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  2012 U.S. Presidential Election Results (Moderators: Torie, ON Progressive)
  Could Romney have won the primary vote if he had hewed more to the center?
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Author Topic: Could Romney have won the primary vote if he had hewed more to the center?  (Read 4101 times)
MalaspinaGold
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« on: August 24, 2013, 12:45:16 am »

From what I observed in the primaries, Mitt Romney made a name for himself by moving hard right on many issues; most notably immigration and health care.

My question is, if he had simply ran as a moderate, could he have won if he had stayed the "Massachusetts Progressive" he had called himself as governor.

For instance, instead of advocating self-deportation for illegal immigrants, could he have advocated a watered-down version of the DREAM Act for instance? Health care would have been tougher to handle, but could he had come up with a better answer to the "Romneycare" charge? Also, climate change was a big one.

Essentially, could he have run a more Huntsmanesque campaign without turning off the base too much? I think he may have gotten some creative edge by the weakness/dividedness of the conservative end of the field. Perry, Bachmann, Cain and Gingrich would have been unable to beat him, due to various faults of their own. Santorum would have been the only person to give him a serious challenge, so could a moderate gamble work? If it did, he would probably have a lot more support amongst independents, rather than being seen as a panderer.
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bedstuy
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« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2013, 01:04:37 am »

I think he could not actively run as a moderate or take true moderate positions.  Conservatism was at such a premium in that primary that it would be very tough to win like that.  He would have been a human pinata at those 87 primary debates.

His better approach would be more like the Romney debate strategy: Just refuse to take specific policy positions.  It would have been a very difficult strategy to maintain and get right, but he could have actually etch-a-sketched back more easily after the primary campaign.   
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barfbag
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« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2013, 02:49:35 am »

Yes he was going to win the nomination based on his electability.
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Southern Senator North Carolina Yankee
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« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2013, 06:46:51 am »

The only reason Romney was the runner up in 2008 was because of his opposition to amnesty. He would be nothing if he didn't have the issue as the one place where he could claim to be more reliable then any of the other candidates save for Tancredo and Hunter who weren't going to be legitimate contenders.

When you are a rich businessman and defined as being a rino Governor of a blue state, you have to have something that can generate some conservative and working class appeal. As Sean Trende pointed out, 3 of the 4% was do to "Perot Voters" staying home. Thus from a political calculus, Romney's immigration strategy was probably a wise move even if the tactics and execution were flawed, as was the harping on the China currency manipulation. The problem was that Romney was pre-defined before he could deliver this message to those voters, so it did not matter.

In many ways you answered your own question, by asking if the nominee would have still won the nomination if he had pursued the same strategy as a lame also-ran. NO. He should have avoided being forced to endorse Issue 2 in OH, the Arizona Immigration Law and so forth though, and instead just issued vague endorsements for Governors making tough decisions in tough times. He should have condemned Rush sooner and more forcefully after the Fluke bs. He should have had the tax issue resolved early on and been ready with effective responses on Healthcare and the auto-bailouts. All these tie back to the inability of his campaign to identify and resolve the obvious problems that he would face. Taxes, Healthcare and autos were going to be his greatest vulnerabilities in both the primary and the general election and thus should be have been dealt with through an effective strategy.
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Southern Senator North Carolina Yankee
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« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2013, 09:02:11 am »

He also had a tax policy problem because he had to offer something tangible before the Michigan primary to shift the focus and build up some enthuiasm. Of course, if Romney had dealt with his personal tax issues ahead of time, he might have won South Carolina and thus ended the nomination process with the wins in Florida and Nevada and avoided having the "5 Trillion dollar tax cut" anvil as well.

Anyway those were the things he should have done differently in the primary.
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MalaspinaGold
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« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2013, 04:33:17 pm »

Romney adopting some similar positions to Huntsman would probably not have led to a Huntsman-like finish. Some reasons:
1) Romney had money
2) Romney had great name recognition
3) Romney was treated as a top contender for the nomination by the media, unlike Huntsman.
4) How many more people would be turned out against Romney who would not already have been turned out by his "impure" past?
5) Could Romney's opponents have taken advantage of this, or were they too weak/divided?

Of course, this is not saying he would have won. But this was one of the only chances he could have to keep credibility with true independents/moderates, and not having the "pandering extremist" painted on him (something that IIRC McCain was able to avoid).
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Cory Booker
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« Reply #6 on: August 24, 2013, 06:30:40 pm »

The economy which was stuck at 9 percent in Apr 2012 fully recover by Oct. During that time Obama defined him as a Bain banker and barring that he had no chance of winning.
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PolitiJunkie
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« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2013, 06:36:01 pm »

Yes he was going to win the nomination based on his electability.

Oh, because Republicans have such a knack for focusing on electability in primaries.
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barfbag
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« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2013, 11:33:04 pm »

Yes he was going to win the nomination based on his electability.

Oh, because Republicans have such a knack for focusing on electability in primaries.

Yes

I also saw someone mentioned why he was the runner up in 2008. His problem in 2008 was that he split the conservative vote with Huckabee while McCain won votes from Independents who were allowed to vote in certain primaries who had waited their whole lives to vote for him.
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MalaspinaGold
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« Reply #9 on: August 25, 2013, 12:11:58 am »

If you ares saying (like you have said before) that Republicans primary focus in primaries is electability, I think current senators Akin, Mourdock, O'Donnell, Angle, Buck, and Miller fully agree with you.

If that's not what you were implying feel free to explain yourself.
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barfbag
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« Reply #10 on: August 25, 2013, 12:14:46 am »

If you ares saying (like you have said before) that Republicans primary focus in primaries is electability, I think current senators Akin, Mourdock, O'Donnell, Angle, Buck, and Miller fully agree with you.

If that's not what you were implying feel free to explain yourself.

It's pretty much what I'm saying.
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PolitiJunkie
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« Reply #11 on: August 25, 2013, 10:41:21 am »

If you ares saying (like you have said before) that Republicans primary focus in primaries is electability, I think current senators Akin, Mourdock, O'Donnell, Angle, Buck, and Miller fully agree with you.

If that's not what you were implying feel free to explain yourself.

It's pretty much what I'm saying.

And that's why you are an blabbering idiot, if not a troll!
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barfbag
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« Reply #12 on: August 25, 2013, 01:35:51 pm »

I stated in an earlier post on a different thread:
Social conservatives/populists made their statement with Santorum, and they still lost. The truth is for all the crazies in the Republican Party, run-of-the-mill conservatives still dominate the GOP primaries. That is why Romney won. They are the "Silent Majority" in the primaries. Romney still would've won the primaries on electability and business experience.

I would guess Romney still would've won the primaries, but it would've been very close.

The current GOP base is obssessed with idealogical purity, but as in real life, regular conservatives/moderates still are the majority in the GOP, plus a good number of people who dreamed of Santorum/Gingrich would realize their best shot to defeat Obama was Romney. Instead of winning 52% of the primary vote, it might've been closer to 45%!

But in the long run, Romney would've done better in the general election even if he doesn't win.


You have a point about ideology in the GOP, but the Democrats are starting to become the same way. Prior to the housing market collapse in 2008, if the Democrats' main focus was electability, then Clinton should've defeated Obama. He really wasn't convincing in his ability to win until the middle of September.
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PolitiJunkie
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« Reply #13 on: August 25, 2013, 10:00:00 pm »

I stated in an earlier post on a different thread:
Social conservatives/populists made their statement with Santorum, and they still lost. The truth is for all the crazies in the Republican Party, run-of-the-mill conservatives still dominate the GOP primaries. That is why Romney won. They are the "Silent Majority" in the primaries. Romney still would've won the primaries on electability and business experience.

I would guess Romney still would've won the primaries, but it would've been very close.

The current GOP base is obssessed with idealogical purity, but as in real life, regular conservatives/moderates still are the majority in the GOP, plus a good number of people who dreamed of Santorum/Gingrich would realize their best shot to defeat Obama was Romney. Instead of winning 52% of the primary vote, it might've been closer to 45%!

But in the long run, Romney would've done better in the general election even if he doesn't win.


You have a point about ideology in the GOP, but the Democrats are starting to become the same way. Prior to the housing market collapse in 2008, if the Democrats' main focus was electability, then Clinton should've defeated Obama. He really wasn't convincing in his ability to win until the middle of September.

Except that Obama was a whole lot more electable than Hillary in 2008.
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barfbag
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« Reply #14 on: August 26, 2013, 12:14:55 am »

I stated in an earlier post on a different thread:
Social conservatives/populists made their statement with Santorum, and they still lost. The truth is for all the crazies in the Republican Party, run-of-the-mill conservatives still dominate the GOP primaries. That is why Romney won. They are the "Silent Majority" in the primaries. Romney still would've won the primaries on electability and business experience.

I would guess Romney still would've won the primaries, but it would've been very close.

The current GOP base is obssessed with idealogical purity, but as in real life, regular conservatives/moderates still are the majority in the GOP, plus a good number of people who dreamed of Santorum/Gingrich would realize their best shot to defeat Obama was Romney. Instead of winning 52% of the primary vote, it might've been closer to 45%!

But in the long run, Romney would've done better in the general election even if he doesn't win.


You have a point about ideology in the GOP, but the Democrats are starting to become the same way. Prior to the housing market collapse in 2008, if the Democrats' main focus was electability, then Clinton should've defeated Obama. He really wasn't convincing in his ability to win until the middle of September.

Except that Obama was a whole lot more electable than Hillary in 2008.

not even close!

He was seen as a wild eyed liberal who would tax and spend to appease his base while his wife was finally proud of her country for the first time in her adult life.
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PolitiJunkie
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« Reply #15 on: August 27, 2013, 02:15:12 pm »

I stated in an earlier post on a different thread:
Social conservatives/populists made their statement with Santorum, and they still lost. The truth is for all the crazies in the Republican Party, run-of-the-mill conservatives still dominate the GOP primaries. That is why Romney won. They are the "Silent Majority" in the primaries. Romney still would've won the primaries on electability and business experience.

I would guess Romney still would've won the primaries, but it would've been very close.

The current GOP base is obssessed with idealogical purity, but as in real life, regular conservatives/moderates still are the majority in the GOP, plus a good number of people who dreamed of Santorum/Gingrich would realize their best shot to defeat Obama was Romney. Instead of winning 52% of the primary vote, it might've been closer to 45%!

But in the long run, Romney would've done better in the general election even if he doesn't win.


You have a point about ideology in the GOP, but the Democrats are starting to become the same way. Prior to the housing market collapse in 2008, if the Democrats' main focus was electability, then Clinton should've defeated Obama. He really wasn't convincing in his ability to win until the middle of September.

Except that Obama was a whole lot more electable than Hillary in 2008.

not even close!

He was seen as a wild eyed liberal who would tax and spend to appease his base while his wife was finally proud of her country for the first time in her adult life.

During the primaries, Obama did way better in head-to-head matchups with McCain both nationally and in swing states than Clinton.
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barfbag
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« Reply #16 on: August 27, 2013, 02:36:46 pm »

During the primaries, Obama did way better in head-to-head matchups with McCain both nationally and in swing states than Clinton.
[/quote]

Yes but no one knew that ahead of time.
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MalaspinaGold
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« Reply #17 on: August 28, 2013, 11:50:58 pm »

If there were polls out at the time showing Obama doing better, how would people not know it during the primary season? You're not making sense.
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barfbag
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« Reply #18 on: August 29, 2013, 12:04:03 am »

If there were polls out at the time showing Obama doing better, how would people not know it during the primary season? You're not making sense.

I was referring to Obama not polling as well against McCain during the 2008 primaries compared to in the fall.
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hopper
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« Reply #19 on: August 30, 2013, 02:15:22 pm »

I stated in an earlier post on a different thread:
Social conservatives/populists made their statement with Santorum, and they still lost. The truth is for all the crazies in the Republican Party, run-of-the-mill conservatives still dominate the GOP primaries. That is why Romney won. They are the "Silent Majority" in the primaries. Romney still would've won the primaries on electability and business experience.

I would guess Romney still would've won the primaries, but it would've been very close.

The current GOP base is obssessed with idealogical purity, but as in real life, regular conservatives/moderates still are the majority in the GOP, plus a good number of people who dreamed of Santorum/Gingrich would realize their best shot to defeat Obama was Romney. Instead of winning 52% of the primary vote, it might've been closer to 45%!

But in the long run, Romney would've done better in the general election even if he doesn't win.


You have a point about ideology in the GOP, but the Democrats are starting to become the same way. Prior to the housing market collapse in 2008, if the Democrats' main focus was electability, then Clinton should've defeated Obama. He really wasn't convincing in his ability to win until the middle of September.

Except that Obama was a whole lot more electable than Hillary in 2008.

not even close!

He was seen as a wild eyed liberal who would tax and spend to appease his base while his wife was finally proud of her country for the first time in her adult life.
No Obama ran as a Moderate not a liberal.
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barfbag
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« Reply #20 on: August 30, 2013, 04:31:23 pm »

I stated in an earlier post on a different thread:
Social conservatives/populists made their statement with Santorum, and they still lost. The truth is for all the crazies in the Republican Party, run-of-the-mill conservatives still dominate the GOP primaries. That is why Romney won. They are the "Silent Majority" in the primaries. Romney still would've won the primaries on electability and business experience.

I would guess Romney still would've won the primaries, but it would've been very close.

The current GOP base is obssessed with idealogical purity, but as in real life, regular conservatives/moderates still are the majority in the GOP, plus a good number of people who dreamed of Santorum/Gingrich would realize their best shot to defeat Obama was Romney. Instead of winning 52% of the primary vote, it might've been closer to 45%!

But in the long run, Romney would've done better in the general election even if he doesn't win.


You have a point about ideology in the GOP, but the Democrats are starting to become the same way. Prior to the housing market collapse in 2008, if the Democrats' main focus was electability, then Clinton should've defeated Obama. He really wasn't convincing in his ability to win until the middle of September.

Except that Obama was a whole lot more electable than Hillary in 2008.

not even close!

He was seen as a wild eyed liberal who would tax and spend to appease his base while his wife was finally proud of her country for the first time in her adult life.
No Obama ran as a Moderate not a liberal.

I actually think he was more moderate against Hillary Clinton than he was against John McCain. Is that what you mean? Either way for those of us like you and me who pay attention we knew Obama was a wild eyed liberal. Also, his wife was finally proud of her country for the first time in her adult life.
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Badger
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« Reply #21 on: September 02, 2013, 09:44:20 pm »

I stated in an earlier post on a different thread:
Social conservatives/populists made their statement with Santorum, and they still lost. The truth is for all the crazies in the Republican Party, run-of-the-mill conservatives still dominate the GOP primaries. That is why Romney won. They are the "Silent Majority" in the primaries. Romney still would've won the primaries on electability and business experience.

I would guess Romney still would've won the primaries, but it would've been very close.

The current GOP base is obssessed with idealogical purity, but as in real life, regular conservatives/moderates still are the majority in the GOP, plus a good number of people who dreamed of Santorum/Gingrich would realize their best shot to defeat Obama was Romney. Instead of winning 52% of the primary vote, it might've been closer to 45%!

But in the long run, Romney would've done better in the general election even if he doesn't win.


You have a point about ideology in the GOP, but the Democrats are starting to become the same way. Prior to the housing market collapse in 2008, if the Democrats' main focus was electability, then Clinton should've defeated Obama. He really wasn't convincing in his ability to win until the middle of September.

Except that Obama was a whole lot more electable than Hillary in 2008.

not even close!

He was seen as a wild eyed liberal who would tax and spend to appease his base while his wife was finally proud of her country for the first time in her adult life.

Shaddup troll.
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barfbag
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« Reply #22 on: September 02, 2013, 09:48:18 pm »

I stated in an earlier post on a different thread:
Social conservatives/populists made their statement with Santorum, and they still lost. The truth is for all the crazies in the Republican Party, run-of-the-mill conservatives still dominate the GOP primaries. That is why Romney won. They are the "Silent Majority" in the primaries. Romney still would've won the primaries on electability and business experience.

I would guess Romney still would've won the primaries, but it would've been very close.

The current GOP base is obssessed with idealogical purity, but as in real life, regular conservatives/moderates still are the majority in the GOP, plus a good number of people who dreamed of Santorum/Gingrich would realize their best shot to defeat Obama was Romney. Instead of winning 52% of the primary vote, it might've been closer to 45%!

But in the long run, Romney would've done better in the general election even if he doesn't win.


You have a point about ideology in the GOP, but the Democrats are starting to become the same way. Prior to the housing market collapse in 2008, if the Democrats' main focus was electability, then Clinton should've defeated Obama. He really wasn't convincing in his ability to win until the middle of September.

Except that Obama was a whole lot more electable than Hillary in 2008.

not even close!

He was seen as a wild eyed liberal who would tax and spend to appease his base while his wife was finally proud of her country for the first time in her adult life.

Shaddup troll.

You must be George Voinovich.
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Badger
badger
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« Reply #23 on: September 02, 2013, 09:50:36 pm »
« Edited: November 05, 2013, 06:19:14 am by Badger »

In answer to the OP, no screwing way. Romnay BARELY beat Santorum in states like OH and MI, plus robbed him of election-night accolades in IA by the skin of his ass. Lose those states and the resulting momentum effects on each campaign, and it's Mittins who drops out in April, not Santorum.
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barfbag
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« Reply #24 on: September 02, 2013, 10:01:29 pm »

In answer to the OP, no screwing way. Romnay BARELY beat Santorum in states like OH and MI, plus robbed him of election-night accolades by the skin of his ass. Lose those states and the resulting momentum effects on each campaign, and it's Mittins who drops out in April, not Santorum.

This is only true for some of the states.

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