Which chances were most missed by the GOP?...
Politics maven Sean Trende crunched election numbers and found 7 million fewer whites voting than in 2008. This, he concludes, explains the higher percentage turnout of minorities as to the whole electorate. Trende writes:
Had the same number of white voters cast ballots in 2012 as did in 2008, the 2012 electorate would have been about 74 percent white, 12 percent black, and 9 percent Latino (the same result occurs if you build in expectations for population growth among all these groups). In other words, the reason this electorate looked so different from the 2008 electorate is almost entirely attributable to white voters staying home. The other groups increased their vote, but by less than we would have expected simply from population growth.
Put another way: The increased share of the minority vote as a percent of the total vote is not the result of a large increase in minorities in the numerator, it is a function of many fewer whites in the denominator.
So who were these whites and why did they stay home? My first instinct was that they might be conservative evangelicals turned off by Romney’s Mormonism or moderate past. But the decline didn’t seem to be concentrated in Southern states with high evangelical populations.
Trende checked Ohio county turnouts & believes that the relentless negative sliming of Romney as a rich plutocrat that does not care for others--a slanderous statement--convinced these voters to stay home, despite their disenchantment with President Obama.
Hardly MIA were American Muslims, who voted 86-4 percent for Obama, with 95 percent turnout. Also from the poll: (1) States with the highest number of survey respondents (in descending order) were California, New York, Texas, Virginia, Illinois, Florida, Michigan, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Ohio; (2) 41.5 percent said they consider themselves Democrats. A similar number, 40.6 percent, consider themselves politically independent. Only 7.4 percent said they are Republican.
Jennifer Rubin at Right Turn adds nuggets: (1) In bellwether Ohio, 160,000 more blacks were turned out in 2012 than in 2008. This was greater than Obama's Ohio victory margin; (2) Hurricane Sandy was cited as top voting factor by 15 percent, with 17 percent of these--2.5 percent of the electorate--making their minds up in the final 48 hours. Such was the value of Christie's photo op. Depending upon how many of the Sandy voters were leaning to MItt, Christie might have cost Romney the popular vote. And Sandy happened too close to Nov. 6 for the Katrina-like aftermath to sink in with voters.
WSJ's Kim Strassel details the GOP senatorial collapse. Three elections with staggering serial ineptitude leaves Democrats with 55 Senate seats, instead of more like 45.
Charles Krauthammer is more optimistic than I, and a wise head. He sees an immigration compromise that would swing Hispanics towards GOP: blanket amnesty first; then enforcing borders. He believes this a necessary concession to Latino sensitivities, and sees new-generation GOP leaders (the usual list) who can sell this and give the GOP a majority of Hispanic voters. George Will is less sanguine, and sees immigration reform as a potential trap:
Republicans can take some solace from the popular vote. But unless they respond to accelerating demographic changes — and Obama, by pressing immigration reform, can give Republicans a reef on which they can wreck themselves — the 58th presidential election may be like the 57th, only more so.
Rich Lowry sees an acute middle-class problem for the GOP:
According to the exit polls, 27 percent of people Tuesday night said the candidate quality that mattered most was “shares my values.” Mitt Romney beat Obama among them 55 percent to 42 percent. Eighteen percent wanted “a strong leader.” Romney won them 61 percent to 38 percent. And 29 percent wanted the candidate with “a vision for the future.” Romney won 54 percent of them.
For a challenger to convince people he’s a strong leader with a vision for the future would, you think, be enough for victory. But the pollsters asked about one more quality: “cares about people like me.” For 21 percent of people that was the most important quality, and Obama trounced Romney among them 81 percent to 18 percent.
That a hyper-narcissist like Obama could persuade some many voters that he deeply cares for them is scary enough. That "cares about me" matters more than the qualities for which Romney polled well is scarier still. To conservatives, "caring government" is like "nice IRS agent"--an oxymoron.
At NRO, David French warns that the GOP has lost touch with economically insecure voters who fear market economics:
To tens of millions of American voters, a conservative message of self-reliance and individual economic freedom is, quite frankly, terrifying.
First, each of Obama’s core constituencies (single women, African-Americans, and Latinos) is seriously — and disproportionately — economically disadvantaged compared to the classic paradigm of the white, college-educated Republican voter. The rates of poverty and near-poverty among these groups are much greater, thus causing a critical mass of both populations to suffer — even if they’re technically middle class — from a greater degree of economic insecurity. Even as Mitt won the votes of those who make over $50,000 by nine points, Obama won those who make less by a whopping 22 points — enough to give him the victory.
Second, while classic identity-group issues like abortion, affirmative action, and immigration undoubtedly matter, conservatives are deluding themselves if they think they can simply take those issues off the table and then compete on equal terms for this slice of voters. In fact, economically insecure voters can even agree with conservatives on social issues yet will still consistently pull the lever for statist candidates. Ideologically and historically they are pre-disposed towards statism as the means of alleviating economic insecurity and distress. In other words, for the single mom, “Julia” is an appealing paradigm — because at least someone is taking care of her family. (If I hear one more time that Latinos are social conservatives ready to support Republicans if only we could pass comprehensive immigration reform, I might throw something).
Third, this statist outlook is relentlessly reinforced in a news and pop-culture bubble that conservatives simply aren’t penetrating. If you check out this chart (from Buzzfeed), you’ll note the obvious truth that not only do conservatives and liberals read different publications, but even “moderates” read disproportionately liberal publications (which is perhaps one reason why “moderates” are really less-liberal liberals and not less-conservative conservatives). Within this liberal bubble, it is simply conventional wisdom that conservatives not only don’t care about those less fortunate but that we will even promote human suffering if it means higher profit margins and more cash in our pockets. In other words, we can change our messaging on Fox News, talk radio, and even our primaries all we want, but it won’t make a dime’s bit of difference to this decisive economic constituency. We might laugh at Obama choosing the “Pimp With a Limp” and Us Weekly over Meet the Press, but he’s simply reaching more potential voters through those outlets.
French notes that the last time the GOP won the popular vote was 2004, and the the GOP's last period of dominance in the popular vote was the 1980s, when mainstream media was the only game in town. Put simply, the electorate has changed.
Jeffrey Ferguson of The Harbour League, a conservative policy group (full disclosure: I am a trustee), offers an intelligent survey of the new political landscape, and advice for Republicans on how to navigate it.
Bottom Line. The GOP has lots of work to do before 2016. By then it may be too late. But the GOP has no choice but to try to find a way to recover, or it will be left on history's ash-heap.
Letter from the Capitol, LFTC, Conservative Politics