President Barack Obama was quickly dispatching Republican nominee Mitt Romney in a way that resembled somber cops at a yellow-taped crime scene telling rubber-necking bystanders: move along, nothing to see here.
Within a flash, Romney became painfully irrelevant. His hastily prepared, short concession speech was more like a board room Power Point presentation before weary investors. Rather than seize the moment for a chapter in the text book, MRom seemed fine with a foot note. He couldn’t reach the bar set by John McCain in his 2008 concession speech because there was none. The journey is complete. There is no political trajectory for the Republican party “standard bearer.” His political career is effectively shut down – no Senate seat to go back to. No Governor mansion waiting with open-armed staff, maids, butlers and cooks. Even Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan will have a Congressional seat to keep warm, and probably the same House Budget Committee chair.
While the prognosticators, eager for a nail-biter, kept painting an all-nighter narrative, the math just wasn’t there. Pollsters ruled the day, empirical Harry Potters who waved formulaic magic wands that didn’t lie. And with the Republican nominees continuing to poll poorly in their own home states, what made their flacks think they could pull out a popular vote nationwide?
Yes, the heads of many Obama-hating Republicans and White-rage posses of working class Southern and Midwestern voters collectively exploded on Tuesday night. This officially became the last election in which the White electorate could be the dominant electorate. But, we saw this coming. You can’t get away with a homogenous political party for too long while discounting the blatant population trends around you. And you can’t run a noisy ass primary as if the rest of the country isn’t watching.
Two main things happened here that contributed to the downfall of Mitt Romney. He primaried himself out of contention, allowing the fringe elements of his party to dictate the next thing that came out of his mouth. Unable to recover from his clumsy marriage to the right wing, Romney bumbled about through the spring and summer. He was like a teenager learning how to drive stick, wrecking the transmission with each raggedy gear shift. By the time he reached Tampa, the engine was falling out.
Meanwhile, Team Obama was able to successfully define Romney for the broader electorate while the Republican was busily plugging the leaks in his very White, very tax-cut obsessed base. They effectively set the contrast, Romney relegated to a Scroogy Bain-er, a flip flopping pathological liar who changed his tune as fast as you can flip radio stations. It was fashionable to now throw rhetorical eggs on the rich White guy, but he became uglier by virtue of the contradictions contained within his message.
This is why the all-nighter never arrived. This is why they couldn’t hit the numbers. Nothing complicated here. Nothing to see. Just a lot of talking heads on cable TV now staying up late to hear themselves talk.
By the last full week of campaigning, you could give your confident assessment of the electoral landscape. No longer could you avoid the question by faking on about how “tight it would be.” You could even wage a few dollars at any re-opened Atlantic City casino.
It was just getting too damn hard to beat Nate Silver’s analysis with anecdotal remote hopes based on the number of Romney/Ryan bumper stickers you would see during your morning commute. Folks like Sam Wang called it with neuroscientist precision. Mounting empirical evidence had been mounting for some time.
[Photo credit: @BarackObama]