General Election Recap 2012

A POST-ELECTION ANALYSIS 2012

(Excerpts from a Speech to the Montgomery County Women by County Chairman
Dr. Walter D. (Wally) Wilkerson, Jr.)

In 1858 when Abraham Lincoln lost his race for the U. S. Senate in Illinois to Democrat Stephen Douglas, he told his supporters he felt “like the boy that stumped his toe, it hurt too bad to laugh .And he was too big to cry.” The loss of the contest for President left Republicans feeling much the same way. President Obama’s victory signified one important thing. He won his argument with the American people. Brooke Rollins, President of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a conservative think tank, wrote: “What argument did he win? It’s simple: he argued that Washington is a better steward of American life and liberty than, well Americans themselves. It’s a contention that we know to be discredited across time and history, yet it shows its power when an electorate battered by years of economic insecurity and material deprivation makes these choices”. Obama’s attacks on his opponents and the spread of ideas, half-truths, lies or information meant to damage the cause of economic freedom and liberty can only be called propaganda.

This was a very close election, hardly a mandate for the President. Romney won the independent vote by double digit margins in five of the eight swing states, but Obama won four states by just over 400,000 votes, enough to win the electoral votes that sealed his victory. The results were not unlike 2004 when President George Bush won re-election with 50.7% of the vote to Senator John Kerry’s 48.3% of the popular vote. Much to our surprise, this was a small turnout election at the national level. Turnout dropped by 7.9 million votes to a total of 123.5 million compared to a 2008 turnout of 131.5 million. Democrats received 90.1% of their 2008 presidential vote while Republicans received 98.6% of their 2008 vote. Karl Rove reported exit polls showed turnout dropped among white and black Americans by 8.3 million and 1 million respectively, but rose among Latino voters, adding 850,000 votes to Obama’s total when compared to 2008. Those aged 18-29 years were a larger share of the turnout than in 2008, but 176,000 fewer in number. But while Democrats prevailed in the race for president and the U. S. Senate, Republicans retained control of the U. S. House of Representatives.

Obama’s win did not translate into Democrat control of a majority of state governments. Republicans will control 26 state legislatures (3,802 seats) and Democrats 19 state legislatures (3,472 seats). Four states have divided control and one, Nebraska, has a unicameral legislature. 30 states will have Republican Governors. The 2012 Congressional elections were the first to be held in new districts drawn by State Legislatures. Republicans controlled the redistricting process in states with 40% of the seats in the House of Representatives because of gains in 2012, while Democrats controlled it in 10% of the seats, according to the New York Times. Karl Rove in December wrote: It is likely that the GOP will retain and even grow its majority in 2014. Since 1938, the incumbent president’s party has lost an average of 33 house seats and seven U. S. Senate seats”.

State Republican Party Chairman Steve Munisteri proclaimed that “Texas certainly did its part in the presidential election in the Lone Star State. Governor Romney defeated President Obama by nearly 16 percent, 57.20 to 41.36. Every single statewide Republican nominee won their election, including Senator-elect Ted Cruz. In the Texas House, the second-highest number of Republicans ever, 95, were elected in spite of the far-reaching effects of redistricting. The previous record was 99 members in 2010. Republicans were not only able to maintain the record number of officeholders but increased the total by 217, making the grand total of 3,191..… No other state has the overwhelming number of Republican officeholders as Texas does and we remain the only state to have elected nothing but Republican statewide officeholders since 1994”. The Texas Tribune reported on November 15 in a column by Ryan Murphy: “Speculation abounds at the possibility that Texas one day will become a swing state, or even a blue state. But if there is anything to learn from President Obama’s performance, it’s that he wasn’t nearly as strong in the state as in 2008. Texans supported Romney by wider margins than they supported Senator John McCain four years ago”.

The November 21 headline in the Courier newspaper read “COUNTY GOES EVEN REDDER FOR GOP NOV. 6”. The article by Nancy Flake read: “If Republicans Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan only needed to win Montgomery County for the November 6 presidential election, they would have won in a landslide. With 175,419, or 66.10% of Montgomery County’s 265,370 registered voters going to the polls, the Romney/Ryan ticket took 79.15% of the vote”. President Obama received 32,920 votes or 18.97%, a smaller vote than in 2008 when his totals were 36,703 or 23.19%.The 105,044 margin of victory in 2012 was an increase of 21,868 over the 2008 margin. The top six voting precincts percent of voter turnout were: Precincts #72 (84.0%) Bentwater, # 5 (82.9%) Longstreet, #77 (76.6%) April Sound, #46 (75.9%) Benders Landing, #76 (75.6%) Westwood and #34 (75.6%) Carriage Hills. The County GOTV campaign was responsible for completing 20,000 calls before and during the early voting period, distributing 20,000 door hangers during precinct walks and completing 8,000 automated election-day calls. Montgomery County Republicans can still maintain that the County is the most Republican County in the most Republican State in the Nation.

Whenever a party loses a major election contest, an examination of the campaign should be done, but as Karl Rove wrote in the Wall street Journal: “It should be guided by the facts. The media‘s post-election narrative is that Democrats won because of a demographic shift. There is some truth to that but a more accurate description is that Democrats won in a smaller turnout by getting out more of their vote.” Rove noted that Republicans must have a 50-state get-out-the-vote strategy, need to frame economic issues that better resonate with middle-class families, respond better to negative attacks and do much better with Hispanic Americans, those aged 18-29 and women voters. Republicans do not need to jettison their principles because exit polls showed that voters oppose Obamacare and his statist approach to governing and that 41% said they were moderate, 35% conservative and only 25% were liberal. In 2013 the MCRP plans to increase the pool of voters to turn out to vote in 2014 by identifying Republican leaning Independents and to expand its Latino outreach.