I've been watching CNN since the election tallies last night, and as the votes come in, the more we're seeing the demographics come up and the more we're seeing in regards to the strengths of the Obama campaign and weaknesses of both the Romney campaign and the GOP entirely.
First, the weaknesses of the Romney campaign:
- Its hard-line stance on immigration reform. There is a huge concentration of Latinos located in the southwest and Colorado. About 65 percent of the people said that the illegal immigrants should get some kind of amnesty. And there's Romney's proposition of self-deportating didn't sit well with the Latinos, especially in the cities and states where they have large populations. Of the 10% of the Latino vote (the first time we've had a vote turnaround in the double digits), Obama won 71% of the Latino vote, and that number is only going to grow.
- Romney's concentration on the rural areas. Looking at the county map only from last night, Romney won about 80 to 82 percent of the counties. Most of them are rural areas where there isn't a lot of population growth. Take a look at Florida, for example. Romney, at this point, won about 85 percent of the counties. But where he wasn't winning at all were the densely populated counties. Obama won about 75 percent of the dense counties, and that's where the majority of the votes come. In Ohio, for instance, most of the population is in the northern area, and they leaned very Democratic. This leads me to this next piece.
- The auto bailout in Ohio. No Republican has ever won the White House and not win Ohio, 2000 being the closest to end it. Northern Ohio is highly industrialized where there are a lot of automobile manufacturing, especially in places like Toledo. Romney was very against it, while Obama pushed it forward. The fact that Obama kept reminding Ohio of the auto bailout and that Obama outperformed in some of the counties there pushed him to the projected win in that state. The same with Virginia. Romney won almost every county in western Virginia, but most of the votes are in Fairfax and its suburbs, and the population is still growing. Obama won decisively there.
- The 47% comment that leaked on national television. Romney bashed one of our biggest hearts. The 47% consists of retirees, military, working-class, disabled, and/or conservative. Biden reminded the public of Romney's comment in the middle of the Vice Presidential debate, and Obama countered Romney with the same number to conclude the second Presidential debate. Romney's comment all but killed him in this election.
- Romney's performance in the third debate. Romney did great in the first debate and held his own in the second. In the third debate, he looked completely unprepared and nervous. It's not how you start. It's how you finish. Romney came out like a lion in the first debate and finished like a lamb in the third. The third debate was hosted in Florida, one of our biggest swing states, and people watched closely.
- Romney's stance on abortion. Take a look at the voting lines between men and women. More men leaned to Romney, but more women leaned to Obama, and women are mostly pro-choice or pro-life with special circumstances. Ryan is pro-life on ALL circumstances, and I wouldn't be shocked if that played some role.
- The inconsistency in the Romney campaign. Obama, whether you love him or hate him, never wavered in his stances. On the other hand, Romney jumped. Romney had no firm line on several provisions economically and socially.
And now for Obama. He played to his strengths, which are:
- The auto bailout in Ohio. As previously written, northern Ohio is extremely industrialized, and he's overwhelmingly winning the vote in the mainly democratically counties there. When Bush won Ohio in 2004, he was able to win some of the votes there and capture the election. In 2012, Obama is winning there by a 2-1 margin.
- He captured his audiences better, namely Latinos, Black-Americans, working/middle-class, women, youth, and the LGBT. Latinos and Blacks were overwhelmingly for Obama, Latinos backing Obama 71% of the time and blacks by about 93%. Obama is also the first president to formally support same-sex marriage, which is likely why we saw Maine and Maryland legalize it and why Minnesota voters rejected the firm ban. Women also backed Obama about 53 percent in the 2012 elections. And don't forget the youth, which is the 18-29-year-old range. It crept up by one percent, and most of them voted for Obama. We're now in a new generation where younger, more liberal voters are going to get heavily involved in voting and playing a role. According to Politico, there was a HUGE turnout of Black-American voters in Ohio, even bigger than in 2008.
- Obama's stance on abortion. Compared to Romney, Obama is firmly pro-choice. Abortion is a very key issue for women, and that and family matters (and how he was able to connect them better) helped Obama.
- Consistency, consistency, consistency. Obama may have changed his strategy at times, especially after the first debate, but his strategy alteration was by being more confident and assertive. He was absolutely consistent in what he said and proposed. Like I said with Romney, Romney changed his strategy by not having a decisive proposal and/or goal. Obama, on the other hand, did. Obama had a fantastic team that made sure he kept his head out of the sand, develop himself, and always strive to do better. Obama is known as a very good orator, and he showed that.
- The fact that Obama was able to capture his audiences in exactly the right places. Romney won the rural areas, but they don't have a lot of population growth. The majority of the urban areas and suburbs sided with Obama overwhelmingly. Take a look at Ohio and Florida, for instance. Obama didn't win many of the smaller counties, but he won the areas where there was a huge growth in population. The same with Virginia — he won in the big cities, suburbs, and big towns that lean to the left. That's how you win elections: If you can really connect to those big cities, then you will win the election. If you don't, no matter how many counties you win, you may still lose the election.
Now, how can the GOP recover?
One simple answer: quit leaning far to the fight fiscally and socially.
Over the past decade-plus, the Republican Party was becoming less moderate, and we saw that in 2004, 2005, and the 2006 midterm elections. The American public was generally getting extremely sick of the far-right. And although the GOP won back the House in 2010, it was still leaning far-right thanks to some of the Tea Party politicians. In the Senate elections, Akin and Murdouch each said something incredibly stupid and it cost the election for both. Wisconsin will also have a Democrat, and she will be our first openly gay Senator.
Socially, the GOP can no longer rely on extremely conservative views, especially with regards for abortion, immigration, and same-sex rights. The election made it obvious that those policies are broken and no longer work. Women were turned off by Romney's and Ryan's pro-life views, The LGBT backed Obama extremely, and (if the Exit Polls are reliable), the general Americans desire to ease the pathway to citizenship for illegal and legal immigrants. The U.S. is a world leader, and the election dissections show how much the public wants some of the archaic policies to change.
Fiscally, the same can be said. Republicans have a reputation of favoring the wealthy more over the lower-class and middle-class. The middle-class is likely what will decide our future, because most of our youth is in that fiscal range. The gap between the rich and middle-class is widening, and we need to shrink that in order to hopefully get our economy going. This is why Obama proposed taxes on the super wealthy and why he wants companies who outsource to be responsible, so the middle-class can have a better opportunity to prosper. Trickle-down economics from decades ago (and the 2000s) no longer work because we need to build two huge suspension bridges to close it.
Following the midterm elections in 2010, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's goal, on behalf of the GOP, was to make Obama a one-term president. That opportunity is now gone. The GOP and Democrats now have to cooperate in order to put this country back on track, and it starts by putting aside the archaic far-right policies of the brazen Republicans and Tea Party and opening up to the now growing youth and minority audiences.