Forget Karl Rove. This is a thrashing, and for all the right reasons.
This was a thrashing. I don’t yet know the full electoral college total, but it’s looking like at least a 100-vote margin. That’s a thrashing. Over at 11:13? And the truth is, it wasn’t even that dramatic. It was over around 9:00. The next two hours were just waiting around for it to be official.
You can believe, if you want, that Ohio is still up for grabs. That Karl Rove business on Fox was priceless. It’s an astonishing thing, that the numbers specialists at Fox called Ohio for Obama, and the on-air talent questioned it. And not just an anchor—an on-air commentator who has also raised and spent many millions of dollars on behalf of Romney. It’s as banana republic as anything that happens in a real banana republican.
But as I write, Florida is leaning Obama, and maybe even Virginia. This thing is over. Without Ohio, it’s likely still 300-plus electoral votes. And after they count the votes in California, Obama is projected to win the popular vote too.
Was it the ground game? Was it the 47 percent? Was it Sandy? Was it Chris Christie? It was a little bit of all those things. But mostly it was two big things, and this election was about big things.
The first big thing is that a very clear majority of Americans saw the truth about the past four years. Exit polls showed that voters still blamed the economic problems on George Bush’s administration. They thought Obama tried hard and did a pretty good job (no, he hasn’t done a great job yet), and they notice the change and improvement recently. I didn’t write all these things down, but in state after state exit poll as they went through them on CNN, more people thought—finally!—that the economy was headed in the right direction.
The people know who created the problem, and they know who’s fixing it. That’s number one.
And number two? The second big thing here is that the Republican Party is just too far to the right. Not just to win a national election. It’s too far to the right even to compete really seriously in one. The thing some Republicans are saying now is absolutely true: They should have been able to win this year. No incumbent president has ever been reelected with this kind of unemployment rate, and there’s no good reason it should have happened now. They could have won.
But it’s a fringe party that has become too extreme to win the White House. I’d imagine they’re going to blame Romney. I don’t like Mitt Romney. I’m indescribably relieved that after tonight, I never have to hear that man’s wretched voice again. He ran the lyingest campaign in modern history—just outright and blatant lies. But in some ways he did run a pretty effective campaign. He and his team did some smart things in the past month. They ran a pretty good race in the end in some ways.
But it was too late and too clever by half. His attempts to distance himself from the right wing came too late. I saw another exit poll number that 80 percent of people made up their minds in September. Before the first debate even happened. That large majority saw a spineless Romney sucking up to an extremist party on issue after issue. And even while Romney was pirouetting, they saw a parade of Neanderthal congressional candidates telling women to expel their fetuses.
I’ll have much more to say about this over the course of the week. But tonight, America told the guy who’s been trying that they appreciate it. And they told the crazy party: you’re crazy.