11.07.2012 09:28 AM

U.S. election open thread

Exhilarated, exhausted, exhaling. What a night.

I am so happy, I can’t tell you how happy. So, over to you smart commenters: why did Obama win? Why did Romney lose?

Open thread. Comment away!

(Here, by the way, is the back of my car.  Tells the tale. Happy, BTW, that equal marriage is the law in Maine!)

82 Comments

  1. Obviously the CIA hacked your computer and snatched the draft copy of Fight the Right and then Obama focused on lanuage and values and won.

  2. Kev says:

    Romney lost because he only represents the interests of 1% of the population.

    • He received 48% of the popular vote. So why then did 47% of the population vote for him if he wasn’t representing their interests? Oh, wait. You were just using an empty cliche to sound hip with your friends. My apologies. Carry on.

  3. torgo says:

    1. The economy. While this was probably the one big issue that actually hurt Obama the most, given how slow the recovery has been and how many Americans are still struggling, Romney did not provide much of a alternative both in terms of actual policies (“I’ll tell you after the election”) and image (the plutocrat with the car elevator). I think he did gain a lot of working-class votes from his business experience and the idea of a change from Obama, but just as many were scared off by the idea of a return to Bush.

    2. Women. The gender gap was 11% in favour of Obama. I guess there weren’t binders of women who were that enamoured with the antics of Akin and Mourdock and the less-foot-in-mouth beliefs of Ryan.

    3. More demographics. Many pundits hammer this too much, but when you look at the racial make-up of the US and the voting patterns of different groups, the Republicans are not of the right side of the trend. They’re able to make up for this in the House with creative re-districting, but on a bigger level it’s hurting them. Bush had made great strides in 2004 with Latinos, but that’s all been thrown away in the last eight years.

    4. Likability. Despite the many problems in the country (and the almost obsessive hatred of him by some), I think Obama was just more relatable.

    5. Strategy and focus. Much as he did in his primary campaign against Hillary Clinton in 2008, Obama didn’t get distracted by the greater game and the pundit gossip. He played the numbers and simply did what he needed to do to win, riding the ups and downs of a campaign of endurance expertly. To be honest, I wish he governed as well as he campaigned.

  4. John says:

    Four years ago the Republican Party vowed to “make him (Obama) fail”. They lost THIS election four years ago.

    • Dave Breukelaar says:

      The GOP still have control of the House. Will they still vow to ‘make him fail’, or will they put the partisan BS aside and actually govern? Time will tell, but my inner cynicism tell me that they will do all they can to oppose him.

  5. WDM says:

    Romney lost because the Republican Party is becoming more and more disconnected from America. The far-right fringe is shrinking at the same time the Republicans seems to be more willing to be held hostage by them. Yes, social conservative issues such as same-sex marriage and abortion (in particular the over the top rhetoric by some candidates) hurts, but moreso than that i think a complete misunderstanding of how people view the role of government and the economy.

    Sure, libertarianism and individualism are popular, but people don’t want to hear “You’re on your own” from a Presidential candidate. Most DO see a role for government. One can quibble about what the role should be, but suggesting that government has no role at all – especially in a struggling economy, is absurd.

  6. Philippe says:

    Godly ground game from the Dems. Also, a larger demographic.. they have the women, the Latinos, the Blacks and the youth.

    My overall take is that the Republicans are in deep shit. All they have as a demo is older white guys, and that’s a shrinking demographic in the States. My bet is that they’ll pivot towards the center – they don’t have a choice.

    • Kelly says:

      Some will but hopefully the hicks and crazies in the bible thumping flyover states will start their own party and Democrats will run things for the next 100 years.

      • Philippe says:

        They’re caught between moderation (where the votes are) and their more extreme base. Romney finally “got it” and pivoted towards the center and made a race of it… had he done that during the Primaries, the Republican base would have turned on him. I can’t help but feel gleeful at their coming civil war. The lesson is to nip the extremist problem in the bud early, rather than cater to it- the tea party will continue to be their downfall.

        Now, let’s see if the Republitards have learned any lessons and are capable of compromise to avoid a financial meltdown. I won’t hold my breath.

        • Susan MacIsaac says:

          Philippe,

          Smarten up. Its people like you who used the ‘r’ word here that insults intellectually challenged people like my son.

        • Reality.Bites says:

          Stephen Harper was smart enough to realize the extreme base has nowhere else to go and they tend to be concentrated in areas where if some of them refuse to vote for him, he’d still win.

          The difference is, of course, that Canadian parties choose a leader, who has far more power over the direction of his or her party than an American presidential candidate.

          One wonders what the Republicans could accomplish if they had a presidential candidate who said “I will introduce no legislation on abortion and veto any such legislation that reaches my desk” and “the definition of marriage is up to the individual states. Our government will recognize and provide all federal rights and benefits to all legal marriages.”

  7. smelter rat says:

    The Republican courtship of the extreme right tea party has backfired, and that will need to change if they hope to ever regain the Presidency. Angry old white people are yesterday’s news.

  8. dave says:

    Pass a health bill that is 8 kilograms of paper primarily guaranteeing insurance corporations more profits.
    Send in the drones…call anyone slain a militant/terrorist/taliban.
    Bail out bigshots.
    Allow student debt, home losses, poverty to rise.
    Send in a gang to get Osama, do not DO NOT capture him, kill him, hide the body, take credit.
    Send more guns to Mexico.
    Coddle and protect the regime in Israel.
    Ignore, or use to your advantage, flaws in the electoral system.
    Spend big on attack ads from the get go.
    Make it clear that the other bunch is worse.

  9. MoeL says:

    Binder full of Romneys… “what/who were you actually voting for” cost him his credibility?
    Lunatic right… a.k.a. tea baggers!
    Biggest loser… Mitch McConnell. This time though, he can say with 100% certainty that he will limit the president to TWO terms!

  10. Jon Adams says:

    I’m noting that a lot of the Republican reaction has a decidedly “Wildrose” flavour to it, so if I may draw a parallel: lots of assuming that the election was basically in the bag, refusal to distance themselves from the nuttier elements of the party (and even embracing them), and a failure to engage growing demographics in the electorate.

    The 2012 Republicans were sunk by the same thing as the 2004 Democrats: arrogance.

  11. Mom says:

    Maybe the Republicans should hire Jason Kenny.

    • Kelly says:

      I would love it if Col. Kenny moved back to the USA (He went to college there for a couple years before dropping out). He doesn’t seem to like our country very much.

  12. Sean says:

    – Romney failed to do what Harper has done so well… 1. Gather the gullible votes of the extreme right. 2. Pretend that he’d do something for them. 3. Do absolutely nothing for them and convince centrists that he’s not crazy.

    – Republican loose cannons.

    – Incumbent advantage.

    – Obama herded the cats on the left like Laurier herded francophone cats in Quebec. IE he pushed limits with their patience, but they always knew he was one of them.

    – GWB hot potato. From day one, Republicans were at a loss for how to deal with their own disgraceful, shameful history from 2000-2008. On the other side, it was all hugs and smiles with Clinton. Romney’s campaign was unique in modern history for intentionally not involving a previous President from his own party. Those things rip a party’s guts out behind the scenes.

    – Obama is one of the five most influential Presidents in history. Right up there with Lincoln, FDR, Kennedy. He was never going to be a one termer. There will be people who disagree with that assessment, but I’d pose you this question. When you are 85 and sitting fireside, with your grand kids at your knee, will you be eager to tell them about Bush? Clinton? Reagan? Carter?

    • frmr disgruntled Con now Happy Lib says:

      I always thought that if Obama got the country back on track economically and spiritually by the end of his second term…….there’d be a place on Mt Rushmore for him…….such was the levithian task laid before him when he assumed the office of President…..
      Considering he’s faced a Republican Party that has tried to denigrate him at every turn…….I think he’s done incredibly well…….I just hope the best is yet to come…….

  13. Mark says:

    Because while man Americans are insane, and many are deeply racist, there were still enough among those who are not, and even enough to overcome Republican cheating and vote-suppression tactics.

  14. billg says:

    This was about trust, the voters trusted Obama more and I really dont blame them. Romney had a full year of gaffs and it couldnt be undone with one good debate showing. Obama had 10 million fewer votes this time and it was all there for the Rep’s, but, the voters didnt show up, kind of tells you something about Mitt Romney when in such an important election they just couldnt bother to vote. This President spends 188 million dollars an hour more then he takes in, I hope he’s as good as the Left believes he is.

  15. Ted H says:

    I see Ted Nugent is very unhappy, well good. He is one of the biggest f***ing right wing
    a**holes out there and on top of that, his guitar playing is bull***t. He had better go out and kill something with his bow and arrow and eat it raw. That might calm him down a bit.

  16. Martin says:

    Foreign policy in my opinion won it. Obama was weak on his use of drones strikes contrary to international law, assassinations, and use of drones against U.S. citizens overseas, Guantanamo is still going, the Arab Spring turned into the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt with the help of U.S. aid, and the U.S. is still mired in a guerilla war in Afghanistan bleeding millions of dollars a day. Romney chose not to delve into those issues. Instead, Romney beligerence on Iran was an indication of a return of the U.S. continued military interventions, and made Obama look like the moderate choice, which he was.

    Both men wanted to get the economy going again. Neither has a plan beyond rhetoric. And in the U.S., a president can only do so much, the senate and house have to cooperate. Romney never came up with specific ideas that convinced anybody that things would be different.

    Social conservatives never bought into Romney’s pitch, he would have kept those people on the outside, and I think that social conservatives in the U.S. knew that, he tried to win them over by appointing Ryan as VP, but that didn’t fool them, just like McCain didn’t fool them by appointing Sarah Palin- while they may have voted for Romney, they didn’t work hard for him like they did for GW Bush, who managed to convince social conservatives that he was one of them.

    So who was Romney left with? He couldn’t get the hispanic vote because hispanics in the U.S. – their # 1 issue is to want looser immigration laws, and Obama’s plan on immigration was more generous.

    Obama’s team was better because it got its base motivated and connected.

  17. Tim Sullivan says:

    Romney wasn’t himself and he could not define himself.

    The Dems would have done better had they defined Romney, which they didn’t or didn’t do well.

  18. Patrick says:

    Obama: boss.

  19. When you look at a county by county breakdown, even in states that Obama won, it is a rural/suburban vs. urban split. No different than we’ve had here in Canada the past several federal and provincial elections. To characterize this as old white men vs. everyone else is completey ignorant – there are plenty of whites in these urban areas voting for Obama, and there are plenty of non-white males (and females) voting Romney in the outlying areas.
    Same goes here – if it were not for the urban vote in Toronto, Ottawa and a few select other spots, McGuinty would have lost the last election.
    The question is then why is there a growing divide not only in the US but here in Canada between the interests of urbanites and everyone else? We’re seeing a microcosm of that debate with Rob Ford and Toronto council. It’s like two completely different disparate social and economic agendas depending on where you live.
    Not good. Because ultimately if it can be shown that electoral success is mainly a function of currying favour with urbanites and addressing their issues at the expense of everyone else’s, then you are creating an electoral haves and have-nots, that will only create more disharmony in years to come.

    • Jon Adams says:

      “Because ultimately if it can be shown that electoral success is mainly a function of currying favour with urbanites and addressing their issues at the expense of everyone else’s, then you are creating an electoral haves and have-nots, that will only create more disharmony in years to come.”

      Swap “urbanites” with “the rural vote” and you have the Alberta. Seems to have worked for them for the past forty odd years.

      • Did it? Seems to me Wildrose won most of the rural and suburban vote, and lost the urban vote in the last Alberta election. Urban Calgarians and Edmontonians chose the PCs. The pattern holds.

        A federal united left party would likely sweep urban ridings in Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, Ottawa, Hamilton, London and carry the day. Until then vote splitting means Harper bucks the trend and is carried to a majority on largely a rural and suburban vote. His government is the outlier right now.

    • RonnerDown says:

      Yeah, maybe we should just discount those people that vote for politicians that you don’t agree with, basing this decision in part on where they live, whether or not they meet your definition of urban, or whatever. Proudly Retarded.

      • Jon Adams says:

        You had me until that last sentence. No human being in the 21st century of any political stripe should be using that word.

        • Kev says:

          Uh oh, the word police are on the scene now, watch what you say everybody.

          • Jon Adams says:

            Talk like you’re 11– get treated like you’re 11. Now go to bed.

          • jen says:

            “The word police”? Grow up.

            “Retarded” is a total crap out. There are plenty of other options for expressing what you want to express. Using that word – and more importantly, digging in and defending the use of that word – is like being in a crowded room, bothered by a mosquito, and choosing to deal with said mosquito by swinging a mace around, taking out a few people’s eyes along with the mosquito. Unnecessary, callous, stupid and narcissistic.

            When you use words like this, you are privileging your insignificant desire to use whatever word you want over a person’s right to be treated with dignity. You contribute to cultural intolerance and ignorance, all for the sake of your mosquito sized issue.

            Say what you want, there are no “word police” – just be prepared to not be taken seriously, to be viewed as a self-involved narcissist and to live with the consequences of your callous fucking behaviour.

      • You and Ann Coulter and Louis CK… nice company you keep with that expression.

        I’ve read your response a few times now. I never suggested “discounting” anyone’s votes. I take it you’re offended because maybe you live in downtown-whereever? Otherwise, I’ll be damned if I can understand what you’re trying to say. I guess that means at least one of us is *ahem* challenged. Could be me, as you point out. Thanks for the heads up. Cheers.

      • Jon Powers says:

        “Proudly Retarded”. How very “Progressive” of you to use that term. Well played, idiot.

        • Lumipallo says:

          And “idiot” is somehow better? Suggest consulting a few dictionary definitions.

          http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/idiot

        • Kev says:

          If there’s an issue with the word ‘retarded,’ maybe you should take it up with the definitive authority on mental health, the DSM-IV, that has as a possible diagnosis retardation.

          And perhaps Jon Adams can do the same. I’m sure psychiatrists and other mental health professionals that rely on this authority would be very receptive to your expertise. As it stands, many health professionals in the 21st century dutifully employ the term in their diagnoses. I doubt very much that their political leanings play into their individual diagnoses.

          • W the K - No, not Warren says:

            Perhaps, Kev, if this was a clinical discussion by health practitioners of mental health issues. It isn’t. This is an exchange about politics. Don’t know how many here are certified mental health experts. And the pejorative use of the term is lazy, cheap, mean, and has no place here.

          • Brad says:

            Yes, Kev, only politics here, take that fancy doctor stuff out of here. I don’t care if it is a legitimate term, “W the K – No, not Warren” told you that this sort of thing has no place here and this is his website, apparently. Maybe you are or are not a psychiatrist, but your medical education is not welcome, snob.

          • pomo says:

            I am one of those clinicians. I can assure you that your use of this term in this particular context would bother/ appall/ annoy most of us. I can also assure you that because language being what it is, an evolving thing, and the fact that this word has become what it has, create issues for its use even in clinical circles. The term is still used, but most of the time apologetically, given the stigma and it’s dominantly pejorative use.

            The DSM is a framework for thinking about mental illness. Its not the definitive anything. It’s a reflection of many things. Culture, the literature, history, theoretical bias and lots more. It’s a blunt instrument. It’s most die-hard adherents do not believe that it is the definitive anything. The DSM used to call homosexuality a disorder for god’s sake. It is useful in certain contexts and potentially destructive in others.

    • Cash says:

      PR,

      I am not sure I concur with your notion about catering to “urban interests”. Where was the talk of crumbling urban infrastructure in this election, urban poverty, gun violence (huge problem in US cities), transportation etc?. Cities are the poor cousins of politics in both Canada and the US. Because the campaigns are geared toward the electoral college, the focus is on the concerns of voters in the swing states. The majority of the US population lives in cities but the US’s biggest cities so next to nothing of the candidates in the elections, because the biggest cities are in “safe/reliable” Republican or Democratic states. I agree that rural issues of concern to farmers get little attention in election, which is the same in Canada (Wheat board barely discussed nationally). Suburbs and exurbs seem to be the key to political majorities in both Canada and the US. They also tend to be where most tax dollars are spent, contrary to popular perception.

  20. Mulletaur says:

    Glad Obama won, but now what ? The Republicans will be so busy tearing each other apart, it will be hard to get them on side for anything, if only because there is no leadership within the GOP who can get a majority of them to fall into line. I guess four years of stagnation is better than what would have been four years of regression under Romney.

  21. GPAlta says:

    I think the win was all about the IQs of the teams involved.
    This was a huge and highly unlikely victory, with Obama facing off against lots of big lobbies- oil, firearms, financial industry, Evangelicals, and others. He was the first presidential candidate ever to take the risk of supporting equal rights for gays and lesbians. Unemployment is higher than it has ever been in a re-election. And on top of all of that, he’s a black man in a racist country.

    So how did he win?

    He worked with a team who understand math, who believe in climate change, who believe in evolution, who believe in equality, and who are curious about what makes people vote the way they do, and willing to explore new scientific techniques to reach them. Even though everything else was against Obama, how could his team possibly lose to a team that is ignorant and incurious on so many basic concepts?

    The ultimate display of how ignorant, unintelligent, and/or incurious many important republicans are is that they didn’t even know they were going to lose, when everyone who has any knowledge of statistics had been saying they would since June. Romney didn’t even write a concession speech, when no intelligent person actually thought he was going to win.

    Smarts beat Greed in this election.

  22. kre8tv says:

    The Republicans lost because they–along with their pundits friends–continue to operate on the assumption that they are Natural Governing Party of America. The reality is that America is changing. The Democrats’ base keeps growing. Meanwhile, the Republican base is getting smaller and the issues that used to mobilize that base (voting down gay marriage, pro choice, and tax hikes) no longer resonate with people anymore. I follow US politics very closely and frankly I *still* don’t really know why Romney was running for the job. Do you? Too much of their message hinged on “vote for me because I’m not Obama.” That’s just not enough anymore. America has serious problems now. Enough people looked at Obama and said “well at least I know what this guy is gonna do.”

    There’s also a lot to be said about cynicism. Romney changed his position on practically every key issue. A good chunk of the electorate knew that and was still ready to swallow it whole. Why? Because a lot people have grown to really, really, really hate politics. And as perverse as it sounds, it’s why they’ll pick someone who reaffirms everything they despise about the business. It’s how a guy like Romney gets to be where he is. And I think it’s also why in Canada truly corrosive people like Poilievre and Del Mastro (oh there are others, too) make a career out of politics rather than every having to get a job in the real world. Very very few people actually *like* these guys. Sooner or later, that cynicism catches up with these folks. Sooner or later, people get fed up with being taken for fools. Well some of them, at least.

  23. Gus Tserotas says:

    Oh, oh. Little Stevey Harper has gotta be concerned now. It turns out that lying, smearing, and distorting doesn’t guarantee a win every time out. Interesting to see Romney panic mid-campaign and abandon all the far-right principals he stood for in favour of a move to the centre…..just like our own leader Stevey did. Imagine spending your entire life dedicated to certain principals, only to abandon them almost overnight for the sake of power. Stevey did it and won. Mitt did it and lost. Gotta believe they both have trouble looking at themselves in the mirror, frauds that they are.

  24. Cynical says:

    There are many lessons for Liberals and NDP here.
    Take a look at the popularity of Obama in Canada. How many of those who would prefer to vote for Obama would vote for Harper?
    Work together or look at a decade on the opposition benches.

    I don’t give a rat’s ass for your internal squabbles. It’s time you worked together to free us from this bunch of assholes.

  25. Ronald O'Dowd says:

    Warren,

    Like the Bourbons, as Talleyrand so aptly put it: “they had learned nothing and forgotten nothing”. Hence, the second coming of Rick Santorum.

  26. Jon Evan says:

    Sorry if this sounds racist. It’s not meant to be. Romney lost because he doesn’t understand that America is no longer white! Picking a white VP was a mistake. Romney gained nothing with Ryan!
    But he lost as well because America is scared. High unemployment and a growing deficit with America nearing a fiscal cliff has made America afraid of austerity measures if Romney would win. Americans think gentle Obama can soften this ride for them but he can’t. Today’s huge fall of the DJIA is just the beginning… Reality will soon hit home. There is nothing to celebrate!

  27. Robert K. says:

    A good message followed up by a kick-ass, don’t take no for an answer Get Out The Vote machine.

    I was particularly impressed with the focus on getting out the vote at the advance polls.

  28. I am really impressed with the people that stood in line-ups of six to NINE HOURS in order to vote.

    Why is it that I don`t think we would see anyone up here willing to do that.

    Very glad that our voting systems are not that crazy.

  29. Kevin says:

    Good message, yes. Good get-out-the-vote machine, yes. All of the other things people have mentioned. But I think what clinched it was Americans see Obama as a man of integrity. Romney, not.

  30. Robert Jago says:

    When you say that this election was about race, what that means is that there’s a group of people out there that would have voted Democrat if the candidate hadn’t been black – or at least wouldn’t have gone out and voted for Romney if he hadn’t been running against a black man. Are there really such people? And do they live in the few swing states that decided the election? I’m highly doubtful that Akron and Scranton, and Milwaukee are packed full of crypto-Klansmen.

    What I think those places are packed full of are people who are seeing their stagnant pay cheques consumed by rising health insurance costs, who think the economy’s going in the wrong direction, and who are worried about slipping back in to recession. What has Romney got to offer them? Well, offer them today at least? The whole election it’s seemed like he’s been fighting a culture war. His party’s been going on about voter ID, and rape and god, and pipelines, and Libya. Obama’s been a disappointment – but at least he seems to be on the same planet as Ohio. Every time Romney opens his mouth you’ve got to dig up a panel of kremlinologists to explain what he really meant. After the first debate, he was clear and concise and made sense. But then he followed up by talking about Benghazi, and then about state rights, and FEMA, and how many angels dance on the head of a rape victim and god knows what else.

    It’s not about party or colour, I think it’s about choosing the one who seems to have his priorities straight.

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