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Election news isn’t as bleak in the states

Tuesday night may have represented a defeat for America’s more conservative political party at the federal level, but the American people did not repudiate conservative ideals.

Although Republicans lost seats in the United States Senate and House, they did relatively well in state legislative races. Indeed, “Even as Midwesterners voted to reelect Obama,” wrote James Sherk yesterday in the National Review,

they also voted against the union-backed candidates. Michigan voters rejected making collective-bargaining powers a “right” by a 58–42 margin. Michigan Republicans also held onto their majorities in the legislature. In Wisconsin, Republicans aligned with Governor Walker’s agenda retook the state senate. Republicans expanded their margins in Indiana to better than two-thirds of the legislature. Ohio Republicans also expanded their legislative majority.

They did suffer some losses, losing, for example, the House in Colorado and New Hampshire and losing both chambers in Maine as well as Minnesota, but, in addition to Wisconsin, Republicans flipped the Senate in Alaska and, for the first time since Reconstruction, won both chambers of the Arkansas legislature.

Mitt Romney may have lost Florida, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, but Republicans control the legislature (both houses) and hold the governor’s chair in all five states.

Not just that, Tom Maguire teased out an interesting data point buried in The New York Times report on the exit polls:

In November 2008, when the country was floundering in the worst recession since the Depression, Election Day surveys of voters found that 51 percent of them wanted government to do more to intervene while 43 percent said it was doing too many things better left to businesses. Now, after four years of government activism, those numbers have flipped.

This corresponds with other surveys showing that Americans prefer a smaller government with fewer services to larger government with more services.

And maybe Republicans held onto the majority in so many state legislatures because local candidates could better articulate that small government message.

UDPATE:  Michelle Malkin lists 20 things that went right on Election Day



  1. Voter schizophrenia is a hard thing to poll and then interpret.

    The Republican party will very likely cave to the outside noise that conservatism is to blame and that the party needs to move toward being more “inclusive.” The MSM which does not care a jot about the Republicans winning will harp on this endlessly.

    “Inclusive” means be more like the Democrats. To be more like the Democrats, the Republicans would have to beat them at their own game and that would be a race to see who can out promise the other and who can empty the store first.

    I read that Obama carried 8 of the 10 richest counties in the country. It does not sound like the rich are worried very much about having to part with very much money. Why, is that? Because a whole heck of a lot of them are Democrats and they own a whole lot of political credits. They invented crony capitalism and Obama is a committed play in the game.

    Soros has figured out how to make money from economic decline. So have a lot of other grifters and grabbers. And, if an economic shoe starts to pinch one them, off-shoring they will go. (Correction: they are already the backbone investors in the Switzerland and Singapore banking system.)

    Republicans have more appeal at the local level where people actually count their pennies.

    Comment by heliotrope — November 8, 2012 @ 8:59 am - November 8, 2012

  2. My hope is that the GOP will only work with the democrats when their overtures to work are honest and come with respect.

    I do want to see the house and senate work together but not at the expense of conservative principles.

    Comment by Just Me — November 8, 2012 @ 9:23 am - November 8, 2012

  3. Voter schizophrenia is a hard thing to poll and then interpret.

    There’s no question that America has shifted to the right since 2006/2008.

    The results of 2010, AND this year, show that. America just hasn’t shifted far enough to the right, yet, to overcome entrenched Big Government interests. But Obama only won by winning ugly, with a significant LOSS of support from 2008.

    Voters are schizophrenic, in part because GOP candidates still aren’t telling voters the truth about the severity of America’s fiscal crisis. This summer, when I heard that Romney-Ryan were going to try to run to the left of the Democrats on Medicare, I thought “This can’t end well.” Looks like I was right about that.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — November 8, 2012 @ 10:02 am - November 8, 2012

  4. (continued) I have no doubt now that Romney is a thoroughly decent human being, and a skilled executive who, with Ryan, would have tackled America’s fiscal crisis.

    But his campaign was non-ideological (contrary to left-wing myth). At the end of the day, did Romney really offer the American people a choice… rather than an echo?

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — November 8, 2012 @ 10:28 am - November 8, 2012

  5. ILC,

    I don’t think there is any way of “telling voters the truth about the severity of America’s fiscal crisis.”

    The social welfare programs support a huge number of people who are able to drop out of the workforce and exist on food stamps, unemployment, and other subsides. They are largely insulated from feeling the pain in any immediate and pressing way.

    As a counterpoint, many, many people wiped out by Sandy in New Jersey and New York lost everything they had and were literally on the fumes of their last dollar on earth. They will, in large part, be swept into the welfare system as the millstones of FEMA and the insurance companies grind slowly and show up way down the road with too little and probably too late. Those people get it. They are in the jaws of an actual depression.

    Meanwhile, I ask you, why should anyone bust his knuckles working for himself to try to earn $50k a year? He can easily get that and more on welfare and spend his days commenting on Gay Patriot.

    The point is that most of the public has no reason to tune into dreary news about fiscal this or fiscal that so long as they don’t feel the pinch. Think of New Orleans when Karina hit as advertised and the projects crowd went looting and then when they didn’t have electricity and TV and food they screamed about being abandoned. Most of the country sees business as usual and the stock market as thimble-rigged. Even in Greece, they would rather burn things down than face reality.

    I would posit that every single vote cast for Obama was cast by a person who believes that the government is a goose that lays golden eggs. No Obama voter has the slightest idea of what Argentina’s Obama is up to.

    My cynicism/pessimism is based on the belief that no politician ever got elected peddling bad news. The people don’t want to hear it and they won’t believe it if they do listen.

    In September of 2008, Paulson came up with the astounding number of 750 billion dollars as the cost of TARP. Since then, we no longer shudder at tossing around a trillion or two. When someone talks of a savings of 30 billion over ten years it is almost a joke about “chump change.”

    We are in for protracted unemployment, continued and increased deficit spending and skyrocketing (at first hidden) inflation. When the people start to feel the pain, they will up their demands for more money from the government. Then there will be a rush against those who prepared by those who didn’t.

    The Ant and the Grasshopper is an ancient morality tale by Aesop that has been lost on the multitudes for countless generations. It was ever thus.

    Comment by heliotrope — November 8, 2012 @ 10:50 am - November 8, 2012

  6. “no politician ever got elected peddling bad news” – Maybe so. The successful politician lets people see the bad news on their own, then he simply refers to it, attaching the good news that the politician is capable of facing up to it and leading people. That is how Reagan got elected.

    But that brings me back to the idea that the electorate *could not* vote for Romney (to tackle the giant problems that await Obama now), because of *the electorate* not seeing the problems. The idea that Romney was doomed by a frivolous electorate, an electorate living in unreality.

    Your case for pessimism is tough to argue with. There is no question that Obama won by appealing to the worst in people: their desire for a government check, their silly fear of contraception being banned, etc.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — November 8, 2012 @ 12:06 pm - November 8, 2012

  7. This is interesting.

    Multiple Romney sources buzzed about one number in particular: 15 percent. According to exit polls, that’s the share of African-Americans who voted in Ohio this year. In 2008, the black percentage of the electorate was 11 percent. In Virginia and Florida, exit polls showed the same share of African-Americans turned out as four years ago, something that GOP turnout models did not anticipate.

    “We didn’t think they’d turn out more of their base vote than they did in 2008, but they smoked us,” said one Romney operative. “It’s unbelievable that that they turned out more from the African-American community than in 2008. Somehow they got ‘em to vote.”

    African-Americans supported Obama nearly universally, but Obama still only won Ohio by 1.9 percent.

    “We just didn’t see the enthusiasm with their base,” he added. “We had enthusiasm on our side. So we thought, ‘Yeah, we’re gonna win this.’ … We hit our numbers in rural areas…”

    Obama campaign officials noted Wednesday that they had years to build up a field operation that was often not visible to the other side. The director of Obama outreach to African-Americans in Ohio oversaw a barber shop and beauty salon program that helped register new voters and distribute literature. A Congregations Captains Program helped the campaign arm supporters in traditionally African-American congregations with what they needed to mobilize other parishioners.

    Based on Obama’s gay marriage ‘evolution’ and on some buzz about blacks being disenchanted with Obama, I was expecting black turnout to not exceed 2008 – and perhaps be slightly lower.

    I’m very glad if people vote, but it also occurs to me that Democrat fraud should be considered as a possibility, i.e. looked into. Because a 40% jump in turnout *after* the ‘historic’ event and a four year record of failure, seems odd. Just odd. 40%. On the other hand, at least some of it must be real and the fact that Team Romney was blindsided by it does suggest that they are, well, ‘too white’; too much disconnected from blacks.

    If Romney looked and felt like a winner in the final days, it’s because he was really feeling it:

    Huge crowds are common for both sides in a campaign’s closing days. Romney himself was moved by an unplanned massing of a thousand well-wishers who waited for him at the airport in Pittsburgh Tuesday afternoon.

    “You know intellectually I’ve felt we’re going to win this and have felt that for some time, but emotionally just getting off the plane and seeing those people standing there – we didn’t tell them we were coming, we didn’t notify them when we’d arrive, just seeing people there cheering as they were – connected emotionally with me,” he told reporters on the flight from Pittsburgh to Boston before polls closed. “I not only think we’re going to win intellectually, I feel it as well.”

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — November 8, 2012 @ 12:09 pm - November 8, 2012

  8. A couple more interesting analyses.

    Sean Trende at RCP alleges ‘missing white voters’.

    if our assumption about the total number of votes cast is correct, almost 7 million fewer whites voted in 2012 than in 2008. This isn’t readily explainable by demographic shifts either; although whites are declining as a share of the voting-age population, their raw numbers are not.

    The increased share of the minority vote as a percent of the total vote is not the result of a large increase in minorities in the numerator, it is a function of many fewer whites in the denominator.

    But, which white voters? Former Obama supporters, that Romney just didn’t win over enough to motivate them?

    So who were these whites and why did they stay home? My first instinct was that they might be conservative evangelicals turned off by Romney’s Mormonism or moderate past. But the decline didn’t seem to be concentrated in Southern states with high evangelical populations.

    So instead, I looked at my current home state of Ohio…

    Where things drop off are in the rural portions of Ohio, especially in the southeast. These represent areas still hard-hit by the recession. Unemployment is high there, and the area has seen almost no growth in recent years.

    My sense is these voters were unhappy with Obama. But his negative ad campaign relentlessly emphasizing Romney’s wealth and tenure at Bain Capital may have turned them off to the Republican nominee as well.

    So, the negative campaigning worked. Obama won ugly.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — November 8, 2012 @ 12:45 pm - November 8, 2012

  9. ILC,

    I agree that the electorate can be educated to a point. But the black population is always sensitive to any inference that racism is in play. Not to overplay Chris Matthews (who is the spitting image of a master race Aryan of the porcine side), you will recall that if Romney said “piano” it was some sort of racism codeword. Once that sort of daisy chain demagoguing starts it only builds and minds close.

    We are a very different country after four years of a continuous campaign of blame and division. Alinsky was employed in 2008 and continually built upon by putting forth a new enemy with every cycle of waning interest.

    The White House has not been a seat of positive energy or reassurance or united America for the past four years and to imagine that it will do a 180 degree turn now is fantasy.

    This was the lowest and most targeted campaign of my experience. The Democrats have been masters at this sort of thing going back to Dewey calling Truman a mud-slinger and well before that.

    Clinton had his war-room and permanent campaign strategy after winning. They just fight for keeps and divide the country and then pull them together as a coalition.

    My point is that the Republicans are ill equipped to out do them at their tactics. Remember the Senator who was destroyed for shuffling his foot in a public bathroom stall? He was accused of being G-A-Y by the diversity loving and all forgiving Democrats. They can do blatant hypocrisy, because they nearly always win while doing so. Republicans are barred from that game.

    Comment by heliotrope — November 8, 2012 @ 1:00 pm - November 8, 2012

  10. I can take steps to protect myself from my lying, looting fellow Americans. But I hate having to.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — November 8, 2012 @ 1:11 pm - November 8, 2012

  11. Ace has good stuff from Geraghty, discussing Obama’s NARWHAL system:
    Ace’s conclusion:

    Obama did lose ten million voters (actually, probably less, when all votes are tallied). But he turned out people who’d never voted before, or voted rarely, by figuring out just what provocative, scare ’em message to send individual non-voters.

    Fine, if those are the new rules, then I have no doubt that that’s how the GOP will start playing, in 2014 and 2016.

    I did hear some buzz this time about the GOP having an effective new voter-turnout system, but apparently they didn’t. Yet.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — November 8, 2012 @ 3:44 pm - November 8, 2012

  12. By the way – the example which the underlying news article goes into at length, is a single liberal non-voter woman (Julia, anyone?) in OH, getting e-mail blasts about how “they” are not going to give her the government-mandated contraception that she should want.

    Truly the mark of a society in decline, and what we’ve all been saying: A nation of takers. That’s what Obama wants. That’s what Obama has been trying to create. That’s what is going to collapse on His head.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — November 8, 2012 @ 4:02 pm - November 8, 2012

  13. Fine, if those are the new rules, then I have no doubt that that’s how the GOP will start playing, in 2014 and 2016.

    I did hear some buzz this time about the GOP having an effective new voter-turnout system, but apparently they didn’t. Yet.

    Wait, they’re going to start playing the scare tactics game? I do believe the main campaign points in 2004 for the Republicans were ‘Kerry wants to legalize the gay marriage, which will mean all of the childrens will be exposed to the gays!!’ and ‘Bush is heroically keeping all of us alive by killing the terrorists and Kerry will invite them over for tea!!!’

    Same thing in 2008 – Republicans said not to vote for Obama because he believe in blacks liberation theology and palled around with terrorists and it’s more than a little likely that he’s actually a Manchurian candidate, born in Kenya, that wants to destroy democracy and capitalism!!

    This year, more of the same! Obama is going to purposefully destroy the economy and he’s letting the terrorists come back and his wife wants to prevent you from eating the food you want to eat and death panels and he’s going to kill religious freedom!!!

    Meanwhile, the ‘scare tactic’ of the war on women, employed by the Democrats, is an actual argument based on the concerted efforts by conservative groups to restrict women’s access to abortion and healthcare. In other words, it’s something to legitimately be scarred about if you care about those issues. It stands in stark contrast to the paranoid, delusional bullshit that the Republicans trot out every year that terrifies the conservative movement but has absolutely no basis in reality.

    Comment by Levi — November 8, 2012 @ 4:16 pm - November 8, 2012

  14. Thank you, Levi.

    To all sentient readers: Levi demonstrates @ #13 how even the mentally deficient can play out the Alinsky script. It was written for bullies and thugs, so there is nothing too awfully clever about it.

    It takes a soulless person to lie and twist and demonize in order to savage the opposition.

    Look at Herman Caine. He was a successful conservative black man who posed an enormous competency threat to Obama. So, they trotted out a couple of women who made allegations about him and drove him to quit the race.

    Read little Levi’s tripe above to refresh yourself on how the low life mind works when playing slime-ball.

    Comment by heliotrope — November 8, 2012 @ 4:32 pm - November 8, 2012

  15. I think I can summarize this election now.

    . Obama is a failure, who offered people no hope. Under past rules, he was going to lose. Which why he was pale and defensive, the whole campaign.
    . But he had superior GOTV and voter micro targeting. Whereas the GOP only thought they did.
    . Combined with a Chicago negative campaign and a partisan media that would cover for it, he eked out a narrow win.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — November 8, 2012 @ 5:00 pm - November 8, 2012

  16. (cont) the dems are drawing the wrong lessons from it, as we speak. They think it’s built-in demographic advantage, plus their sheer awesomeness. They will find it isn’t.

    The GOP does need to fix its minority outreach, but that’s doable.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — November 8, 2012 @ 5:05 pm - November 8, 2012

  17. Moreover: the Dems need to work on their majority outreach. They lost the white vote, 60-40. That is a powerful demographic headwind against them. Maybe the right candidate could reverse it… same as with, say, GOP and Latinos.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — November 8, 2012 @ 5:56 pm - November 8, 2012

  18. Also, my brother won re-election as a county commissioner with 58% of the vote.

    Comment by V the K — November 8, 2012 @ 5:59 pm - November 8, 2012

  19. Mazel tov! GOP, you mean?

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — November 8, 2012 @ 6:25 pm - November 8, 2012

  20. The GOP does need to fix its minority outreach, but that’s doable. . .

    Wonder if CPAC and other community organizing events will actually shift their strategies? Seems like more focus on capacity building and truly extending the Big Tent might become a priority

    Comment by rusty — November 8, 2012 @ 6:59 pm - November 8, 2012

  21. This is implied by my comment 15, but I want to make it explicit: Romney was not up to overcoming Obama’s negative campaign, which depressed Romney’s turnout among millions of Republican-leaning marginal voters.

    That’s where GOP calculations went wrong. Yes, the Obama team got themselves a new edge in micro-targeting (bringing out their marginal voters). But where they really scored, was in driving down Romney’s turnout. That isn’t a demographic shift; it’s a weak opponent, combined with voter confusion and depression. Again, Democrats have a big weakness with their majority outreach.

    h/t Ace

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — November 9, 2012 @ 10:11 am - November 9, 2012

  22. P.S, As Trende suggests, the *share* of black voters rose from 11 to 15% just because whites stayed home. So it doesn’t necessarily suggest vote fraud, nor legions of new black voters; just that Obama managed to keep up the 2008 black vote.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — November 9, 2012 @ 4:13 pm - November 9, 2012

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