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The Meaning Of Election 2012

 
 
Reply Wed 7 Nov, 2012 10:54 am
My takes on what the 2012 election night means

- The 2008 Republican strategy is a mixed bag, but was mostly the wrong call. After the 2008 election, Republicans had some choices. One would have been to say "Bush moved the needle far to the right so we can tack left some, look reasonable in acknowleging the election results and consolidate most of our gains." Instead they took a scorched earth policy of veering further right. This has been a mixed bag. Republicans took the House back in 2010 and pretty much defended their turf against any coattails Obama might have in 2012. They have also expanded their state government holdings allowing them to gerrymander house districts to reduce vunerability. I don't think this counters the costs. Republicans are having more and more difficulty fielding centrist candidates needed for statewide and national offices. How did two candidates with such ignorant views on rape and women's issues get nominated for the Senate? How can you have ten candidates for President on a stage and not one be willing to raise taxes one dollar for a ten dollar reduction in spending? There are moderate Republicans out there who could have really challenged the President and with decent candidates the Republicans could have taken the Senate, but even a center right American public is not going to ceed all three branches of government to the radical extremes of the Republican party. You can't just drive the US debt rating down for political points. The gamble that the President would pay the cost of any voter fall-out was as wrong in 2012 as it was when the Republican Congress shut down government on President Clinton. The Republican Congress has the exact same decision to make in 2012 as it did in 2008. For all that pundits are expecting them to work with the President, I expect them to double down.

- Romney did not lose because he ran away from conservative principles, he lost because he ran towards them. In 2008, President Bush made a catastrophic decision - he let Lehman Brothers fail. This was completely in line with the conservative philosophy of creative destruction and personal responsibility. It also set up a chain reaction of catastrophe around the globe as the working parts of Lehman were sucked down with the failures and brought all of their links around the world crashing down with them. President Bush learned that lesson and injected billions into the financial markets to prevent other pillars of our financial system from falling and President Obama kept up that work with the result being a battered but stabalized financial system able to pay back the loans it took from the government. Our car manufacturing segment was no different. GM and Chryler don't just employ their workers directly, they support a whole range of auxilary industries. Obama's decision to provide liquidity to the car industry saved countless jobs and all of the support industries required to rebuild car manufacturing the US. This was obviously the right call but the idea of a government that steps in to help when needed rankles conservative hackles. Romney's calls against the auto bailout and against FEMA, another position that would come back to bite him, are completely in line with the conservative orthodoxy and completley out of touch with what everyday Americans see. Americans might think throwing someone in the deep end is a good way to teach him to swim, but we also don't let him drown.

- The "Big Lie" works sometimes but it's a dangerous tactic. As much as we want to think that fact checking and the Internet will expose politicians who tell giant whoppers, the reality is that all you need is a kernel of truth and a slow response to dominate the news cycle with complete fabrications. "Obama removed the work requirement from welfare!" "Romney didn't pay taxes for ten years!" Both of these got serious traction early on and were never really snuffed out. When the campaigns devote significant resources to rapid response teams to hammer down the giant lies coming from the other side, you know that the campaigns understand how easy it is to get away with whoppers. Romney essentially repudiated every position he campaigned with in the first debate resulting in a dominating win. Unfortunatley for him, he pushed it too far. Getting called down by the moderator in the second debate for denying Obama's "acts of terror" quote was a major hit. I'm sure he expected his statements to go unchallenged but instead he was fact checked on the spot. His comments about shipping US auto jobs to China brought a swift response not only from the Obama campaign but from GM and Chrysler, both of whom felt the fallout of the Romney slur. Once that happened, I was certain Romney had lost Ohio.

- There is a limit to money. Citizens United allowed an unprecendented flow of money into the campaign, but once the airwaves are saturated, you can do no more. I read one interview with a frustrated Republican activist saying something to the effect of "we keep throwing money at it but nothing sticks" and that is very true. There is only so much air in the room and despite all the money spent in Ohio, especially from the right, at some point the needle won't move any more. That doesn't mean that a big financial infusion won't help but at some point the point of diminishing returns kills you.

- The conservative press is not helping their cause if their cause is an educated conservative electorate. There are probably a number of conservatives this morning whose plans of dancing in the streets came crashing down last night. Based on Internet posts, they seem convinced the revolution is coming, the country is going to hell, our children are doomed. There is a perfectly good reason they believe this - they are getting a consistently crafted message from their favorite press outlets telling them it's true. Instead of focusing on the recent diaster in New Jersey and New York, they are listening to conspiracy theories about Libya. They aren't hearing that the President's center left (but mostly center) policies aren't doing enough to help the economy and his health care program is too expensive, they are hearing that the radical left President is eroding US influence abroad, crushing the American Dream and shunting money to croneies while waging war against religion. That builds an enthusiastic (rabid) base but it's so out of touch with reality that moderate Republicans and independents are left scratching their heads. To conservatives who are shell shocked today, turn the TV channel. The rest of us were not expecting a last minute tide for Romney.

- There is no "secret sauce" when it comes to polling. Somewhere over the last month of the election cycle, Politico decided they'd had enough of Nate Silver and his cadre of math based poll analyzers. One post read "Avert your gaze, liberals: Nate Silver admits he's simply averaging public polls and there is no secret sauce." Well, they were right, there is no secret sauce. All the pundits talking about "momentum", how there are Romney yard signs everywhere and how experienced pollsters are using the incorrect turnout models were proven wrong. You don't have a secret sauce to make your opinons more important than ours. We express our opinions to pollsters, they tabulate them, Nate uses some math and comes up with the answer. Math works. How your gut feels depends more on what you ate for lunch. Note to the climate change deniers out there: science works too.
 
DrewDad
 
  2  
Reply Wed 7 Nov, 2012 05:41 pm
@engineer,
engineer wrote:
- There is no "secret sauce" when it comes to polling. Somewhere over the last month of the election cycle, Politico decided they'd had enough of Nate Silver and his cadre of math based poll analyzers. One post read "Avert your gaze, liberals: Nate Silver admits he's simply averaging public polls and there is no secret sauce." Well, they were right, there is no secret sauce. All the pundits talking about "momentum", how there are Romney yard signs everywhere and how experienced pollsters are using the incorrect turnout models were proven wrong. You don't have a secret sauce to make your opinons more important than ours. We express our opinions to pollsters, they tabulate them, Nate uses some math and comes up with the answer. Math works. How your gut feels depends more on what you ate for lunch. Note to the climate change deniers out there: science works too.


I suspect that this was done more because Nate Silver's analyses kept giving a clear result, while the media wanted to attract eyeballs by making the race out to be a squeaker.
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 7 Nov, 2012 05:42 pm
@engineer,
Some thoughts, just a second here though:

One big, important meaning IMO is "cozying up to rich people in order to get their financial backing doesn't automatically result in victory."

That has some pretty big implications.

Thought of that when I saw this:

Quote:
Mr. Obama enters the next fray with heightened leverage, both sides agree, especially on what he sees as the most immediate issue: Whether Republicans will relent and extend the Bush-era income tax cuts, which expire Dec. 31, except for households with taxable income above $250,000 a year.

Yet if Mr. Obama received a mandate for nothing else after a campaign in which he was vague on second-term prescriptions, he can and will claim one for the proposition that the wealthiest Americans like himself and Mitt Romney should pay higher income taxes. That stance was a staple of Mr. Obama’s campaign stump speeches for more than a year. And in surveys of those leaving the polls on Tuesday, voters overwhelmingly agreed with him.

This election tells us a lot about the political wisdom of defending tax cuts for the wealthy at the expense of everything else,” a senior administration official said early on Wednesday.


From this article:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/08/us/politics/back-to-bargaining-table-with-fiscal-cliff-dead-ahead.html?nl=us&emc=edit_cn_20121107
0 Replies
 
DrewDad
 
  3  
Reply Wed 7 Nov, 2012 05:43 pm
@engineer,
engineer wrote:
- The conservative press is not helping their cause if their cause is an educated conservative electorate.

Their primary problem is that (by and large) an educated electorate isn't conservative.
0 Replies
 
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Wed 7 Nov, 2012 06:04 pm
@DrewDad,
DrewDad wrote:

I suspect that this was done more because Nate Silver's analyses kept giving a clear result, while the media wanted to attract eyeballs by making the race out to be a squeaker.

To put it another way: They didn't want to know who was going to win the election; they wanted something that could fill an hour of TV.
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 7 Nov, 2012 06:05 pm
@DrewDad,
Yes.
0 Replies
 
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Wed 7 Nov, 2012 06:32 pm
@DrewDad,
They've played deaf and dumb for so long, it's become an uncontrollable habit.
0 Replies
 
jespah
 
  2  
Reply Wed 7 Nov, 2012 06:49 pm
There was a huge social media role in the election. Anyone looking to win '16 will have to deal with Facebook, Twitter, memes (women in binders, horses and bayonets, and the rest), etc. Whoever in the Obama camp came up with the hashtag #Romnesia deserves a serious bonus.

Plus all candidates must now know that the concept of "off the record" is forever gone. In these days of smart phones, anyone trying to rally the base in some so-called private meeting better be prepared for it being recorded and ending up on Youtube within an hour of closing remarks (that's where the 47% video came from).

Sharing of content meant that stuff went viral at supersonic speed. George Takei is an Obama supporter, and he would occasionally throw out little bits about the election. Not much - George is good about not troweling things on - but it was enough to continue to keep people interested.

The Facebook crowd skews older. The Pinterest crowd skews more female. The LinkedIn crowd skews wealthier and more educated. The Twitterati skew hipper and more educated. The Google+ crowd is still a wild card. If these platforms all exist in 4 years, look for them to be used even more to deliver messages.

But - caveat - email was WAY overused. Savvy candidates will use it a lot less in '16.
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Wed 7 Nov, 2012 06:55 pm
@DrewDad,
DrewDad wrote:
I suspect that this was done more because Nate Silver's analyses kept giving a clear result, while the media wanted to attract eyeballs by making the race out to be a squeaker.

That, and the appetite for "secret sauce" that engineer mentioned. The two don't exclude each other.

On top of all that, I think the hatred of Nate Silver comes from a place of angst and insecurity. Over the last 20 years or so, much of the commentariat has been pivoting into horse-race articles because they were too spineless to address the substance of Democratic--Republican battles. And now a professional baseball bookie invades their niche and exposes them as amateurs on the horse-race side of politics. That has to feel threatening. There really is no more reason for newspapers to hire commenters.
0 Replies
 
realjohnboy
 
  1  
Reply Wed 7 Nov, 2012 07:02 pm
mark.
Interesting discussion.
0 Replies
 
 

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