Election aftermath

It’s a couple of days after the harrowing election of 2012.  So let’s take a look at my prediction for the race and compare that to the actual results.

I predicted an electoral win for the President of with Obama -299, Romney -239.  Here’s my map again. The actual results are Obama 332, Romney 206.  Clearly I misjudged either the level of support for the President or his ground game really was that damn good.  I have to go with the latter becasue there was no way I thought Florida was going to be in the Democratic column.  Especially since the Governor of Florida went out of his way to make sure to curtail early voting.  Also,  I thought Romney would do better in New Hampshire.  He didn’t.  Actually, most of the swing states with the exception of Florida weren’t close.  The President won by an average of 5 points in the other swing states. The social scientific term for what happened is an electoral beat down.

Now on to the future, let’s talk about mandates.  President Bush swore up and down that he had a mandate when he won re-election.  And he won his re-election by a much slimmer margin.

Candidate:             Bush      Kerry
Electoral vote:        286        251
Popular Vote:          51%      48%

Candidate       Obama    Romney
Electoral vote    332        206
Popular vote*:   51%      48%

Media Matters did a great article about how the media just acquiesced to this mandate nonsense back in 2008.  Here’s a few choice tidbits:

David Sanger, New York Times White House correspondent: “But Mr. Bush no longer has to pretend that he possesses a clear electoral mandate. Because for the first time in his presidency, he can argue that he has the real thing.” [The New York Times, “Relaxed, Certainly, but Keeping One Eye on the Clock,” 11/5/04]

Ceci Connolly, Washington Post staff writer: “Well, I certainly think that there is a mandate [for Bush]. I think we have to go a little bit careful in terms of what specifically it is a mandate for. I mean as we’ve all agreed, a lot was discussed in this campaign. Interestingly, what you heard President Bush focus on was tax reform, Social Security changes, partial privatization. And continuing what he calls the war on terrorism.” [Fox News’ Special Report with Brit Hume, 11/5/04]

Michele Kelemen, National Public Radio diplomatic correspondent: “Others doubt President Bush will change much given his election mandate and his strong convictions in foreign policy.” [NPR’s Weekend All Things Considered, 11/6/04]

John Roberts, CBS News chief White House correspondent (now with CNN): “With the majority of the popular vote behind him [Bush], with the Electoral College win, with a mandate that perhaps many people didn’t allow him to have in the first term, can he afford to be more magnanimous with the press?” [CNN’s Reliable Sources, 11/7/04]

To be clear I never thought Bush had a mandate, although I do understand why he’d claim one.  But what I don’t get is why the media (outside of Fox News) is complicit in that ridiculous talking point.  So flip Ohio in 2004 and we’d have President Kerry and somehow that’s a mandate?  But President Obama wins in an electoral pummeling, the Democrats add to their majority in the Senate, and shave off a several seats from the Republican House majority and they should do what exactly?  Become more conciliatory?  These people drive me crazy.

Do these people not understand how badly Romney lost?  Here’s how bad:  Take the states that Romney already won then throw in Florida, Virginia, Colorado, Nevada, New Hampshire and one Congressional district in Maine.   Even with all of that, he would have still lost!  A victory that lopsided for President Obama, is what we call a mandate.

I’m still waiting to experience this liberal media bias that I hear about so often.  It must be out there somewhere.

Categories: Politics Fix

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3 replies

  1. How did we end up with a culture of conservatives who are blindly optimistic about the future, and a culture of progressives who pessimistically look for failure and defeat in everything? I’m part of the problem and I can’t help it – because whenever I look at the popular vote, I don’t can’t help but see the country as half dangerously crazy, rather than half reasonable.

    • I think conservatives thinking that Romney was going to win in a landslide is more akin to a willful disregard of 99% of the polls rather than blind optimism. But progressives do seem to have a streak of melancholy. But in other ways, we’re quite realistic. On the far right, the consensus seems to be some variation of America is over as a nation. And in some respects that is true. At least the America that they’re comfortable with. But I see that as a good thing as opposed to looking nostalgically back to the 50’s when everything was “great.”

  2. Robert, your father and I are very happy to see your interest in politics has clearly grown!!!

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