Obama didn't win the election, Mitt Romney just lost
With the election over and Obama coming out the victor, many analysts are looking back to see what can be learned from this presidential race. Political affiliations aside, I personally saw the election leaning toward the GOP candidate. The results of the election are less of Obama winning and more the Romney campaign doing everything wrong.
Obama entered the campaigning season in conditions that would be bad for any incumbent president. The unemployment rate was still high, economic growth was positive but sluggish, the country was running a deficit, gas prices were on the rise, and tensions were rising in the Middle East. The Obama campaign also had its share of flubs. Things like ads attacking Romney over Big Bird and a poor first debate performance did not help the president. So how did Obama still manage to have a commanding electoral victory over Romney? As it turns out, whenever the opportunity made itself available, Mitt Romney shot himself in the foot.
The first mistake was how Romney presented himself in the primaries. He took a much more hard line conservative stance on things like health care, taxes, and foreign policy. While he did need to appeal to a more conservative audience, it hurt him in the general election because he succumbed to 'flip flopping' in a matter of months. It would have been better to maintain a moderate position in the primaries and hope that the GOP would realize the other supposed frontrunners were not viable candidates to beat Obama. This would have given him some consistency going into the presidential election.
His next mistake was his VP choice. From a strategic standout, Paul Ryan was the wrong choice. Despite his financial wizardry, Ryan was a staunch conservative that did not bring moderation to the table. He excited the portion of the electorate that was going to vote for Romney anyways. A smarter choice, in my opinion, would have been Marco Rubio. A more moderate conservative, Rubio maintains the youth appeal of Ryan and brings appeal to the Latino population that could've made a difference in a race where Obama got 70 percent of the Latino vote.
Then there were the collections of other gaffes that just continued to hurt him. Short of bringing the TSA to his private fundraisers, there wasn't much he could have done about his 47 percent comment being recorded. However, his response to the backlash from it was weak and unconvincing to most people. In the debates, despite unanimously being declared the winner of the first one, he made some key errors. One was his insinuation that being raised by a single mother correlates to gang violence. But perhaps his biggest facepalm was during the town hall debate regarding a question about Benghazi. A national scandal and major foreign policy blemish for the president. Romney had the doors wide open to call out and criticize the president for his handling of the situation. Instead, Romney played a game of semantics, got called out by Candy Crowley in front of the town hall and the rest of America, and essentially made a fool of himself rather than Obama.
Of course it wasn't always Romney shooting his own foot during the campaign. He, unfortunately, had some help. When you are running as a Republican, if other people that also associate themselves as Republicans make ridiculous blunders, it doesn't bode well for you in the eyes of the general public. When conservatives like Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock make inflammatory comments regarding rape, it doesn't help your appeal to women. When Donald Trump goes on rants and makes a fool of himself, he isn't someone you want giving you an endorsement.
When it comes down to it, Obama didn't defeat Romney. Romney defeated Romney. The Democratic campaign was there to hit him every time he stepped on another political land mine. Romney's campaign showed that the GOP needs to take a look at itself and realize that the moderate base needs a stronger voice; they can't be so divisive within their own party and associate themselves with individuals that do nothing but hurt the party. As yesterday proved, it's nearly impossible to beat an incumbent president when you go down the campaign trail arguing with each other and stumbling every step of the way.
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