Mitt Romney is said to have been shell-shocked by his defeat. Paul Ryan was shocked. A member of Romney’s team said that no one on that team expected Romney to lose the election. Many Republicans expected not only a victory by Romney but even a landslide victory. For Romney and his team it seems to have been a foregone conclusion they would win. Romney apparently had an acceptance speech prepared but not a speech in case he lost. Romney and his supporters were universally stunned by the loss. Karl Rove and others were in denial even at the very last moment as if they just could not believe what was happening. If ever there was a case of blind faith overcoming reality this would seem to be it.
How could they possibly have not been prepared to lose? Even I knew they would almost certainly lose. I said repeatedly that as they would not get the Black vote, the Latino vote, the women’s vote, the youth vote, the Jewish vote, and the elderly vote I did not see how they could possibly win. It was hard to see who would vote for them other than less educated White men who could not have been enough for them to win. I guess I might have been wrong about the elderly, but it was obvious the polls could not be reflecting reality, certainly their own polls seem to have been influenced by their own biases. So even I, an absolute nobody, living in a remote region of the country, with no access to anything but the daily news, knew they would probably lose. It is like, as some have suggested, they were living in an alternative reality, a fantasy world completely divorced from reality. This goes far beyond their just being wrong, they were so wrong it can only be ascribed to their blind faith, their living in their own little wonderland, a bubble of irrationality so profound as to blind them to the facts on the ground. Being so used to the privileges of wealth, with the sense of entitlement that accompanies that condition, it simply never occurred to them they would not get their way as they always had. Thus it was a comeuppance much deserved. I think their smug belief that Obama, being Black, would prove to be incompetent (to say nothing of being lazy, foreign, un-American, and etc.) also had something to do with it.
The Republican cave-man attitude towards women also doomed them to defeat. Their medieval beliefs about abortion, contraception, and women’s health should have been recognized as obvious handicaps. It was well known women would importantly favor Obama. I am surprised they got as many female votes as they did. As women make up more than 50% of voters, it is difficult to understand how they could not have anticipated what was about to happen to them. Similarly, they apparently also did not realize that young people would favor Obama by such a large margin. They simply do not understand that the younger generation does not share their racist, homophobic, misogynistic world view.
It is also not at all clear to me how they could have believed they could so blatantly lie their way to the Presidency. Romney was exposed as a liar from the very beginning, and even after his most obvious lies were exposed he just went on telling and broadcasting the same lies over and over. This demonstrated a genuine contempt for the voters, just as their false claims about Obama revealed their racist contempt for him as a candidate. Their culturally prescribed beliefs about the inferiority of Blacks (and Latinos and Asians as well) led them to grossly underestimate Obama and to believe he would be easy to overcome. I believe they really thought that just being White would be enough to carry them to the Presidency. It is impossible not to note that most of Romney’s support came from the Southern states that seem to have never recovered from their defeat in the Civil War.
Hypocrisy, too, had much to do with their resounding defeat. They kept repeating over and over how Obama had failed to create jobs when it was common knowledge it was they, themselves, who had blocked his every attempt to create jobs. This was the most hypocritical performance by a political party I have ever seen and they almost got away with it. It was, of course, part of their plan from the beginning when McConnell announced it was their number one goal to make Obama a one term President.
Their hilarious attempts now to explain their loss reveal the fact they are still as divorced from reality as ever, none of their explanations speak to any of the above problems. It was, they say, the hurricane’s fault, it was Chris Christie’s fault, it was because Romney was not conservative enough, it was because he was too conservative, it was because Obama suppressed the vote, because he made too many gaffes, it was because of the biases of the fact-checkers, and blah, blah, blah. Now they realize they should have tried to capture more of the Latino vote, become a more appealing party to everyone, and so on. This will be impossible probably for a very long time if not forever, and certainly not until the current generation of older White voters are replaced by their far more liberal children and their ultra conservative platform becomes more reasonable.
The mistakes are all there waiting to be made.
Chessmaster Savielly Grigorievitcyh Tartakower