Opinion

The Big Picture on Last Night’s Election Results

By Jedediah Bila

When your candidate of choice loses a presidential election, it is imperative to sit down and really think about what the results mean. It’s not easy, and the conclusions you draw may not always be to your liking, but it is a necessary step in understanding the scope of what transpired.

I supported Mitt Romney for President for many reasons–his executive experience, proficiency on economic issues, and leadership skills were just a few. Romney was never my ideal candidate, and I openly admitted that from the start, but he did a solid job of presenting an alternate vision to that of Obama. He performed well in the debates and I was pleasantly surprised by his impressive interaction with voters on the campaign trail.

Regardless, Romney was just defeated by a President who presided over month after month of high unemployment, pumped hundreds of billions of dollars into the economy via taxpayer-funded stimulus that yielded no significant recovery, and added trillions of dollars to the national debt. If you’re not asking yourself big questions about why Barack Obama won this election, you should be.

First off, let’s talk campaigns. President Obama is a fantastic campaigner. He plays to win. However, his campaigns also play dirty. Scare tactics, demagoguery, false narratives–nothing appears to be off the table. The view articulated by many in media is that the American people don’t like negative campaigning, that they are repelled by attack dogs and prefer stand-up candidates with positive messages. I’m not sure I buy that, and Barack Obama’s two presidential election victories support my doubt. The fact is that negative campaigning–as ugly as it may be–often works. Those false narratives stick, and once they do, they are hard to reverse. They can crush a candidate. Recall the ads run by Romney advocates against Newt Gingrich in Florida during the primary season.

Like it or not, Obama’s negative campaigning against Romney was successful.

Secondly, does style matter more than substance? Many of us would hope not, but to ignore the impact of delivery, the impact of one’s ability to resonate with voters, the impact of likability and the “coolness” factor, is to ignore reality. Barack Obama was a charismatic candidate. He knows how to sell his ideas. He knows how to package them in rhetoric that hits home. And yes, for many, he is the guy they would still like to have a beer with at the end of the day. One can argue that these shouldn’t be qualifying characteristics for a president’s re-election–and believe me, I agree–but voters are telling us time and again that these things matter to them. Like it or not, these factors are important. They impact elections, and to ignore them when choosing candidates on the right is a recipe for failure.

Beyond campaigning, there are some serious issues to consider. Is America still a center-right country? I’d like to think so, but would a center-right country elect and re-elect Barack Obama? Would a center-right country re-elect the man who ushered in massive government overreach into the health care system? Would a center-right country welcome an Obama Doctrine that reeks of weakness on the international stage? Would a center-right country embrace class warfare rhetoric and redistribution of wealth? Not in my book.

The questions we should all be asking today are, “What is the state of the modern American electorate? What do the majority of American voters value? What are their priorities?”

As we ponder the answers to those questions, which I suspect we will be doing for some time to come, I must make two final points.

First, GOP presidential candidates must pay attention to the youth in this country. They are the future, are they not? The Left has mastered outreach to young people. Where is the GOP? Are they even trying? Young people do care about their freedoms. They care deeply. Look at Ron Paul’s following. However, the GOP has ignored them for a very long time. The outreach has been minimal and when it exists, it is strategically poor. The messengers are wrong. The messaging is flawed. To continue to ignore the youth in this country is another recipe for long-term failure.

Finally, in light of the GOP’s Senate losses in Indiana and Missouri, I can’t help but ask candidates to think before they speak. If you can’t make a coherent argument on the pro-life issue–or any other issue the left-wing media is hungry to talk about–you shouldn’t be running for office. If you make an outrageous, indefensible statement–I’m looking at you, Todd Akin–take some responsibility and get out of the race. You are responsible for your words, but the rest of the country shouldn’t have to suffer because of them.

Last night’s victory wasn’t just about Barack Obama, just as Romney’s loss wasn’t just about Mitt Romney. The same thing goes for the individual House and Senate candidates. Now is the time to pay attention to the big picture and evaluate not only the priorities of the American electorate, but the template for what can and should constitute good campaigns and good candidates.

 

 

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56 Comments on "The Big Picture on Last Night’s Election Results"

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JaneMP
3 years 9 months ago
I wonder why you didn’t mention the negative side of the Romney campaign–Donald Trump used as a surrogate to representing the birthers; Sununu and his “lazy” comments. Nor did you mention the lies: “I’m not going to add to the defense budget” at the same time he said, “I’m going to raise defense spending, cut taxes, and lower the deficit–I’m not going to tell you how but you have to believe me the numbers add up because I’ve been a business man.” Oh, and what about, “Jeep is pulling out of the US” and “I always supported the rescue of car makers”? Oh, and those tax returns he refused to show–you have to admit that suggests something to hide. Neither side is innocent of this–but you glossed over any problems of the ROmney campaign. As a person who has also experienced loss, I’ve always looked more realistically at the failures… Read more »
Stan
3 years 9 months ago

Jane, you’ve made some good points. Both sides have their flaws, no doubt about it. The problem, however, is that the media distorts the truth, and, as a result, the campaigns become more and more “over the top.” If the media were more honest to report the flaws and lies of BOTH sides, the candidates would be much more honorable and truthful.

Diana Erbio
3 years 9 months ago

You are right to say we must reach out to the youth of this country. They are the future and if they are not being taught about the foundation of our nation and what a free market really is America is in trouble. We must all pay close attention to what is being taught to our children in school and “how” it is being taught.

Randy
3 years 9 months ago
On this subject, how does one reach young people with a positive message when they refuse to become informed about the candidates. Most will always side with the majority no matter what the candidate says or does short of offering some sort of “carrot” which is contrary to conservative thought, ie. encouraging a something for nothing mentality. On the subject of immigration, I have been in farming a good portion of my life and I am intimately involved with the Hispanic community as most of my employees are legal Hispanics from Mexico. They are all honest hard-working people who came here because of the opportunities this country had to offer, but they came, as other immigrants that built this country the right way going through the immigration process. They are as offended as anyone by the influx of illegal immigrants that have come here to get what they can from… Read more »
vesuvius1313
3 years 9 months ago
The biggest problem that I see is many of us don’t trust the Republicans because it is run by too many in the establishment that don’t represent our ideals. If we want to beat the liberals we need to adopt the Tea Party ideals of Constitutionally limited gov’t, balanced budget, and a strong national defense -not an international defense. Every time abortion or religion comes us voters turn away because we don’t want morality dictated by gov’t. I am pro-life but as stated in this column the candidates need to have a better message for their position when it is brought up. I really believe that if we would focus on what all of us have in common except for the far left and religious activist we would build the coalition that Reagan put together for 8 years. If we do talk about religion it needs to be in the… Read more »
Wayne
3 years 9 months ago
THE ELECTION IS OVER WHAT NOW As were many of you, I was very distraught over the election, I had to take a few days to gather my thoughts before commenting. People, who know me, know I am basically an optimist. One of my favorite sayings is “there is an upside and downside to everything”. The election is over and the “citizens?” spoke, now what. We have real challenges ahead. However, if there was ever an election we (conservatives) needed to lose…this was it. Unless Obama makes some huge changes in his spending policies including entitlements this will be the end of the liberal’s agenda and the Democratic Party. America is “EATING OUR SEED CORN”. If you do not understand that term, it means we are consuming our future for short-term gain. It is a sad day when the way for a person to be elected President is to appeal… Read more »
Freedomlovingmomof7
3 years 9 months ago
Thanks for a thought-provoking post. While I concede that Obama won, I am convinced there was massive vote fraud. I campaigned hard for Romney, knocking on thousands of doors with my family, and making thousands of phone calls. We also donated to conservative Republican candidates and attended rallies with record crowds. Here in Loudoun County, VA ( so-called ground zero of the election), we experienced long lines to vote, and saw long lines at other polling places. Volunteers around the area told us they ran out of Republican sample ballots ! The initial results from VA had Romney at 53%, which included votes from the urban, more liberal districts, so we were stunned when Obama won. We got more suspicious when we noticed that he narrowly won EVERY SINGLE swing state. People like Michael Barone and Dick Morris (who have a lot of credibility)thought Romney would win, and the polls… Read more »
Lisa
3 years 9 months ago
As one who knows Mitt Romney on a personal level, I was discouraged to see our nation chose Obama again. Mitt was certainly the right man at the right time with the right skills to turn our country around. JB’s takes on the results are accurate. Two related reasons for the results: 1) Mass Media – Let’s face it, Romney had to run against not only the Obama machine, but the vast majority of the media as well. It was media malpractice at a shameful level. Youth are particularly gullible to style over substance. In college broadcasting classes, I learned how easy it is to manipulate perceptions. 2) Education System – The picture of Obama, his logo and quotations painted on the wall of the Philly school (where polling took place) is a harbinger of the indoctrination of our youth by liberal educators. We have simply not taught children to… Read more »
Susan Anderson
3 years 9 months ago

I wonder if the reason there were less voting for Romney than voted for McCain is because conservatives want real conservatives and wrote in or didn’t even vote. Ron Paul had a huge movement and was ignored. OMG I resisted but I would be so much happier if he was president than Obama… and there is the point. I believe you are right about the narrative. The Democrats actually have blacks believing that they are the ones that ended slavery. How did that happen? It’s so bad that I’ve been told that is my history not theirs???? There is so much work to do but the GOP needs to fundamentally change and start reaching out and getting their message across and change the beliefs of those who believe they are greedy rich people who hate everyone but whites.

Farbar
3 years 9 months ago

Couldn’t have said any of that better myself.

brian j conway
3 years 9 months ago

Great article J. B.

Donny
3 years 9 months ago

I’m gonna divorce my wife & marry you! LOL! But seriously, Most American Republican Women could have putObama on his back to Chicago tour! But would you want to wish that on your Mother? Your Sister? Your Daughter? I would not! A single woman is our best hope. Want to speak to the youth? Speak to young women, the young men will follow. LIFE 101! Thank you for the view point Jedediah!

John
3 years 9 months ago

How can you say “President Obama is a fantastic campaigner”? When, as you note next, he plays dirty and uses
scare tactics, demagoguery, false narratives–nothing appers to be off the table”? This trend will only get worse. Until the GOP figures out how address this and directly confront a biased MSM, little else will likely matter or help.

Stan
3 years 9 months ago

I guess there is a difference between a “fantastic” campaigner and an honest campaigner. It’s the public’s fault for not being able to tell the difference. As for the mainstream media, it’s time for the decent element of Americans to stop subscribing, stop reading, stop listening and stop watching.

Gary
3 years 9 months ago

Those who rob Peter to pay Paul can always count on the support of Paul.

Jay Roth
3 years 9 months ago
Simply put, the game has changed. Social media, technology, a “womb-to-the tomb/Julia” mentality, the “blame-the-rich” attitude for all of the country’s ills (while getting them to foot the bill of the welfare system) have created a New America. This America likes to sit on its collective asses with its hand out saying, “gimmie!” while contributing nothing (kind of like my ex-wife.) This is a disease, and it permeates humanity: it’s called “socialism,” and tends to stick with the host once it’s been contracted. Need proof? Just look at Europe. America was always the “great experiment,” where the caste system was abolished, and people could aspire to higher office or capitalistic success, and truly change the world (JP Morgan, Rockefeller, Disney, Jobs). Meanwhile, the elitist society looked down upon those who were self made; those same elitists went into government, and have worked very hard over the last hundred years or… Read more »
Roger
3 years 9 months ago

I always wanted to live in Europe. Now I don’t even have to move to make that happen.

Jim
3 years 9 months ago
Jedediah, In my observation of youth as a parent and ex-foster parent is that it is not hard for the Democrats to connect with youth, and the reason I see starts in public school. From a early age these kids are inundated with Liberal thought from their teachers. Most teachers are Democrat and they have no problem teaching kids to be party line of Democrats. This indoctrination follows them through college. It is not until they get thrust into real life and have to start paying taxes and working. Not all kids are like this because some parents try their best to defeat this through private or home schooling. As a conservative, it is a uphill battle to connect with the youth, because they see us rich old fuddy-duddies that have no fun and no life. Nothing could be farther from the true, but we have to work hard to… Read more »
Sally McCullers
3 years 9 months ago

I agree. Read Glenn beck’s book COWARDS for an eye opening view of America and the education system.

Bill
3 years 9 months ago
The bottom line is you can’t run against freebies. Why should people devote energy to hard work and perseverance when they are being told the Government will give you everything, and it’s your employers and “the rich” that should be made to pay for it all. Class warfare has been successful. The politics of envy and divisiveness have been successful. The brainwashing of “the rich have special advantages and you can NEVER be one” have been successful. Rugged individualism and American excellence? Outdated concepts that will never fly. We’ve passed the tipping point where those that can have no incentive to and everyone else feels what they have should be taken away and given to us. As unfair as even students would see taking “A”s away from those who earn them as a “B” is good enough and distributing that extra point of GPA to others in the class, that’s… Read more »
Bill
3 years 9 months ago

80% of the non-white vote, 60% of people who make less than $50K a year. Obama has liberal immigration laws and handouts for those making less than $50k a year. Is there any question why he won?

Dave
3 years 9 months ago

Never underestimate the poor choices made by some of the American public. Kim Kardashian is a celebrity and Barack Obama is president. This is not a coincidence.

brian j conway
3 years 9 months ago

Absolutely, profoundly, and inexplicably true. The average American, not just the indoctrinated youth, cares more about who survives another week on Dancing with The Stars than they do about losing their future and their freedom. It is being stolen right from under their feet. They remind me of accounts of the declining Roman Empire when the mobs were placated with bread and circuses while Rome degenerated from a great Republic to a decadent corrupt empire where absolutism replaced freedom and democracy.

Stan
3 years 9 months ago

Yes, it’s not only the indoctrinated youth…I think it was Scott Rasmussen, the pollster, who stated that one demographic which surprisingly did not turn out in great numbers this year was SENIORS! Do seniors really believe that their social security is safe just because they’re over 55? If this economy collapses, nobody is safe.

Roy Lincoln
3 years 9 months ago

This is my number one fear, that the economy is now so fragile and the debt so impossibly high, that the only possible outcome, in the long run, is debt repudiation and economic collapse. I doubt the average American even sees this outcome as remotely possible.

Sally McCullers
3 years 9 months ago

Stan are you sure seniors didn’t show up???? My husband and I sure did. And we voted for Mitt. I saw a lot of seniors with Obama signs. I am always amazed at how many people drink the cool aid in American.

Stan
3 years 9 months ago

Businessinsider.com says that Rasmussen’s polls were wrong because they underestimated the youth vote and overestimated the senior vote. Rasmussen used the 2008 model, and the opposite occurred. Exact percentages were not stated. Perhaps later in the week you can check rasmussenreports.com to find details.

Stan
3 years 9 months ago

Sally, I tried to confirm what I heard, but have not been able to. The statement shocked me, but evidently the overall national percentage of seniors was low this year. I’ll keep trying to confirm.

Al
3 years 9 months ago
A 19 year old female walked into her managers office all excited that she will be getting free birth control and she voted Obama. Her manager replied to her on how much this will really cost America. She walked away not as excited. We have a lot of great kids. My daughter currently is serving and another one knocked on door for Mitt. She was called ” white rich bi…!” Have we just found out that we have become too far left? How do you reach out to people who continue to want free gifts? Look who the Republican party had speaking at their election. Women who came from nothing and worked their way up to be the great leaders they are. No America has voted our values out the door.We have changed. I am concerned for our future. Our education system is not teaching who we are and why… Read more »
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