SALT LAKE CITY, November 6, 2012—Just over a year ago, this column splashed onto the scene with the assertion that President Obama would lose re-election by a wide margin.
“Rich Like Me” stands behind that prediction with confidence.
In a brief answer to the simple question of who would win, I wrote last night that it would be Romney, needless to say. But now I can go into length about why that will be the case, and probably with many votes to spare.
Much has been written this election season about polls and high-powered mathematical models.
I’m sticking with my gut. Not to understate the polls (they look better for Romney than for Obama), but they often misstate the obvious: President Obama has failed, and people know it.
America simply won’t re-elect a failed president.
Let’s take a look at the reasons offered last August to see if any of the election fundamentals have changed. In that debut entry, I wrote:
1. The electoral map favors the GOP. Regardless of what the two major candidates do, the map is the map and demographics are largely immovable. When correcting for the wild, and impressive, swings in favor of Obama and the Democrats in 2008, the map that gave George W. Bush two terms is even more solidly red. We are seeing that now, with North Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Colorado, and even Virginia going to Romney rather easily.
Iowa and Nevada may even go back to the GOP, if Pennsylvania is too close to call and Virginia and New Hampshire are called early in the night.
2. There is no way that Obama can recreate the enthusiasm that swept him into office four years ago. It’s like asking a sprinter to set another world record five minutes after he just ran the fastest time ever. Blacks will vote for him, but a few will defect on the margins, and many more will fail to show up at the polls. Ditto for Hispanics and young people, only in greater numbers.
What I failed to foresee was the mass of women voters who would defect this time around. The president’s hyper partisanship and juvenile campaigning have turned many away. All of this points to an enormous erosion of independent support for the president. He won indies by a margin of eight percentage points. Today, Gallup has that margin totally erased. Other polls have shown Romney to lead by as many as ten points.
3. “Finally, there are the brutal facts of reality with which the president must deal,” said the sage author last year. Those fact have become even worse for the president. Barack Obama simply could not explain away his poor record on the economy and jobs, and was forced to defend Obamacare until the bitter end. He became the most partisan president in history, impugning his opponents with the most sinister of motives. He failed at nearly everything he set out to do, save killing Osama bin Laden.
Without a record worth defending, Obama went about demonizing Mitt Romney. It hurt him, flaking away the thin veneer of Hope and Change that remained, revealing a deeply bitter Chicago politician.
How will the dominoes fall? Well, Romney will start very early tonight with 223 electoral votes, including his 191 safe states across the land, and those from New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Virginia. Florida will be called just after 9:00 Eastern when it is apparent that no break for Obama will come from the panhandle, raising Romney’s total to 252 before polls close in the Midwest.
Meanwhile, Pennsylvania will be too close to call, depressing Democrats in later time zones, and enthusiasm will build among Republicans voters out west.
Ohio will fall in the GOP column much more quickly than anyone expects, as Pennsylvania counts votes. It is simply improbable that the president retains Ohio, which he won by four points in 2008, and lose Virginia which he won by more than six. An eight point swing in the Old Dominion will translate to a fairly easy win in the Buckeye State. Romney will thus secure the win without the need to consult Wisconsin voters.
Nevertheless, the Badger State will want to be heard and reward its native son with a resounding endorsement for the vice presidency.
President Obama will concede the race before that even happens, seeing that the margin of victory will be far beyond the reach of his lawyers.
Iowa, soon after, will get called for Romney, bringing his electoral vote haul to 286. Colorado might be the last state to added to the Republican column, but the drama will ensue in senate races across the country—in Arizona, Nevada, and a close one in Wisconsin.
All factors considered, Romney might be able to run up the score if Pennsylvania finally comes through. If that happens, the challenger might even be able to claim Nevada by the end of the night.
Back in August 2011, this column declared that it would not be close.
We’ll know in a few hours.
Rich is a teacher and a soldier. In addition to writing the “Rich Like Me” political column at the Washington Times Communities, he is the author of Nine Weeks: A Teacher’s Education in Army Basic Training; Tunnel Club; and Not Another Boring Textbook: A High School Students’ Guide to their Inner Conservative.
He writes about Salt Lake City and the World in the Food and Travel section.
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