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March 05, 2021, 12:32:50 PM

  Talk Elections
  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion
  U.S. Presidential Election Results
  2012 U.S. Presidential Election Results (Moderator: ON Progressive)
  Why did Romney underperform so much? (search mode)
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Author Topic: Why did Romney underperform so much?  (Read 6905 times)
Where We Griff 1 We Griff All
Adam Griffin
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Posts: 17,969

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E: -7.35, S: -6.26


« on: June 13, 2018, 09:26:17 PM »

The Obama campaign was as efficient of a machine as we've ever seen in American presidential politics. That alone is really all one needs to know - and it applied to just about every facet of the election.

Another factor was that the GOP had a contested primary and the Obama campaign (unlike the Clinton campaign, which was in my opinion their biggest mistake) rolled the dice, believing that despite the same rumbles as we saw in 2016, that Romney would ultimately win the nomination. They spent months and god knows how much money attacking Romney as an out-of-touch millionaire before he was even the presumptive nominee, making him damaged goods from Day 1 of the general election.

Romney certainly didn't do himself any favors - and he very well may have been able to make it incredibly close without his self-inflicted wounds - but his fate was sealed not by his gaffes and missteps, but by the efficiency of the Obama campaign and the extra time it had to destroy him. Obama ultimately won the voters he needed to win, in the areas he needed to win and by the margins he needed to win, and in the process, shut out Romney in almost every part of the country that was competitive. Even with more money, the Romney campaign and allied forces were not able to spend enough across all these battlefronts to offset the Obama campaign's efficiency.

And as far as the "would Clinton have done better by trading increased minority turnout for disgruntled white Democrats in 2008?" argument...I used to think the answer was yes. That very well may still be true in terms of PV, but a Clinton 2008 bid at best would've simply minimized the margins of loss in the Upper South and Appalachia (along with other scattered rural areas nationally) without flipping any states Obama lost. Additionally, a variety of Obama 08 states might have been far more competitive or even lean GOP without that increased minority turnout. Again, campaign efficiency is the theme here.

However, a Clinton 08 campaign would have still resulted in a win and it would have been better for the Democratic Party as a whole in my view, with less hemorrhaging in rural and ancestrally Democratic areas that would have minimized the damage in 2010, reduced any negative impacts of redistricting and resulted in a more stable party electorate as a whole (i.e. less volatility in turnout between presidential and midterm elections due to increased reliance on white voters and reduced reliance on non-white voters).
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