if he had won, how would the experts be explaining it?
Maybe like this:
First Debate. Romney’s surprising and convincing win over a lackluster Obama turned the campaign around. It destroyed the old maxim that “debates don’t change election results.” It may not have been a knockout blow, but like Muhammad Ali’s win over Sonny Liston in 1964, it gave Romney an aura of a fighting “champ.”
The “Etch A Sketch” maneuver. Romney executed a transformation from a hardline conservative primary contestant to a moderate general election candidate that old-line Republican voters could support. And he did it deftly, at the last minute, before Democrats could do anything other than complain and after Republican conservatives had committed to him.
Dealing with House Republicans. By persuading people that he could bring the House and Senate together for some kind of practical response to the deficit emergency, Romney took votes from people who otherwise would have preferred Obama, but thought congressional Republicans would never deal with him.
Winning a large majority of the biggest voting bloc. Although most of the talk during the campaign was about Obama’s overwhelming support from African American and Latino voters, Romney built on his solid support from the largest, by far, voting bloc — whites. Demographic trends favor Democrats in the long run. But today’s majority — whites — can still deliver an election to a candidate who gains their favor.
Money. The barrage of television ads purchased by Republican independent political committees moved enough last-minute deciders in the swing states to make the difference in close races.
Primary seasoning. Common wisdom says that this year’s Republican primary debates and opposition messaging damaged Rom-ney for the fall campaign. On the other hand, he was stronger and better prepared for a hard campaign than Obama was, who did not know what a hard knock was until the first debate.
Economy. Romney wisely never outlined a plan for dealing with the economy, preferring simply to declare that his record of economic success was better than Obama’s. This widespread, but unproven, conclusion that Romney was better than Obama on the economy garnered votes from people who disagreed with him about women’s reproductive iss-ues, health care reform, foreign policy and other important issues.
Romney’s fortress in the south and west. Although conventional wisdom em-phasized Obama’s safe states, Romney had locks on a large bloc of southern and western states, in which he did not need to spend a single minute or a single dime to win. That freed him to challenge in some of Obama’s safe states as well as to devote more resources in the crucial swing states where he won the election.
Gaining grudging respect. Although Romney never overcame the likability barrier, voters came to admire his public service record, strong family loyalty and the ethical personal life he lived in conformity with the tenets of his Mormon faith. The seal of approval from Billy Graham gave any remaining skeptics license to vote for Romney.
Voter intimidation. The dark side of Romney’s victory came from successful efforts to discourage likely Obama supporters from voting. Shortened early voting periods, real and rumored new voter ID requirements, inadequate election re-sources in minority pre-cincts: all made just enough difference in close states to give Romney the edge.
Benghazi. Although not the October Surprise that Romney tried to make it, the Benghazi tragedy and its aftermath created doubts about Obama’s anti-terrorist credentials, competence and credibility.
One regret. About the surprising loss to Obama in North Carolina, the Romney campaign explained, “The resources we moved from there to other swing states were key to our overall victory. We make no apology for that decision.”
Friday, November 30, 2012 —
Why did Romney win?
- Opinion & Letters to the Editor
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10 tips for surviving a severe allergy season
My colleague Brady Dennis reported recently that the arrival of warmer weather will soon unleash a pollen tsunami in parts of the country where the winter has been especially long and cold. Here are some survival tips from Clifford W. Bassett, an allergy specialist and assistant clinical professor of medicine at the New York University School of Medicine.
Is a paleo vegetarian diet possible?
Research shows most people can follow a regimented eating plan for a short time. That's not the challenge. The challenge is finding a healthful eating plan you can follow day after day and achieve your long-term health goals. At this point, it doesn't appear that the paleo eating plan meets these objectives for most people.
Are Americans smart to stop drinking diet sodas?
Recent data from Beverage Digest suggest many are cutting back on diet sodas. Consumption of diet sodas fell more than that of sugary sodas in 2013. This raises two questions: Why is total consumption declining, and is drinking diet soda harmful to health?
- More Opinion & Letters to the Editor Headlines
- Victimized by the 'marriage penalty'