Just for the heck of it, I decided to compare Mitt Romney’s 2012 numbers with George W. Bush’s 2004 numbers to see how they matched up. I already established in my last piece that Romney outperformed John McCain in every single swing state including Florida, Virginia, Colorado, Iowa, Nevada and New Hampshire. The only exception was Ohio, where Romney received 84,000 less votes than McCain. My guess is because exit poll data reveals that the auto industry bailouts were widely popular among voters there (60% of Ohioans supported it) while Romney’s managed bankruptcy remarks were not.
But here’s the scary thing if you’re a Republican: Romney also outperformed Bush when you add up the total amount of votes in the swing states.
So wait, if Romney got more votes in the swing states than both McCain in 2008 and Bush in 2004, how could he have lost? Because there are that many more Democrats in these swing states now than 2004. Democratic registration in these states has skyrocketed over the last eight years by 1.45 million. That tells me it’s definitely demographics, and if they’re loyally going to show up at the voting booths every election year – with or without the enthusiasm – then Republicans have a serious problem on their hands.
Now there may be some conservatives out there thinking, “Wait a second, Bush got 62 million votes in 2004 and Romney got 59 million in 2012. So that must mean 3 million Republicans ‘stayed home.’” I looked into this theory as well. We can clearly see above that Romney’s turnout in the swing states was nearly identical to Bush’s, even surpassing Bush in total voters there. So it couldn’t have been in the swing states. I had one friend suggest to me that maybe those 3 million conservatives were evangelicals in red states that didn’t vote for Romney “because of the Mormon thing.” I checked the totals there too, and Romney surpassed Bush in the most populous red states as well, so that’s not the case either.
So if Romney did better than Bush in both the swing states and red states, where were the missing 3 million votes from 2004? In hardcore blue states that weren’t even in contention. Check out the totals in the most populous ones.
There are your missing 3 million votes.
Where did they go? It’s possible they might have moved out, but then they should still show up in the total elsewhere. Maybe they stayed home since they figured it’s so lop-sided in these states anyway, why bother voting? But here’s the bottom line: Bush got 62 million votes in 2004 while John Kerry received 59 million. Eight years later, we had the exact opposite: 59 million for Romney and 62 million for Barack Obama. Maybe those 3 million votes switched. Or maybe we haven’t kept up our net loss of registered Republicans the way Democrats have. Either way, we can’t afford to be losing any more voters.
So what is the answer? Well I don’t thinking moving further to the right socially will reverse it, at least in the swing states. As I mentioned in my last piece, a majority of voters now believe that abortion should be legal all or most of the time in all the battleground swing states and even in states that Romney carried, like Missouri and Indiana. When Republicans fight for smaller government, they must be consistent. Keep government out of religion and religion out of government. We’re a constitutional republic, not an authoritarian theocracy. Exit poll data shows 51% of Americans still prefer smaller government with fewer services vs. 43% who prefer larger government. If we don’t stay consistent with the separation of church and state distinction on the national level and nominate candidates who carry that platform, we’ll keep losing the swing states for many elections to come.
As I said earlier, this is also a story of changing demographics. Romney won a majority of whites, males, independents, middle class voters, and married women. Any other election in U.S. history and that would’ve been enough. In fact, Romney won more white voters than any Republican candidate since 1988. That number won’t be getting any higher for us. Obama won a majority of blacks, Latinos, millennials, lower middle class and poor voters, and single women, which was enough now to lock a 50%+1 majority.
As I detailed in my piece entitled How We Need To Rebuild The Republican Party, there are free market, small government arguments to be made for each and every one of those demographics that Obama won over and we should be reaching out to as well. We can no longer keep ignoring minority communities, millennial voters and single women. For that matter, we need to stop surrendering blue states so easily to Democrats as well. It’s gotten so bad in my home state of Illinois that Democrats now have veto-proof super-majorities in both chambers of the state legislature. Put in this way: the governor is now irrelevant. There are no checks and balances, zero accountability, and corrupt politicians are even winning re-election (more on this in my next article).
Finally, we must also diversify our base with free market principled, small government conservatives who do enforce the separation of church and state if nothing else because we need enough primary voters to be nominating the right candidates to carry the right message, especially when it comes to Senate elections. We don’t need any more Christine O’Donnells and Sharron Angles or Todd Akins and Richard Mourdocks, especially in states where Republicans shouldn’t be losing elections.
The bleeding has to stop. Far left Democrats will continue out of control levels of spending which will drown us in red ink, bankrupt our safety nets and drive more jobs and businesses overseas if we don’t start reversing these election losses as soon as possible.