November 9, 2012 4 Comments
President Obama received just under 10 million fewer votes in 2012 as he received in 2008. Turnout across the board was down, including Republican turnout. Romney won independents by 5 points, reversing Obama’s 8 point independent win over McCain. With the exit polls now out we have to ask ourselves a couple of questions. First, why did ten million people decide not to vote rather than vote for Mitt Romney. Second, why did fewer Republicans turn out for Romney than turned out for McCain? The answer lies in the candidate of Mitt Romney, who 10 million people who are unhappy with Obama didn’t trust and who Republicans didn’t much trust either.
The failure of Mitt Romney can be seen in the 10 million voters who once supported Obama but didn’t show up to vote on Tuesday. This is the group of undecided voters who historically break towards the challenger. Instead this group decided they would rather stay home. This of course means that they both were unhappy with Obama but they didn’t trust Romney. There are two reasons for Romney not gaining their trust. First he ran and governed as a liberal Republican, only to run for President as a conservative. He looked to these people like he was power hungry, willing to say anything to get elected. Second, his campaign’s failure to respond to a summer of Bain attacks hurt him more than the polls indicated.
The polls focused on likely voters, it seems many in this group of 10 million decided long ago they weren’t likely voters. Obama set Romney up to appear as an untrustworthy via the Bain ads, the Obama campaign basically confirmed what these 10 million people already suspected. Romney wasn’t trustworthy from the start, Obama exploited that to the fullest extent. Obama could afford to lose 10 million votes and still win, what he could not afford to do was have 10 million switch to Romney. Team Obama made sure that wouldn’t happen by focusing all summer on Romney’s untrustworthy history and campaign.
What’s even more striking is that fewer Republicans came to vote on Tuesday than in 2008. Romney got around the same number of votes as McCain in 2008 but he did so by winning independents. Fewer Republicans came to the polls despite poll after poll showing increased GOP enthusiasm. This shouldn’t be particularly surprising, Romney couldn’t even come up with half the votes of the GOP rank and file during the primary. He ran a bitterly nasty campaign, accusing every other candidate of being a conservative heretic while everyone else knew he was a liberal fraud. Conservatives went through one candidate after another trying to come up with someone, anyone who could beat Romney.
Unfortunately the conservatives were unsuccessful. The bitterness of the primary campaign didn’t go away. While the goal of seeing Obama defeated lured many to vote for Romney, it wasn’t enough for everyone. But let’s be perfectly honest here, one of the reasons he lost was because he’s a Mormon. Between 15-20% of the country has said in poll after poll they won’t vote for a Mormon. To think that didn’t keep home some Republicans and some of the 10 million former Obama voters is wishful thinking. We Christians faced a terrible choice between a practical atheist and a Mormon. More than a few couldn’t bring themselves to vote for a Mormon.
If the GOP is ever to win the White House again we have to nominate an actual conservative. Not one who may have seen the light a couple years ago but a life long conservative with a record to back him up. Yes, we also need to focus on getting a minority on the ticket. But the key is we have to nominate someone who is honest, who has a lifetime of conservative policies. Yes, we also need to nominate a Christian. The last two elections ought to have taught us a lesson. We cannot continue to nominate moderates if we expect to win. Moderates always lose, conservatives always win.