The Machine Beat the Manager
The numbers beat the numbers guy.

President Obama waves to supporters following his victory speech, November 7, 2012.


John Fund

The battle for Hispanic voters saw Romney and Republicans routed. John McCain won only 31 percent of Hispanics in 2008 — down from George W. Bush’s high-water mark of 43 percent in 2004. Mitt Romney won only 27 percent this election, and Hispanics were a tenth of the electorate.

Romney did just as badly with Asian voters, who were 3 percent of all voters. As recently as 1996, Bob Dole won a majority of Asian voters, John McCain still won 35 percent in 2008. But this year, Mitt Romney picked up only 26 percent of Asian-Americans. Republican politicians who have reached out to Hispanics and Asians successfully should be recruited to teach seminars on just how their approach worked for them. Topping that list would be Representative Ed Royce of California, former congressman Tom Davis of Virginia, and Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey.

Joe Trippi, who was the manager of Howard Dean’s 2004 campaign, says he realized on Monday afternoon that Romney had lost the election. He was reading Scott Rasmussen’s final tracking poll, which showed Obama and Romney essentially tied. But in a footnote, Rasmussen warned that only 67 percent of voters who had cast ballots already were white. He said that meant Romney would have to have an electorate on Election Day that was 77 percent white — a demographic bridge too far.

On top of all of the errors and missed opportunities, Republicans were also the victims of simple bad luck: an October surprise in the form of Hurricane Sandy. As Tom Bevan and Carl Cannon of Real Clear Politics note, Sandy “temporarily stopped the campaign in its tracks, and any residual momentum Romney still had, while affording Obama the opportunity of acting like a president, which he did effectively, at a time the electorate realized it was sick and tired of attack ads and empty rhetoric.”

On Election Day, an astounding 41 percent of people answering the CBS exit poll said the hurricane was an important factor in their vote. A full 15 percent said it was the most important factor. That explains why late deciders broke for the incumbent president, when traditionally they have gone to the challenger.

Some on the left freely acknowledged Sandy’s last-minute assist. MSNBC’s Chris Matthews went so far as to say on Election Night that he was glad the storm hit because it provided a boost for Obama’s reelection. “I’m so glad we had that storm last week because I think the storm was one of those things,” he blurted out. “No, politically I should say, not in terms of hurting people. The storm brought in possibilities for good politics,” he rushed to say after his MSNBC colleagues stared at him.

I’m sure the victims of Sandy will be pleased to know their sacrifices are appreciated on the left because they will bring in “good politics.” After all, they helped return to power the party that proclaims itself to be compassionate and caring. The disaster-recovery loan they may get isn’t a real substitute for a full-time job, but in the Age of Obama you just have to be grateful for government’ s small favors.

— John Fund is national-affairs columnist for NRO and a co-author of the newly released Who’s Counting? How Fraudsters and Bureaucrats Put Your Vote at Risk (Encounter Books).