Last election day odds, with all indicators continuing to move up for Obama. Click for a larger view.
From the five sites I’ve been looking at, the final numbers of Obama’s election chances. With national polls nearly all showing a Obama lead, and with Obama expanding leads in key swing states, all the sites went up for Obama over the last 24 hours. InTrade continues to be the lowest one, but will be the one I’ll likely be following as the day goes on. As exit polls are released, as turnout numbers are more understood, InTrade will be moving rather quickly. You’ll likely see a big move on InTrade tonight long before any “calls” have been made by the pundits or news coverage.
With election day comes what I think will be an indictment of what the Republican party has become, and an indictment of how they’ve conducted this election. By any historical measure, Obama should be losing this election. If Obama is re-elected, he will be the president elected with the highest unemployment rate since Roosevelt. Just a fact…I myself think that given the economic hole he inherited, and compared to the recovery (or lack thereof) in Europe and elsewhere, the U.S. recovery has been more than adequate. Despite the economic woes…Obama WILL win tonight.
Why is he defying history and winning? Look no further than what the Republican party has become. This is now 2 presidential elections in a row where relatively moderate Republican candidates have been forced to become something they’re not…hard-core, right-wing, “severely” conservative candidates. In both cases, John McCain and Mitt Romney used to be men I at least respected, although I didn’t always agree with their views. McCain especially WAS indeed a “maverick”, adopting views that conflicted with Republican party stances. However, starting in the primaries, McCain had to move to the right to appease the ideologues controlling the puppet strings in the Republican party. Immigration? A one-time champion of immigration reform had to toughen his stance, as he had to do on many issues. The end result of 2008 was a John McCain who had been battered and bruised, whose reputation as a maverick evaporated. The John McCain of 2008 to 2012 became a bitter man, a former maverick turned spokesman for the far right. It’s remarkable to look at the McCain prior to his presidential run, and the man he’s become after.
I don’t think Mitt Romney was ever as much of a “maverick” as John McCain, but as a Republican governor in a very blue state, he was relatively moderate on many issues. Despite Romney’s running away from his own health care accomplishments in Massachusetts, his health care reform law WAS a blueprint for national health-care reform, with many of ObamaCare’s components relatively similar to Romney’s Massachusetts plan. Much like McCain, however, Romney had to move far to the right during the primaries. Running against much more ideologically conservative candidates such as Rick Santorum, Michelle Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Perry, Romney suddenly became “severely” conservative. Romney, like all the other candidates, were forced to verbalize agreement with the most conservative, and ridiculous, of platforms, such as agreeing that even $1 of tax increases for every $10 of spending cuts was unacceptable. The “severely” conservative Romney was never comfortable with the new persona. Given the complete nitwits he was running against for the nomination, it took surprisingly long for him to dispatch the likes of a Rick Santorum and win the nomination. For several months after winning the nomination, all the way through the Republican convention, “severely” conservative Mitt continued to play the role as the ideological leader of the 21st century caricature of the Republican Party.
What was obvious though…it wasn’t working. Even during the summer, when it was less apparent that the economy is picking up steam, Romney struggled with his message, and struggled in the polls against Obama. It wasn’t until the Denver debate that a glimmer of hope appeared for Romney, and it was because Romney suddenly jolted back towards the center, with more moderate stances on many issues. Throughout the last month, the October version of Romney (one of many versions) agreed with Obama’s views on many policies, particularly foreign policy. The October version of Romney was more true to his political past, with a more pragmatic, centrist viewpoint on some issues. With the October version of Romney came “Ro-mentum” and a reversal of poll numbers moving towards Romney. Elated Republicans saw it as a sign that Romney would indeed win.
The first debate bounce was short-lived. Republican operatives, pundits, and “news” sources like Fox continued to report on “Ro-mentum”, with some Republican operatives in the last week even proclaiming a large Romney electoral college win. In the meantime, however, the objective evidence showed that “Ro-mentum” lasted just a week or two, before polls again started to consistently move in Obama’s favor. Romney simply wasn’t an ideologue, with many pundits discussing Romney as the least ideological candidate in many years. Romney focus has always been more on WINNING the job, rather than focusing on what he’d do once elected. Tax cuts! Shrinking government! Strengthening the military! All while magically balancing the budget!! The general “goals” were there, but Romney/Ryan constantly refused to reveal any specifics as to how they would accomplish their miraculous goals. Despite a more moderate Romney appearing in October, his constant flip-flopping on issues registered doubt among voters, who again began to move towards Obama. In the last 2 weeks of the campaign, an ever-more desperate Romney campaign turned to a campaign focused on deception, where Obama’s bailout of the auto industry somehow became a negative rather than a positive for states like Ohio and Michigan. Given the popularity of the auto bailout in the upper Midwest, Romney was always going to have a hard time winning Ohio. His strategy of trying to scare Ohio voters has blown up in his face, with condemnation of the Romney/Ryan campaign ads almost universal (outside of Fox News).
The October Romney has proven to be just as weak a candidate as the “severely conservative” Romney of the primaries. It’s been incredibly difficult for voters to understand just what he stands for, and his reputation is likely forever damaged from the deceptive, negative campaign he’s turned to in the last few weeks.
Just a week or two ago, Republican pundits were giddy over “Ro-mentum” and the coming Romney presidency. “Landslide” was even a term uttered by some misguided Republican operatives. The polls? Irrelevant!! They had “Ro-mentum”! According to Republicans, the Romney election would be a vindication of the Republican platform and campaign strategy, and an indictment of not just Obama’s policies and first term, but an indictment against “biased” mainstream media and “biased” polling operations.
Obama will win today, leaving bewildered Republicans to curse and gnash their teeth, wondering how a (supposedly) Muslim, non-citizen, socialist, black (gasp!) man like Obama could win a second term. The answer is pretty simple, Republicans.
It’s not because of a liberal media bias. It’s not because of biased polls. It’s not because of “luck”, or Hurricane Sandy. Obama will win election simply because he better represents the American electorate than does Romney, or the Republican Party as a whole. The Republican party is at a crossroads. The Tea Party movement of a few years ago may have propelled Republicans to a majority in the House of Representatives, but that may very well be the last signficant political accomplishment of the new, “severely” conservative Republican Party. The new “severely” conservative version of the Republican Party is now associated with the likes of Todd Akin…Richard Mourdock…and the “severely” conservative version of Mitt Romney. The new “severely” conservative version of the Republican Party is one that’s doubled-down on a strategy based on winning the White vote, particularly the vote of White men. The new “severely” conservative Republican Party has lost this election because they’ve abandoned women. They’ve abandoned minorities. They’ve abandoned the poor. They’ve become a party that represents rich, powerful, white men. While this election has shown the power of money in the political process, it has also equally shown the limitations of money. Money can’t compensate for a party platform based on exclusion…hate…intolerance…and greed.
Sorry Republicans, you have four more years of Obama, and if you’re looking for someone to blame (as I’m sure you are)…perhaps you should think long and hard while you’re looking in the mirror this morning. You can’t build a political party on hate. In America, our democracy WORKS, and you can’t build a political party by pandering only to the rich and powerful. Obama has won this election because he, and the Democratic Party, BETTER REPRESENT WHAT AMERICA WANTS than does the Republican Party.
Republicans, you have four years to change course. I’ve seen some rather ridiculous statements from Republican pundits who claim the problems with the party are easily “fixable”. I’ve seen statements that simply providing more female candidates in 2016 should “fix” the party’s standing with women. Good luck with that, Republicans. Your problems run MUCH deeper than that, as if running out a few female candidates could overcome your lack of respect for women’s issues. Also, with the changing demographics in the United States, minorities are gaining about 1.5% of the voting share with each 4-year election. Republicans, frankly, I HOPE you continue down the path that the Tea Party and the right-wing ideologues of your party has set.
I hope you continue down that path, because that path leads to nowhere but complete irrelevance for your party.