Monday, November 12, 2012

The turnout question

As so often, Instapundit has a good take on the turnout problem. But ...
Is turnout the problem, or a symptom of it?

Some say turnout was the real problem.  (HT to Instapundit) (And welcome Instapundit readers!)

Yes, Romney was close, and turnout was important. But, as per my post of yesterday, that only avoids the underlying questions.


1. Why was GOP turnout so anemic?

Remember, the candidate was personable, well-qualified, unblemished by scandal. The incumbent had a record of horrendous achievement. He didn't even try to offer hope or change; he offered only fear and the status quo, and it wasn't such a hot status quo.

Moreover which real GOP candidate, not Christie or Daniels or Rubio or Teddy Roosevelt or Abe Lincoln, would have done better?

The government-dependent may constitute a majority. Plus, as some have suggested, great swathes of the middle class are blase about the growth of government, or even welcome it.

2. Why did the base turn out for Dems?

I am on tape on a local TV webcast on Election Day saying that enthusiasm wasn't important. All you have to do is trudge down to a polling place and hit the right button or make a few marks on the paper ballot.

Conservatives say Romney could have explained better. Maybe. But Dems always have an advantage, as their message is very easy to explain: Vote Democrat and get more government money.

So voter turnout may just be one side of the takers/makers debate. The takers have more immediate incentive to turn out.

3. All of this goes into the dumper when the U.S. runs out of money. Then everything will hit the fan.

I just don't know if that will be tomorrow or next year or just will slowly happen over a decade or two.

51 comments:

  1. When we run out of money, the tax-eaters will hit the streets as in Greece.

    We are collectively too stupid to save the country. It's all momentum now!

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    1. You may be right. I have some other posts on that. It could be like "the Man Who Would Be King" -- the disillusioned may be very unhappy.

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  2. ...and the celebrity culture will crave and find a dictator.

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    1. "Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become more corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters."

      -- Benjamin Franklin

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    2. The real answer may be in virtue, rather than politics. Virtue is harder to change, unfortunately.

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  3. 2. Why did the base turn out for the Dems? Interestingly, they did not turn out for the Dems in 2012 like they did in 2008. Go look at the numbers. Don't get me wrong, they did turn out but the Dem's turn out was beatable.

    1. Here you go (hint: whites abandoned Romney) -
    a. Evangelicals - decided not to vote for a Mormon
    b. middle class and lower middle class whites - decided not to vote for Richie Rich
    c. Ron Paul white libertarians - after the way Romney treated them at the convention, decided not to vote for Romney
    d. white bona fide conservatives - decided not to vote for yet another stand-for-nothing RINO hand-picked by the Republican establishment.

    Dude - Romney did not turn out the base. White people. Romney got less white people than John McCain. If the white base had turned out, Romney would be President.

    3. hit the fan? Fine. Both the Dems and the Republican establishment have brought this on all of us. Plant your garden now or prepare to go hungry.

    whatever

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    1. Absolutely right! Why wouldn't the conservative base turnout he's perfect Rich white guy, liberal, dissed Reagan, elected governor in an eastern liberal state, personally installed the first ever Obamacare, (which is still detested in the state), never even got re-elected, didn't run again until now, and saved the Olympics, and finally ran a campaign on based on What?

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    2. "a. Evangelicals - decided not to vote for a Mormon"

      Do the vote numbers back that up? My understanding is that looking at the numbers in the states where they are predominant, the votes were there, implying that the evangelicals did get out and vote.

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    3. decided not to vote for yet another stand-for-nothing RINO hand-picked by the Republican establishment

      **Okay, then what was that whole "primary" thing about? If Romney was "hand-picked," why force him to waste all that money in the primaries? At least think about it.

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    4. I heard evangelicals did vote for Romney.

      No question Romney didn't make the full case for conservatism. Yet would rousing the base only have riled the independents -- when the media had finished roasting him.

      He was a flawed candidate. But aren't all candidates flawed?

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  4. I attribute at least some of the low R turnout to the cumulative effects of the primary season.

    As each contender rose to prominence Mitt's henchmen would step in and unload their negative attacks, then the MSM would swoop in, pile on and finish the job. Each time, and with each candidate or issue a fraction of potential R voters said 'count me out.'

    Then when Romney gets to the general election and he tries to hit Obama on his shortcomings, but instead of coming in to amplify and explore the topic the MSM plays clean up for Obama.

    All the while Obama is hammering away on everything that came up in the primaries - tying it all back to Romney, with full assistance from the media. Driving away others who may not have even been paying much attention during the primaries.

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    1. With the media part of the pro-gov coalition, it's true that conservatism is outgunned. That's part of the point -- the left controls not just the masses but the intelligensia too.

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    2. The Left doesn't control the masses. That's the point that the backers of Rudy McRomney have missed since 2006. The Left _does_ control the intelligentsia, including most of the GOP intelligentsia on most issues, and they have for a long, long time, decades in fact.

      The 'masses' do share _some_ Democratic priorities on economics. On social issues, defense issues, national sovereignty issues, language and immigration issues, etc, they lean conservative. They support and like Medicare and Social Security, they strongly dislike many aspects of Obamacare.

      But this is precisely what has made the GOP strategy over the last several elections suicidal. If the goal is to keep the '60s culture and social thinking' and combine it with laissez-faire on economics, and just shrink government, yes, that's always been an exercise in futilty. When Romney ran on economics only, and tried to deemphasize everything else, he was doing exactly what Obama and the Left were praying he would do, because that left the base unexcited or ambivalent and the opposition energized.

      The supposed vast middle of independents swing who are fiscally conservative and socially liberal, well, that pool of swing voters, to a first approximation, _does not exist_. Most of the people supposedly in that category are either primarily social libs, and thuys locked in Dems, or primarily fiscal conservatives, and thus locked in GOP. They are very monogamous swingers.

      So it all comes down to turnout, turnout, turnout, turnout, turnout. In 2008 and 2012, Obama and the Dems worked hard to energize their base, McCain and Romney ran from their base in pursuit of non-existant 'moderate swingers'.

      The results were what they were, and were predictable and predicted.

      As long as the GOP leadership strives to placate the press, satisfy the 'intelligentsia' on both sides, and refuses to reach out to their actual, real-world voter base and the issues _they_ care about, they're going to continue losing most elections, and being ineffectual when they do win.

      You _cannot_ have the approval of the New York Times and the GOP voter base at the same time on most issues. You _cannot_ defeat Democrats in elections and not be loathed and hated by the feminists, the so-called civil rights leadership, or big chunks of the business community. The press will attempt to _destroy_ any GOPer who looks to be damaging their social agenda. Facts of life.

      But the debate in America just isn't about 'government vs. private', or 'makers and takers', and it never has been.

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    3. Excellent points. Economics isn't enough; even economics is a social issue, if single-parent families struggle and thus seek government help. And yes GOP candidates can't turn up their noses at ordinary people who correctly see the moral and social problems we face.

      But is the base big enough? How can we turn out conservatives without alienating or scaring some in the middle? A Santorum, say, would scare them; but a Romney didn't convey that concern for ordinary people. It takes just the right candidate.

      That comes back to the original question. Computers succeeded when ordinary people could use them. Parties succeed when ordinary candidate win with them. Republicans need a perfect candidate because they start out behind. They have to change that somehow. I hope to have more thoughts soon.

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  5. The author misses the point. The Tea party didnt show up to vote because Romney screwed Ron Paul at the convention. Full stop, game over. The next GOP candidate, when they screw the next Tea Party candidate, will suffer the same treatment.

    This is why the Grand Old Party is now going to die. The Boehners and other GOP egos will continue to try to shut down the Tea Party. This will keep even more Tea Party/Libertarians away from the GOP. The question is will it die before the country dies. Hard to say.

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    1. Get a life, please. Ron Paul is not "the TEA Party's" candidate, he's not anyone's candidate other than his own.

      The only people Romney screwed at the convention are self-important twits who think they should be able to lie to the voters, pretend to support a candidate, and then go to the Convention on the votes of a candidate who they don't actually support. Those people deserve to be screwed.

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    2. The reason conventions are so meaningless now is that the elected delegates don't get to support their candidate. The establishment Bigs want it all wrapped up for their moderate candidate by May. If they want a nominee earlier, let the state conventions elect the delegates and move the national convention to the first week of June.

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    3. I don't disagree with the observation that Romney didn't make a full-bore defense of freedom. But again, is that possible, if the media distorts all? And if the 47 or whatever percent are in government's pocket from the get-go.

      I'm not totally pessimistic. Just worried.

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    4. the Tea Party was CREATED to nominate Ron Paul back in 2008. to say hes not the Tea Party candidate is absurd. its more of the fact that people who call themselves Tea Party dont understand what "limited government" actually means when they support someone like Gingrich or Romney.

      also, Ron Paul supporters did not lie. the purpose of having a caucus is to see who is the candidate that fires up the base. there were only two candidates who met that description. the first was Ron Paul, and the second was Rick Santorum. everyone else was "meh", including Romney. their supporters were enthusiastic enough to go through the whole long and grueling process and become delegates. Romney and Gingrich supporters merely casted a vote and went home.

      and a delegate has the final right at the convention to choose to cast a vote. if no one wins the majority on the first vote, then delegates become unbound. and many states were unbound to begin with. the fact is, Ron Paul and Santorum supporters could have denied Romney the nomination. but Romney went and got rid of all the delegates he didnt trust. and the state GOP leadership let him. it went against all the rules.

      and then you wonder why the evangelicals and libertarians stayed home, after they were disenfranchised by the same party who claims to value liberty. the right wing voters are not like leftists. they will not vote for a candidate just because the GOP leaders and the media tell them to.

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    5. "...the Tea Party was CREATED to nominate Ron Paul..."--morris q

      False.

      Ron Paul has way too much baggage to appeal to the mainstream TEA Party folks. He's only the darling of tiny number of fanatical hard-money kooks and pot-head stoners, nobody else.

      Try again.

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    6. Micha Elyi, you clearly dont know what youre talking about. the Tea Prty was created in 2008 by young enthusiastic voters to get Ron Paul elected. soon after, it was taken over just in time for 2010 elections by the old people who vote for more of the same. "mainstream" Tea Party are just plain GOP voters. they have no political philosophy and will vote for whoever has an R after their name. in that instance, they are no different than liberals. Mr Republican would turn over in his grave if he saw what has become of his party.

      i can tell you are one of those old people i spoke of just by your stoner comment alone. another person who is just too old to think for themselves.

      and by your "hard-money kook" comment, i can tell youre going to be caught completely unawares by the coming market corrections to the global financial system. if you really dont have exposure to gold in your portfolio, then i feel sorry for you. every central bank in the Eastern Hemisphere is buying up gold by the tonnes, and even countries on this side, like Mexico and Venzuela. not to mention Germany and Switzerland want their gold back from the Federal Reserve. but i guess theyre all kooks for thinking the US dollar cannot maintain its status as reserve currency? in the face of debasement through QE infinity, its just not possible. its only been 41 years since gold was demonetized. the US, and the world, has been on commodity standard for far longer than it was off it.

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  6. One miscalculation activists on both sides of the aisle always make is "the base didn't turn out because the candidate wasn't emphatic on issue X" but I would offer that analysis, but flipped.

    Maybe a lot of conservatives on the moderate wing of Party sat it out because of the SoCon nonsense from people like Akin, Mourdock, Santorum, and Michelle Bachmann?

    The fact the GOP had to fight to put in a rape exception to abortion in the Party platform is disgusting to say the least.

    The GOP needs to drop the Religious Right nonsense, that can't even sell that anymore in the Bible Belt as Indiana and Missouri showed us. I vote Republican because I believe in smaller government, I only tolerate the freaks of our party, but it's getting a lot harder to ignore the unhinged that are really only interested in some sort of TheoCrat political movement.

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    1. Then you have a big, big problem, becuase they that win the culture war win everything. Game over. The Dems are hoping and praying that the GOP does just what you recommend, _again_, just like they did in 1996, 1998, 2006, 2008, and 2012. Turn against real voters in puruit of imaginary voters.

      You can ally with the religious conservatives and national security conservatives and other non-economic conservatives and get 50% of what you want, or you can reject them and get 100% of the Dem agenda, and there is no third option. If the SoCons go away, the GOP gets to go back to permanent minority status much like the pre-Reagan, pre-Gingrich days.

      You _cannot_ have small government while letting social liberals have the rest, it's not in the electoral math. Bob Michels used to operate under the assumption, as a _given_, that the GOP was always marginal, and always would be. It was Reagan who brought in new voters, former Dems, to the GOP and made them competitive again, and those new voters were mostly social-issue and security-driven. They did oppose the Dem excesses on economics, but that did not mean they were libertarians.

      What drives voters away from the GOP is the image they have as being the 'party of big business and the rich', a curse they've labored under, only partly fairly, since the 1930s. If not for the social and defense issues, the Democrats would still be the natural majority party, and the debate between 'mid-size governemnt' and 'big government' would be waged within their ranks while the GOP watched from the margins.

      Nobody has to like those facts, but they are facts. Note that the media keeps pushing hte same line you are, about how the GOP could win if they'd just reject social conservatism. That alone tells us that the Dems are hoping for just that.

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  7. A Republican who won't fight anyone but other Republicans will not win. That went for John McCain, and now Mitt Romney. Hopefully two trips to woodshed are enough, and someone who will take the fight to the true enemy will get the nomination.

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    1. Romney didn't fight hard enough, that's true. Only an alley fighter had a chance.

      But with the media distorting a candidate, and voters looking for empathy, would a fighter have had a chance either?

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  8. Wow, so many generalizations. In my area, the Tea Party would have crawled over carpet tacks to vote for a dead pig to keep Obama from another 4 years of shredding the constitution. We didn't care that Mitt was white or Mormon or Rich (a plus) we wanted the country killer stopped. I haven't a clue why other Libertarians and Conservatives decided that 4 more years of O was a good idea.

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    1. Good point. Apathy? Romney failed to make that final connection?

      Or has even the middle class become accustomed to government boodle?

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    2. The middle class has been accustomed to government boodle since the 1930s, in one form or another. That isn't why Romney lost. And yes, he failed to make the connection to his own ambivalent base.

      Remember, from their POV, Romney was at best the lesser evil, and even if he won, that meant that in 2016 they faced the same old dreary choice of 'Romney or a Democrat' all over again. They didn't trust him, they didn't quite believe in him, he was saying all the right things, but he'd said so many opposite things in the not-too-distant past...I hate to say it, but Obama's 'Romnesia' line was a pretty good political attack line. So was Teddy Kennedy's old 'multiple choice Mitt'. They were effective because they played straight into their target's weaknesses.

      So what it came down to was that the GOP ranks were eager to see Obama gone, but ambivalent about Romney winning. The Dem base was not very ambivalent about his winning and eager to beat Romney.

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  9. The question to ask and answer is, "Does brainwashing work?" Answer: yes.

    Next: "Can brainwashing make people vote for cheap, illusionary self-interest and against self-interest, maturely understood?" (i.e. cut off nose to spite face?) Answer: yes.

    Next: "Do we have a situation where the leaven of the Scribes and the leaven of the Pharisees fight each other to no avail?" Answer: yes.

    Next: "Do we need a new mindset (comprehensive world view, weltanschauung) above this rabble? Answer: yes.

    Next: "What is that Weltanschauung?" It is the Tragic View that man sins, but his leader sins more because leaders can hide self-dealing almost perfectly. This is the American Mind of 1776, that since we have no angels to arrange society, we assume every leader can be a very bad Devil, and limit that Devil's power by pitting Other Devil's power against each stinkin' Devil.

    Next: "Can this be taught at public schools, universities and through Christian/Jewish leaders?" Answer: Yes, but only if such leaders confess they have been self-dealing to the max, and creating rubes instead of intellects that can distinguish truth from a lie, an honest broker from a rube-creating Mandarin.

    Next: "Who has covered this answer sufficient for the task?" Answer... FIRST, STOP DISBELIEVING. STOP BELIEVING THERE IS NO ANSWER. HAVE FAITH FOR THE ANSWER.

    Again: "Who has covered this answer sufficient for the task?" Answer: Well, a blurb here, a thought there isn't sufficient. A multiple-year study is sufficient. And it is available through nine books of In That Day Teachings.

    www.inthatdayteachings.com

    Next: Shall we attack In That Day Teachings? Answer: Be my guest.

    Next: How much does it cost, the creator must be an exploitive, explative-deleted bad person! Right?

    Answer: Free. Free at In That Day Teachings (google it.) or visit www.inthatdayteachings.com

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  10. I figure left wing projection is the surest guide to the left wing intention:

    The left wing suppressed the vote. All they needed to do is get a few liberal judges in various precincts, and make the votes disappear.

    Say a precinct has 1000 voters, perhaps evenly split between R and D for simplicity. If 50 votes are screened and made to go away, that is 10% of the R vote. In 10 hours that the polls are open, that is 5 per hour, or 1 every 12 minutes. All the judge has to do is step in front of the ballot box and claim that he will put in in. Honest people don't expect dishonesty. They hand over their ballot.

    It is recorded as someone who spoiled their ballot and left.

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    1. And the representatives from the other party just look away?

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    2. Not out of the possibility. Sadly.

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    3. The GOP is _afraid_. They're afraid of the news media, afraid of being called sexist, or racist, or 'hater', or theocrat, or homophobe. They're afraid of being disliked and hated by their various friends and associates inside the Beltway and academia and the business world, all three of which tend to be dominated by liberals. (Yes, the higher levels of the corporate world trend liberal, esp. social liberal.)

      This fear very nearly paralyzes them.

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  11. @Fred: I'm sure Ron Paul had some Tea Party support, but he was hardly the "Tea Party Candidate". Although the focus of the Tea Party is fiscal issues, I think many tea partiers (including myself) do not agree with Paul's weak national defense positions. From everything I saw, the Tea Partiers did indeed turn out, and were the voters who would have crawled over broken glass to vote against Obama.

    Having said that, I agree with you that the GOP needs to adopt more limited government, "libertarian" positions if they want to broaden their base.

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    1. not wanting our troops to die for nothing in these godforsaken sh*tholes is being weak on defense? he wanted to bring our troops home and put them on the Mexican border, where they can actually defend this country. these wars for oil will be pointless when in 5 years, the US becomes the world's largest oil producer. not only will the US be self-sufficient, but the US will actually become a net exporter. the dependency on Middle East oil is going to be a thing of the past. all were doing now is stabilizing these oil producers for China to take over.

      and not only did Ron Paul want our troops out of the Middle East, but also out of Europe. every election, the liberals point out that Europe has national healthcare program. its easy to do that when your national defense is a non-issue because youre protected by the world's strongest military. let them pay for their own defense. and if they cant still afford health care, then the free market defenders in Europe will thank us for nudging them in the right direction.

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  12. True in my area too. We T.P.'s didn't think much of Mitt, but none of us failed to vote for him. The important part was to get rid of Obama.

    The R party kept telling us that our swing county was safely republican all the way up until the results began to come out and Arapahoe county turned out to be safely blue.

    The republican party needs to go the way of the Whigs.

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  13. Why is Romney a RINO when he balanced Mass budget without raising taxes, when he is pro-family, pro-life, and pro-free market, and promised to pare down the govt. and strengthen the military?

    Who the hell is a true conservative? Reagan, who amnestized millions illegals without closing the borders? Gringrich who faulted a successful businessman as a vulture capitalist? That Pennsylvania guy who wanted to force raped victims to carry the rapist's baby to term, possibly destroying her life and her family? The Domino pizza guy who couldn't keep his zippers zipped?

    Yeah, a "true" conservative is around the cornor to save the day. A unicorn is a real beast.

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    1. Excellent points. There are no flawless conservatives. So we can't depend on one candidate, but a movement. So why didn't the movement work? Have we sold out. Or are we not yet ready; does it take a real crisis?

      If so, we may not have to wait much longer.

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    2. Romeny _talked_ a good game of conservatism, but he just couldn't convince voters that he _meant_ it. HE wsa pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage (IIRC), believed in AGW, too recently, his change as too conveniently timed. He six months after he clinched the nomination to close the deal and convince his own side, and he didn't try to do it. I'm not sure he even grasped the problem.

      The very thngs that made Romney (and McCain, and Rudy) appealing to the party elites undercut them on E-day.

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  14. Romney is weird - and not a conservative - so I stayed home. When he said he doesn't have to release more than two years of his tax returns, or discuss his religion - and the rest of you agreed with him - you told me to stay home. When the Right went from understanding Alinsky, to actually BECOMING Alinsky, I had no choice but to stay home. And when I tell you "Anyone But Romney," and you reply "take-it-or leave it," well, you get the picture.

    If you ask me, 3 million REAL conservative Republicans looked at your arrogance, lies, and self-deceptions, and - damn the torpedoes - told you to stuff it.

    Now, grab a mirror and debate that,...





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    1. There's a lot to what you say. Romney was sold to us as winner. And he'd won just one major election in his life.

      There's an old football joke about the well-muscled player who looks like Tarzan and plays like Jane. That was Romney: he just couldn't convey that he meant it.

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  15. look in the mirror at yourself; if there is a better definition of a 'useful idiot' I haven't seen it; I hope you suffer during the coming collapse and feel really good about exercising your self righteousness.

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  16. I'm not convinced that turnout was the problem. While Romney didn't have the same turnout as George W. Bush in 2004, he did best John McCain's 2008 total.

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  17. 1) Turnout was A problem, not THE problem, and it neglects that Obama lost 10million voters from 08. He wasn't a juggernaut.

    2) The problem was Romney. He ran a campaign that 'assumed' the base had nowhere to go. Well, that didn't mean they had to go anywhere. They decided the functional difference between him and Obama wasn't big enough to merit voting for a lesser Progressive just because he was a more decent human being.

    You can't run around saying 'this is a tipping point election' and then nominate someone that enabled the heart of the progressive agenda as governor without consequence. You can't break election law by rescheduling primaries and then silence dissent at the convention without expecting it to bite you. Romney is an incredibly decent human being and good businessman. But he was a lousy candidate when you NEEDED to draw a sharp contrast against Obama. Because he's not a sharp contrast at all. Ryan is. But he wasn't the top of the ticket.

    Also, Romney was the candidate Obama had in his crosshairs for nearly 2 full years. He wanted him nominated. He tailored his message and everything he campaigned on to aim AT him. It was scorched earth, anti-capitalist, and petty. But it was designed to destroy one man. That's hard to overcome. Especially with the incompetent staff he had (see Orca).

    Also, Romney was his own worst enemy in the end. He had the campaign won after the 1st debate. All he had to do was turn up the pressure and Obama would've folded. Instead, he reverted to 'cautious investor' personality when he felt he was ahead. He played the last two debates safe, giving back ground in exchange for not making a big mistake. He counted on stasis to carry him through. But Sandy blew away the status quo. When you have an opponent down, FINISH HIM. Romney didn't.

    3) As long as the GOP keeps assuming it can throw sops to its base while nominating milquetoast moderate "electable" candidates it will lose. Just because it rigs the primaries to ensure the kingmakers get their say doesn't mean the ruling class is right. Until the Karl Roves and New England Republicans who can't even invigorate a lively minority in their own region are sent packing by the people who DO win elections in this party, the GOP is doomed to lose Presidential elections.

    If you can't nominate a candidate who truly espouses three-legged conservatism instead of neo-cons who lost relevance in 2006, you can't expect anything but what you got.

    It's not Demographics, that's a myth: easily countered by saying, "You aren't a statistic and part of a mass. You're an individual entitled to freedom." Do we need to message better? Yes. But we don't need to sell out the principles.

    It's not going to war with So-cons. Moderates took at LEAST as big a bath. And if Akin and Mourdock could've strategized instead of playing bomb-throwing rabble-rousers, they both would've won easily. Evangelicals are still the largest and most consistent turnout in the GOP. Gut that in favor of constituencies that don't exist at your own peril.

    The solution isn't circular firing squads among the base. It's aiming all our fire at the 'ruling class' to make sure they never, ever, have the chance to muck up a winnable election again.

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  18. At some level election strategy is kind of like marketing strategy. In the last few years marketing has changed a lot. Computing power and storage has gotten really cheap. There are all kinds of databases with enormous amounts of data and marketing software is getting very good at picking needles out of haystacks.

    The left has been talking a whole lot about voter suppression this election cycle. Given their tendency to project, I think that it is reasonable to think that was their strategy. There was a certain amount of refusing to let people vote, particularly when it came to military absentee ballots but most of the effort went into persuading voters to suppress their own vote. That is where the big data marketing analysis came in. If you analyze the voters in the swing states down to the individual level, you get an idea what sort of arguments might work. If you have a hard core conservative, don't waste any effort on them because they were willing to crawl over broken glass to vote against Obama but the independents were a different story. They did not like Obama but they could be persuaded that Mitt Romney was either just as bad or at least not worth voting for. If the market research indicated that someone was concerned with cults, barrage them with messages that the Mormon church is a cult. If they are concerned about keeping their manufacturing job, hit them with messages that Romney wants to send their job to China, if they seem like someone who would be susceptible to arguments that Romney will make contraceptives illegal, bombard them with that message. The important concept is that modern day computer technology allows them to target the message to the individual.

    For the most part, the discussion here is over which one size fits all message should Romney have made. That is the equivalent of Vietname era B-52 raids dropping tons of bombs on acreage in the jungle in the hope that it would do some good. The Democrats microtargeting methods were like sending a single plane with a GPS precision guided weapon to take out the target.

    Combine that with the fact that the Democrats used a get out the vote method that worked while the Republican Project Orca software was a failure and they had no backup plan so Republicans essentially had no effective get out the vote effort and since effective get out the vote usually adds 2% to 5% to the vote totals, that percent of the voters stayed home.

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    1. Tactics do matter. But so does the fact that so many feel helpless and dependent on government in the first place.

      And if "dependent on government" = "dependent on the media," well, that is a big challenge.

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  19. The GOP has a basic problem, which is that the GOP _economic_ agenda is unpopular, and has been since the 1930s. That is, the American electorate is still pro-New Deal on a basic level. That does not mean they are pro-Great Society, and it does not mean that they support _all_ the Democrats' agenda. Obamacare, for example, is unpopular, and was the biggest single reason for the GOP success in 2010.

    But economics alone can not propel the GOP to a majority. Even the opposition to Obamacare is more about its underwriting of abortion and the prospect of what amount to death panels. Yet Romney ran away from the social issues fast once he had the nomination, refused to emphasize Obamacare as a bad thing (he mentioned it in the debates, but that was about it), and he himself comes out of the _finane industry_, which Americans tended to distrust even back in the 19th century, much less since the Depression and the 2007-8 meltdown.

    The GOP was a permanent minority party from the Depression to the time of Reagan and Gingrich. It was the defection of the social conservatives, driven out of the Dems by the social revolution of the McGovern movement and subsequent years, that made the GOP not only competitive but let them sometimes take full control. Without the social issue voters, the GOP is back to permanent minority status. The voter math here is absolutely unforgiving, no social issue voters, no majority.

    Yet for last several years, the GOP keeps trying, and trying, and trying to get away from the social issue voters, in pursuit of the mirage of Democratic 'crossver vote'. Bob Dole used this approach, as did John McCain, and now Mitt Romney. The results were the same each time, enough Republicans stayed home to not only cost us the White House but to give the Dems good results up and down the ticket. 2012 was just 2008 over again, more or less.

    Add in the desire to be liked by the dominant culture in Washington, Hollywood, and the news media, and you get the successive series of disasters that was 1996, 1998, 2006, 2008, and 2012. The same pattern is visible in each election.

    Republicans _cannot_ get the liberal women, the black vote, the 'youth vote', etc, under current conditions. Nothing is enough. Nor can they get the Hispanic vote IF that vote is conditional on supporting open-borders immigration, because do to that would fracture the base so badly as to cost us more than any possible benefit from Hispanic crossover. Therefore, to win, we have to rally our own voters and bring out voters who are basically dissatisfied with the current governing class.

    Which means we don't need to try to be more like Dems. That just won't work. We need to figure out what we want that the public likes, and emphasize that, and remember that if the newes media starts screaming 'racist, sexist, hater,' etc, it means they feel threatened and we're doing something right. If they seem accepting, or complimentary, it means we're playing into the Dems' hands somehow.

    But no matter what happens, we need to be aware that FDR is still popular and people still _support_ SoSec and Medicare. Bush didn't lose Congress in 2006 because of Iraq or Katrina, he lost it because of his proposed SoSec reforms and (esp.) Amnesty, our side became disgusted and stayed home, he wedged his own base.

    We can still win elections. Our various factions (SoCons, libertarians, some business interests, national security/sovereignty voters, we can work together and each get 40% or 70% of what we want. But 'fiscal conservative/social liberal', which is the media-approved, accepted form of conservative, is an E-day loser, and we know that from experience.

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    1. Excellent post! Romney satisfied fiscal conservatives but disappointed social conservatives and missed the Benghazi critique that would have pleased our hawks.

      Turn out the base by adopting its policies. Pull in the middle by doing so in moderate terminology.

      I wrote recently "Abortion and Rape from a Prolife Perspective"- http://douglaswinslowcooper.blogspot.com .

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    2. Some good comments. I'd note that Republicans don't have to abolish the New Deal to turn more power over to people and communities.

      The Ryan proposal for Medicare, for instance, would empower people. And if you empower them, they grow more conservative.

      Heard something that if someone has even a small amount in a 401(k), he or she is significantly more likely to vote Republican. We don't have to destroy the New Deal, but we need to update and reform it by giving people, not bureaucrats, more power over it. That changes things.

      On Libya too, the GOP needed to press the issue. As many now say, since it is a sex scandal, nothing can keep it off even liberal front pages.

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    3. The Ryan proposal ran into the problem of GOP negative perception, though. The GOP has been so vocally hostile to _all_ entitlement spending for so long that even proposals that are, in themselves, fairly benign (from that POV) are suspect. It's a huge PR problem that the mainstream media eagerly amplifies, but they aren't the _source_.

      It was a mistake for Ryan to start talking about Medicare changes, of any sort, so soon after the 2010 victories. A big swath of jaundiced voters who agree with us on Obamacare heard that and said, "There they go again" and tuned us out. We should have focused on Obamacare, which is broadly unpopular and mostly unites the GOP, and then after winning control, spent some time preparing the ground and convincing the public that we aren't a band of ogres who think of nothing but big business.

      The trouble, of course, is that at the top, too many GOP officials _are_ largely and only concerned with the big business agenda. It was the Chamber of Commerce faction that helped push us toward the losing agenda of the last 6 years in the first place.

      The above tactical problem applies to issues besides entitlements, too. To use GWB as an example, he claimed in 2006-7 that he wanted to secure the borders, but nobody believed him because he had shown to trace of any desire to do that in the previous 6 years. If he had visibly worked to secure the border in his first term, then the public would have been far more receptive to the rest of his immigration agenda in 2006-7.

      As for Libya, the Dems desperately want it to be perceived as a sex scandal. That was their core tactic in the 1990s, to claim that all the problems swirling around Bill Clinton were about the fact that he had sex with an intern, and refuse to discuss the more serious legal issues involved. If the media can keep it 'about sex' that can avoid discussing the nasty national security and Presidential truthfulness issues in play.

      But as far as talking about it goes, once again Romney was simply repeating the campaign of McCain. The great terror of the Left and Obama in 2008 was that the GOP would use Reverend J-Wright agains them, which was why they worked so hard to declare any mention of him 'racist' and off-limits. The attack ads would have written themselves and been all but impossible to counter, but the GOP just couldn't bring themselves to challenge the liberal orthodoxy.

      Ditto Romney this time. At heart, I suspect he's too much of an lib himself to fight them effectively.

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  20. It would appear that there was a lot of truth in Rush Limbaugh's comment that you can't beat Santa Claus when it comes to a vote. Hope I am long gone when the socialists finally run out of other people's money.

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