With the final vote total giving President Obama a greater and greater winning margin, it is useless to point one’s finger at a single factor that lead to the President’s decisive victory. Here are some factors that contributed the most.
1 – For starters, and in this case finishers, give full credit to the Obama campaign team. They know their business, having honed their skills running Chicago elections on behalf of the Daley Political Machine there for decades, and they took their show “on the road” for the second time on the national stage and for the second time in a row, devastated the Republican competition. Yes, there was sleaze involved, but what political competition has ever been conducted without it. Four years ago the Obama team took on the seemingly impossible task of taking on Hillary Clinton, who we all thought was ordained to capture the Democrat nomination, and they crushed her. In 2008, the big battle was Barack Obama vs. Hillary Clinton for the nomination; the Presidential race was a walk in the park against a weak and flawed Republican candidate, John McCain, a poor McCain Campaign Team, which later further proved its ineptitude by running the Meg Whitman campaign for Governor of California into defeat, and was also involved in the Sharon Angle campaign for Senator in Nevada against a very vulnerable Harry Reid. Yes, the McCain team was a loser and so were this team’s candidates. President Obama had no Democrat competition in 2012, but the same team that served him so well in 2008 was on hand to serve him, perhaps, even better this time. With no positive record upon which to run, the Obama team focused on little issues, but all those little issues, plus an ability to get their side out to vote, resulted in another victory. Whoever this Obama Campaign Team latches upon as a national candidate in 2016 will be a very lucky Democrat. Team Obama did an excellent job, one of the best ever, and it showed in the final results. Congratulations on a job well done.
2 – A note on those “little” issues. There are no “little” issues. There are issues that resonate and those that don’t. While the Republicans were focusing on the nation’s economic woes under President Obama, the Obama Campaign Team was deflecting the Republican “big picture” issues by talking about abortion, birth control (gender vs. gender politics), asking rich folks to “pay just a little more” in taxes (status vs. status politics), reducing college tuition (age vs. age politics), amnesty to illegal aliens (race vs. race politics, which included calling every criticism of Obama “racist”) and so on. While Republicans scoffed at these “little” issues, noting that it was still about the economy, our reduced role on the world stage, cover-ups (Fast and Furious, Libya, etc.) that may or may not eventually lead to the White House, etc. but in the end those “little” issues resonated with
voters. It is interesting that four groups in particular (single women, college students and young people in general, Latinos and Blacks) four groups that have
the most to suffer from the liberal/progressive political agenda, all overwhelmingly supported President Obama’s re-election and certainly pushed him over the top. Republicans need to learn that there are no “little” or “unimportant” issues. There are issues that resonate with voters and those that don’t. Who decides? The voters do and they did on Nov. 6.
3 – Hurricane Sandy and Chris Christie slobbering all over President Obama. Hurricane (or storm or whatever it was called) Sandy certainly had a significant impact on the final result. At a time when Mitt Romney was gaining momentum, pulling ahead in the major polls including Gallup, along came Sandy, which stopped that momentum while a nation watched New Jersey, New York and that region deal with a real tragedy and disaster. Add to the storm’s impact on the election campaign was New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s amazing performance in slobbering all over President Obama when the President came to visit the Jersey Shore. It was a virtual endorsement of President Obama from one of the leading and most popular Republicans at a time that was certainly critical to the State of New Jersey, but also a critical time in the campaign. Christie could have simply thanked the President for simply doing what a President is supposed to do – that is to accept the Governor’s request for Federal assistance – but instead Gov. Christie turned the moment into a political event, no doubt to increase his popularity within his own state, but as an auxiliary effect, gave the President a lot of credibility that he had been lacking. Chris Christie gave President Obama “ept,” when after the first debate with Romney, his failure to respond in a timely manner and with no
credibility whatsoever to the Libya murders of our Ambassador and three others,
looked pretty inept. Don’t pooh pooh that little two-hour Obama-Christie photo-op, love fest in New Jersey. Remember what a difference that first 90-minute debate had on the campaign in helping Romney? That Obama-Christie meeting had a similar impact, this time helping the President. Sure, it didn’t change anybody’s hardened minds about their voting choice, but for the so-called moderates or independents or those who hadn’t quite made up their minds, or especially for those who still kind of liked Obama, but were disappointed in him enough to possibly vote for Romney, the seeming “endorsement” of the President by one of his opposing party’s most high profile personalities, made it more “safe” to support the President. Obama seemed less inept, thanks to Gov. Christie, so don’t think for a moment that the Christie moment didn’t make a difference.
Bottom line: President Obama won. It was close, but not all that close. Obama was the clear winner. His campaign team knew what to do, how to focus (manipulate) the issues (with the help of a loving, for the most part, media), and (most important) got their side out to vote. We are very much a divided nation (urban vs. rural/suburban, race vs. race, gender vs. gender, successful vs. not-as-successful, young vs. not-so-young anymore). Just look at the national political map. There is far more “red” than “blue” areas on that map. When McCain lost to Obama in 2008, even in my state of California, more than 60 percent of cities voted for McCain. However, as Conservatives dominate in smaller communities all across America, Liberals/Progressives dominate the big cities. When those big cities overwhelmingly dominate the population statistics in states like California, New York, New Jersey, Illinois and even Ohio, Democrats win state-wide and national elections. America’s national politics are dominated by California, Illinois and New York, home to our three biggest cities (New York, Los Angeles and Chicago). They are poorly run cities, in poorly run states, but they are controlling our national politics. Is that really good for America? We just don’t seem to celebrate the person who works very hard and makes it as much as we used to. We seem to care more about equal results rather than equal opportunity. Color of skin seems to matter more than content of character or at the very least, skin tone matters more and more these days. Instead of looking at somebody who is economically more successful than us and saying “how can I get there, too,” we look at the successful and want to bring them down, at least a little (“can’t the rich afford to pay a little more?”). To a growing number of people in America, the goal seems not so much to “get there” but to “get by” and not so much to “get there” but to “get mine.”
I don’t have any answers, following the 2012 elections. I am disappointed in the national results, but I am working at not getting discouraged. In my local elections, just about everyone I voted for won. This was especially important to me in my local city and state legislative elections in my area of Beaumont. My town, like a majority of smaller towns across America, even here in California, is more conservative than liberal and that is mostly reflected in our voting choices. I suspect times are going to get much worse in big cities across America. Liberal/progressive politics are really going to be put to the test in these big cities where that ideology rules, big time. Meanwhile, we folks in smaller towns are, I think and I hope, are still going to be OK. For now, the big cities like Los Angeles, Chicago or New York City are still great places to visit, but now, more than ever before in my lifetime, I sure wouldn’t want to live in one of them or any big city over 100,000 for that matter.
These are my thoughts on the election and the impact they will have over the next few years. I recall a movie line that went something like this: fasten your seatbelts… we’re in for a bumpy ride.