Reflections on the 2012 Presidential Election
November 14, 2012
With another election year come and gone, America has chosen to re-elect President Barack Obama to a second term. Many of his supporters see this as an important turning point in American history, one that is a reflection of the hope and change he has been promising over the last four years. Others see it as a continuance of failed policy and broken promises that will hinder the American economy and put a burden on its citizens.
There are many reflections that one can draw from the election results. From a statistical standpoint, a lot of political analysts felt that it would be a much tighter race than that of 2008, which in many respects, it was. The voter turnout, especially among Hispanic voters, was higher than expected as well.
This election was centered more on Romney’s inability to get votes and the changing of voting demographics, more so than the appeal of Obama and his “forward” campaign slogan. Obama’s record over the past four years, namely the debt crisis and unemployment rate, took a backseat to the inability of the Republicans to put forth a candidate that could appeal to more demographics such as women, Hispanics, and young people in their 20s.
The mistakes made by the Republicans on many occasions throughout the election, such as the public outcry over Romney’s “47 percent” comment and the backlash over his statements about the auto industry, hindered his progress and ultimately cost him the election. In the first presidential debate, which he decisively won, he was the clear front-runner in the race, and he seemed as though he would carry that momentum to the finish line. The final two debates did little to change that status.
It could be true that the events surrounding Hurricane Sandy halted Romney’s momentum as well. When the hurricane hit, he and Paul Ryan virtually disappeared from the public eye. All the attention was focused on the president and the disaster relief effort. Romney did what he could to aid those in need, but the president acting as commander in chief in a time of crisis put him in good graces with many people despite the fact that his campaign was running on a dismal record and the fact that he was either tied or behind Romney in many national polls.
As I said from the beginning, the Republicans picked the worst possible candidate they could in 2012—a man who couldn’t beat John McCain in 2008 and couldn’t earn victory in either his home state of Michigan or the state he governed in Massachusetts. It was believed that Paul Ryan was the glue that held Romney’s campaign together, and it was Ryan who kept the final electoral tally closer than it should have been.
The Republicans would have been better served if they had picked a more viable candidate, one that could clearly identify with conservative principles yet appeal to a multitude of demographics. Romney clearly was the wrong choice. If he had picked Florida Senator Marco Rubio as his running mate, it most likely would have given him a better shot with the Hispanic vote, which is ever increasing.
The candidates better suited to run against Obama chose not to, among them: Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Senator Pat Toomey, Ryan, and Rubio. These candidates would have done a better job at energizing the party enough so that the Republicans could have claimed victory. It is my hope that one of them runs in 2016.
It was not a problem of party platform stances that hurt the Republicans in this election, nor one that will hurt them in the future, but merely the choice of candidate. Romney’s flip-flopping on the issues did not help his cause, and his status as a multi-millionaire turned off many citizens.
Fortunately for the Republicans, they still earned victory in the House.
It will now be Obama’s task to try to persuade the many unhappy Republicans to help improve upon his failed policies that have hurt the economy. His campaign rhetoric of beating down on Romney and demonizing him, along with declaring a vote for “revenge,” will not resonate well with conservative lawmakers.
For the sake of liberty, and for freedom, I hope that the president has a second term that is more successful than the first—one that gets the American economy back on the road to prosperity.