A long string of post-election observations:
Let me start by saying that Mitt Romney’s concession speech was gracious. More strikingly, the audience was gracious when he mentioned Obama. I was ready for the big boo, but they were pretty impressive, actually applauding when Romney said they should all pray for Obama and the country (this surely has to do with the fact that it was in Massachusetts rather than Texas or someplace). I’m really glad he lost, obviously, but I’m a human being, and on a human level, a small part of me feels sorry for him, his family, and his staff. Working as hard as they’ve worked for this long and meeting that result has to be soul-crushing. Better them than the other side, but even so. As I’ve said, I thought there were ways in which they ran a pretty smart campaign, so I think people should lay off Stu Stevens and Matt Rhoades.
The two Davids. Axelrod and Plouffe. I’ve been critical of both during the first term on various points. But there sure know how to run a campaign. Obama is now the first Democrat since FDR to win two elections with more than 50 percent of the vote. Barack Hussein Obama!
The biggest fact of the race: The final vote, say exit polls, was D+6. In other words, the polls were right. If I had a penny for all the tweets I read just mocking, just howling about the polls that had party ID’s of D+6. In honesty, I admit to some surprise at this myself. I thought it would be D+3 or 4; hence, my lowball prediction of 294 EV’s. But what D+6 means is, well, just what I said before the voting it meant: The percentage of Americans who are willing to identify themselves as Republicans is very low indeed, and if I were an R, I’d be very worried about that.
A couple things I got wrong: first, obviously, my prediction. I didn’t quite have the guts to go with my gut and say 303 or 332. Serves me right I guess. Second, I fretted that Obama’s endorsement of gay marriage would cost him and be controversial. Wrong wrong wrong, I report happily (and hooray for my Maryland, and the other states approving same-sex marriage). I get basically get Wisconsin right, though. I said when Scott Walker won, I think, that it’d be eight points. It was seven. I was wrong however in thinking that Obama wouldn’t really have to work for it. He did.
Never take these people seriously again: Karl Rove, Dick Morris, Scott Rasmussen. Here were Rasmussen’s picks: CT -10. Co -7, IA -7, NH -7, WI-7, VA -5, NV -4, MI -4, FL -3, NC -3, MN -3, OH -2. Average, 5.2 percent off. Dick Morris? Please. If he had any decency, he’d quit the business. Hugely embarrassing. And Rove. Can we just stop according him the status he has? Not only did he get this race really wrong, but he just burned many, many millions of rich Republicans’ dollars on ads that had no impact where they were supposed to. And then those shenanigans last night. He looked like such a fool, pointing and gesturing and huffing and puffing.
Nate Silver got every state right. Assuming Florida goes Obama, as everyone is predicting. Every. State.
Another big demographic fact: The white vote was 72 percent. Down from 74. In 2016, it’s going to be 70. By 2024…Get it?
States where Obama didn’t win a single county: Oklahoma (which was the only state this was true of last time); Utah; West Virginia (yep; sigh). States where Romney didn’t win a county: Maine; Vermont; Massachusetts; Rhode Island. Yep, he won one of Delaware’s three counties, Sussex. That’s a Republican county.
It’s not merely that Democrats won Senate races. It’s the quality of the people who won. Elizabeth Warren is awesome. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota seems very promising. Chris Murphy in Connecticut obviously has to be a massive improvement over Joe Lieberman. And while I liked Jim Webb, Tim Kaine is probably an improvement there. Great crop.
Losers all: Sheldon Adelson, the Koch Brothers, Donald Trump. Schadenfreude doesn’t begin to describe the feeling.
More to come later. Please offer your own reflections.