Symposium 2012: Election 2012—What happened to the Republicans?

RMC3: They nominated the wrong man. I think history will show that Mitt Romney was probably the worst possible candidate for the Republican party. Here you have a former governor from one of the most liberal states in the entire nation who crafted a socialized healthcare plan for the people of Massachusetts trying to convince people that he’s a good Republican. And what’s more, he’s easily typecast as the evil rich guy who can’t connect with the average American. When he talked about Republican values it just didn’t seem natural; it was almost as if he was being forced to say it without really believing it in his heart. And what’s more, he picks as his running mate a Congressman from another vastly liberal state, though Paul Ryan did have far more conservative credentials than Mitt Romney.Look, I was never a Mitt Romney guy. I didn’t like him before, and I still don’t like him. This has nothing to do with him being a rich guy. His wealth is a testament to his success, and I will say that he is a good businessman. But, I think there were far better candidates in the Republican field, and I’m sure another candidate would have done no worse than Mitt Romney. But there was this pervasive sense of entitlement surrounding Romney. It was as if he felt he was entitled to be the nominee, as if it was his turn. Remember the whole thing about him being the inevitable candidate? That’s just a smack in the face to people and the voters.

He just wasn’t a strong candidate in my mind. He had opportunity after opportunity to go after Obama in the debates, and he let him go. He did make Obama look like a fool in that first debate, then he backed off. When you’ve got someone on the ropes, you’ve got to keep the pressure on them. Romney didn’t do it, and he came across as weak.

I’ve gotten a lot of criticism from my friends in the Republican party about my not supporting Mitt Romney. I guess I got the last laugh on them, for what that’s worth, but you’ve got a real problem if you’re the Republican nominee for President of the United States and you’re having to try to convince people that you’re a real conservative, that you’re a real Republican. You’re either a true conservative Republican, and I’m not talking right wing, or you’re not. That’s not to say you can’t be a moderate Republican, but even so, you shouldn’t have to be constantly fighting the battle to convince voters that you’re credentials as a conservative Republican are real. I think the voters just weren’t convinced by his performance. He was like listening to the used car salesman trying to convince you to buy the car by telling you what a great guy he is. It just doesn’t work that way.

The Republicans had a golden opportunity here, and they blew it. Obama was vulnerable. He’s been a weak president, worse than Jimmy Carter. The Presidency was ripe for the taking, but the Republicans suffered from a vast marketing failure. They should have been hammering home in advertisements all the negative aspects of Obama’s administration—the debt, unemployment, Benghazi, the deficits, increases in food stamps, Obamacare and the new taxes it is going to bring. Did they do that? Nope. They wanted to take the John McCain approach in that you couldn’t say anything bad about Obama and that you had to be a nice guy. That doesn’t work in politics, as McCain found out. They needed to get down in the mud and fight it out to the end, and they didn’t do it. It came across as weak, and just like John McCain, Mitt Romney goes down the loser.
Cartwright: The underlying presumption is that we had a choice in the election process. I think that is the first fallacy. We’re given the illusion of having a choice, but these candidates are hand-picked and they go through a dog and pony show in the run up to the election. I actually think it was already predetermined who was going to win the election, and we go through this sham to keep the voters feeling like their vote matters.

Four years ago we had our choice between Barack Obama, a left wing liberal, and John McCain, an avowed progressive. The voters had the choice between two less than desirable candidates, and the progressive movement won regardless. This election cycle we have the same left wing liberal and another RINO, Republican In Name Only. The progressive movement would have won either way.

I hate to be cynical, but I’ve become very jaded in this political cycle. Mitt Romney wasn’t the ideal candidate for the Republicans, and while it’s notoriously difficult to unseat an incumbent, Obama was like a sitting duck. He had so much baggage from the first term that it’s almost inconceivable we’re sitting here today with him having been re-elected. Either the American people, the voters, are a bunch of brain dead dumb asses or the process was already fixed. Yes, we were given the choice between the lesser of two evils, but Romney couldn’t have done any worse than Obama. So you look to see that we’ve got early voting that is heavily skewed for the Democrats, illegal voting, and rigged voting machines, and it’s easy to see why Obama was re-elected. If you stuff the ballot boxes with enough early votes and rig the machines to vote for you on election day, it doesn’t matter who the other side puts up. You can’t win when you’re playing with a stacked deck of cards.

So, if you presume that we actually have a choice in the election process and if you presume that Romney was an all right candidate, and I subscribe to neither of those philosophies, it comes down to one of three things—either the Romney campaign failed in delivering a clear, convincing, and enthusiastic message or the American voters are so stupid that they would prefer to have us continue down the same path of failed economic policies as the last four years or the majority of American voters have been bought and paid for with government handouts from the Democrats. In any scenario, it doesn’t bode well for the future of our country if we’ve got people just voting for the person who’s going to give them the biggest handout. As a candidate, you can’t give someone cash to vote for you, but you can give them an EBT card to ensure they vote for you. What’s the difference? The system is rigged to the detriment of the American taxpayer.

Michigan: Mitt Romney had to portray himself one way for the primaries and another for the election. This was confusing. The GOP is out of step with demographic and ideological trends with retro ideas about rape, birth control and deportation. The party has also been losing votes with the female population and Hispanic voters. Democrats win big with the female vote, immigration and entitlement programs.
Sydney: Given the state of the U.S economy and President Obama’s apparent lack of popularity for most of the campaign it was very surprising to see how easily he won the election. And in the early stages of the campaign in particular the Republicans had much more money at their disposal. Mitt Romney’s strong performance in the first debate also appeared to be a game changer. Given all this it is almost inconceivable that Romney lost. It would be easy to blame the leaked campaign video in which Romney ‘wrote off’ 50% of voters, criticizing them in a number of ways. This definitely didn’t help Romney but it occurred early enough in the campaign so as not to have too strong an impact on polling day. The fact is it was not so much a case of Romney losing but Obama winning.

The Democrat campaign staff worked overtime targeting minority groups and voters who the Republicans largely ignored simply because they believed they would never be able to get their vote. But you don’t get if you don’t ask and the Democrats asked them all. The campaign staff put together databases and used all the information gathered during the campaign to find out just who they needed to target. It is impossible to overestimate the importance of this strategy. The timing of Hurricane Sandy was also fortuitous in that it allowed the President to act just like Americans expect a President to act in an emergency, that is, as a leader.

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