I was wrong. I admit it. I was in good company, too. Not just from partisans on my side. Pollsters, pundits and analysts of many stripes didn’t think an Obama win was probable, even possible in some cases. And even you Obama supporters must admit, you were scared it could happen, too.Oh sure, I know no Obama supporter will admit it now. They have the luxury of being on the winning side. But deep down they knew, just as the country knew: If Obama won, it would be because the country was willing to ignore the state of affairs we find ourselves in today.
The stats remain unchanged. Things aren’t good. Exit polls show 53 percent of voters think we’re headed in the wrong direction. When asked, “should government do more to solve problems,” it was 51 percent “no” to 43 percent “yes.” You can read the cold facts in my last column. Yet, despite those facts, President Obama won a second term.
So, the conversation now turns to the new favorite meme of GOP critics: “The party is too male, too white, and too old.” For starters, I attended the GOP convention in Tampa this year. I watched the daily rundown of speakers. Outside of the actual GOP ticket, I’ve yet to see a year that featured so many rising stars in the party who were non-white and female.
Is it true the GOP has a problem making the sale to non-white voters? Yes. Do I know precisely how to remedy that? I don’t. But I won’t accept the premise for one moment that the GOP is some kind of old, white guy club. Further, that it’s an old, white guy club that only votes for old white guys.
If that’s true, then how do you explain that four of the six current female governors in the nation are not only GOP members, but also three of those are minorities? George W. Bush still holds the record as the president with the highest number of women and minorities as advisers and cabinet members.
Cite those facts, and the next reply is, “Ok, but still—only whites are voting Republican.” This is true and important. In every demographic—old, young, male, female—the majority white vote went to Romney this year.
To be clear again, I don’t like nor am I comfortable with minorities not voting GOP. But it is patently false to suggest GOP-voting whites won’t elect minorities and women. They do, they are, and they have—as four statewide gubernatorial elections prove. That’s more than the Democrats have, period.
Even NBC/MSNBC’s Chuck Todd, no conservative advocate, admitted as much during the very same convention in Tampa I attended:
By the way, Democrats wish they had the diversity of speakers and deep bench to show America. The Democrats wanted a keynote speaker that was Hispanic, and they had to dig inside a red state to find a Hispanic mayor.
Todd went on to list the various Hispanic elected officials featured that week, like New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, Texas GOP Senator-elect Ted Cruz, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.
One thing the Republican party has are a lot of elected officials to help deal with this issue of going against the grain on the fact that their mostly white—their support base is a white, Southern part of the party. The face of the Republican party of elected leaders—Democrats wish they had that diversity.”
Now to the issue of that supposed “toxic” social conservatism.
I will never forget the Democrats’ convention this year. In removing Jerusalem as the recognized capital of Israel and fully removing God from their party platform, only to “boo” and jeer as it was forcibly replaced—I would have assumed that would have been devastating to them politically.
Sadly, the brunt of the “social issues” debate this year came from a couple of dopey answers from two Republican Senate candidates on abortion.
For the life of me, I’ll not understand how anyone running for elective office doesn’t have a cogent, political answer ready for this question. There was no defending Missouri’s Todd Akin. The entire party, including Romney, turned away from him. But the damage was done.
Still, the facts are these. The majority of this country believes in a power higher than itself. Black and Hispanic churchgoers are still a socially conservative people, too. Never forget that gay marriage was defeated in California statewide due to black opposition. Meanwhile, an AP/Univision poll conducted last year suggests the majority of American Hispanics oppose abortion.
I still close as I did last week. Romney, in the closing weeks of his campaign, was overheard in prayer to say, “Lord, if this is your will, please help to make me worthy.”
It was a prayer that any reflective, decent, inwardly looking person prays when they might be on the precipice of assuming the most powerful office in the world. Romney is a man of tremendous decency, unprecedented charity, and almost unusual morality.
But as David Wilson, professor of political science at the University of Delaware, said of Tuesday’s vote, free of the minority component, one cannot say Obama won any other demographic free and clear: “Straightforwardly put, a majority of voters just liked Obama more than they liked Mitt Romney.”
I said in a Tweet on Election Day: “It occurs to me—nobody voting Romney today will ever paint a mural of him or put his picture on their bumper. Not about him.”
For Romney supporters, it wasn’t ever about Romney. For Obama supporters, it’s always been about him.
I confess, I was wrong. There were about 2.8 million more Americans who don’t view President Obama as 57.2 million Americans and I do. Romney isn’t as hip and cool as President Obama. Maybe The View, Daily Show, Letterman, Leno, and all the “morning zoo” radio show interviews just made Obama more likeable. Sadly, I think it’s largely that simple.
Because it sure wasn’t his job performance.