- First off, full credit to the state pollsters and Nate Silver, who called the race within a 2-3 percent margin in most cases. Right now it looks like the state poll averages only missed one state -- Florida (projected Romney by 1.5) -- and if there was any bias, it was against Obama (Wisconsin, for example, was projected at +4 for Obama, who actually won by 7). They pretty much nailed it in 2008 as well, which suggests that despite all of the alleged problems with polling, such as cell phones and low caller response rates, pollsters know exactly what they're doing (at least in the aggregate).
- Remember how the Citizens United decision was going to ruin democracy as we know it, ensuring the Koch brothers/Republicans could simply spend their way to electoral victory? Not so much. Yet another leftist talking point that has been exposed as hollow.
- Marijuana legalization passed in Colorado and Oregon, which is wonderful progress both in expanding freedom and ending an insane and wasteful approach to drug policy. This movement is only going to grow in the years ahead, and Republicans would be wise to champion it in the interest of limited government and fiscal responsibility (although they probably won't). It will be interesting to see how the federal government -- read: the Obama administration -- chooses to handle this.
- California is officially a one party state, and will presumably make further advancements in its bid to tax, spend and regulate itself into prosperity. As the Wall Street Journal editorializes, "Californians will experience the joys of one-party, union-run progressive governance." This should be instructive to observe.
- While Michigan voters opted for President Obama over Mitt Romney by a 54-45 percent margin, they also voted down a union-backed measure that would have enshrined collective bargaining rights in the state's constitution by 18 points. Ouch.
- Some genuinely bad news: Puerto Rico Governor Luis Fortuño lost his re-election bid by less than 1 percent. Fortuño was the first Republican governor of the island since 1969 and has presided over a net tax cut as well as big cuts to government spending. That he even came so close to re-election in what appears to be a heavily left-leaning territory is a likely tribute to his job performance.
I am still amazed that Romney did not respond. He allowed our little, underfunded super PAC to define him as Gordon Gekko.The GOP ticket also got beat in the ground game, where the Obama campaign appears to have voter turnout down to a science while the Romney camp's effort appears to have been a disaster.
“The problem Romney had, he was very clear, he was not going to do anything for the immigration,” said Manuel Villena, 56, a Peruvian American who came to the United States in 1985 and now has a construction business in Virginia’s bellwether Prince William County. “The best president we ever had was Reagan. Because Reagan said amnesty for everyone. And he was a Republican.”
Perhaps there are good reasons to adopt a more lenient stance on immigration, but thinking it will lead to a sudden GOP reversal of fortunes among Latinos is not among them.
While one might be tempted to believe this experience with comparatively large government and poorly functioning economies makes them particularly receptive to the GOP message of limited government and free enterprise, it's not quite that simple. After all, if experience with failed government led one to embrace the political right, blacks would be abandoning the Democratic party in droves.
Democrats made huge gains in the state House, where they won back the majority, and narrowed the GOP advantage in the state Senate. The party also snatched away both U.S. House seats from Republican hands, and held the governorship.So, how to explain what happened in the state that experienced a dramatic political upheaval during an election that elsewhere produced mostly marginal shifts in power at all levels of governance?
...Let’s start by looking at the state legislature, the country’s largest, with 424 members, 400 of whom are in the House. Democrats made huge gains in the state House on Tuesday, winning a 222-178 majority — nearly identical to the 225-175 majority the party held after the 2008 election. In the 2010 GOP wave election, Republicans seized the majority, winning a commanding 298-102 advantage.
But what the GOP decided to do with that majority appears to have contributed heavily to the significant reduction of its ranks in 2012. Republicans often focused on social issues, spearheading a failed measure to repeal same-sex marriage, tightening abortion restrictions for girls under 18, and pushing to exempt certain religious institutions from contraceptive insurance coverage requirements. The agenda prompted some hand-wringing, even from within the GOP.
“Let gay marriage and existing abortion laws stand. Tell voters that regardless of your personal beliefs, you accept these issues as settled law and that you will not refight past battles. Do this, and Republican candidates have a chance to have a conversation with the women and young voters they need to persuade in order to win elections,” wrote former state Republican Party chairman Fergus Cullen in a New Hampshire Union-Leader op-ed published Friday.
The state has historically been a limited-government, independent-friendly place. But while the sentiment might have helped voters fed up with the economy and the government’s handling of it in 2010, it may have backfired when state officials leaned into social issues during the last two years.“New Hampshire voters are small government voters, but it all depends on what issues we are talking about,” said University of New Hampshire political scientist Dante Scala.
“The Republicans won on economic issues and tried to govern on social issues,” added Doug Hattaway, a veteran Democratic strategist who knows New Hampshire well.
It probably didn’t help Republicans that their statewide standard-bearer — gubernatorial nominee Ovide Lamontagne — had espoused well-known socially conservative positions. Democrats pounced, and exit polls show it worked, as women and independents — those typically least receptive to social conservative views — boosted Democrat Maggie Hassan to victory over Lamontagne.
What is interesting, however, is that in a recall election centered on fiscal/economic issues, Republicans prevailed, while in a presidential election with a plethora of issues at stake, they failed. An additional point to consider is that at the same time the Republican ticket was busy losing the presidential and senate contests in Wisconsin, the GOP recaptured control of the state senate.
Furthermore, the country is not endangered because of abortion, gay marriage, flag desecration or any other hot-button social issues -- any looming crisis is the result of a crushing debt burden, entitlements are badly in need of reforming and the economy is being held back by a morass of regulation and an incomprehensible tax code.
When the Republican Party loudly touts its allegiance to “Christian values” and insists that Christianity is inextricably interwoven into the DNA of this country, it doesn’t anger Indians, it nonplusses them. It effectively signals to them that they don’t fully belong in America or their party.
When the General Assembly convenes in January, it may take some work to impress voters. Caroline Cooley of Knoxville said lawmakers need to get serious.
"I wish they'd get away from all the silly stuff, all the social engineering, social meandering and just pay attention to education, the economy, and things that government should be doing," said the 61-year-old physician.
First, Hispanics are not single-issue voters: they can be alienated by nativism, but they can’t just be won by the promise of green cards and open borders. (After Reagan signed an amnesty bill in 1986, the Republican share of the Hispanic vote fell in the next presidential election.) Latino voters are not, as conservative strategists often claim, “natural” Republican voters — notwithstanding their (moderate) social conservatism, they tend to lean leftward on economic issues, and to see government more as an ally than a foe. They can be wooed, gradually, if Republicans address their aspirations and anxieties, but they aren’t going to be claimed in one legislative pander.