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Barack Obama Makes History: the Wrong Kind

Barack Obama Makes History: the Wrong Kind

Yesterday morning—the morning after—I posted this:

Barack Obama is the first two-term president in at least 100 years to get fewer votes in his reelection than he did the first time out. (FDR did less well in both his third and fourth terms.)

I’d written those words late on election night, too exhausted and beat-up to do any research beyond what I already knew.  But now I’ve done some checking.

As it turns out, Barack Obama is the only two-term President of the United States to get fewer votes in his second term than he did in his first term.

And not by just a handful.  He got nearly 10 million fewer votes in 2012 than in 2008—a 13 percent loss.

That’s a consequential precedent to bear in mind as the president basks in the glory of his victory with lofty pronouncements.

On one hand we have his significant loss of voter support.  On the other are the three million fewer votes for Romney than McCain received.  Both hands together suggest strongly that Americans were voting against Mitt Romney more than they were for Barack Obama.  This is an embarrassing way to make history, at least for most men.

But given Obama’s twin demons of arrogance and prickliness, he won’t be deterred from trying to govern as if he’d increased his majority.  Math doesn’t seem to be his strong suit.


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How on Earth did 3 million fewer Americans turn out to vote against Obama after seeing the consequences of his first election? This makes no sense whatsoever. Are we that apathetic? Or have we hit the tipping point on voting largesse from the public trough?

    Con Ed in reply to Pablo. | November 8, 2012 at 8:37 am

    Obama phones can only buy you so many votes.

    I am more and more convinced that the rich, white Republican doesn’t fly (Romney, McMahon, Fiorina, Whitman,…). It is way too easy to do the class warfare thing. One of my employees, whom I convinced to vote for Romney, said that all of her relatives (she’s Hispanic) asked incredulously, “You are going to vote for the rich guy?”

    There are lots of grassroots, pulled themselves up by their bootlaces, conservatives. The RNC needs to tell the rich folks – nicely – “we appreciate your money but running for office is a losing proposition”.

      Pablo in reply to Con Ed. | November 8, 2012 at 9:01 am

      I can see that in the case of the Kennedys, Rockefellers, Kerry, etc… who have fallen into wealth. But to make business success a bar to office is to insure that people who have experience successfully leading organizations that build things and create prosperity will never lead this country.

      That’s a profoundly bad idea. I liked us better when we admired success and aspired to it.

        Con Ed in reply to Pablo. | November 8, 2012 at 2:33 pm

        I don’t disagree that there is a double standard. With rich white democrats, the class warfare shtick isn’t brought up. Republicans don’t fear wealth but celebrate success.

      davod in reply to Con Ed. | November 8, 2012 at 10:16 am

      I think the numbers speak more to WTF sort of a campaign did Republicans run that they could not remove Obama when he had such a poor showing. Does being unable to turnout your base have anything to do with this picture.

      I hope the Republican strategists or lawyers looked real hard at how may votes were left on the table in each state before giving up. After all. Weren’t we hoping to wean Democrats away from the Obama left wing of the party?

    Catherine in reply to Pablo. | November 8, 2012 at 9:08 am

    Wow, even Obama’s base didn’t all come out to support him because they didn’t believe he had done anything for them!

    The problem for Romney was that not enough people were suffering unemployment and under-employment and that many people are socially liberal. Another problem for him is that he flip flopped on so many issues that voters might not believe anything he says. Also, some people probably didn’t vote for the mormon.

I was doing research yesterday and indeed its amazing that Obama won with 10 million fewer vote (approx) and Romney got about 2 million fewer than McCain.
I have to believe Obama’s internal polling made him aware of the fact early on in the campaign. I have to assume his team didnt miss a 13% drop off in voting. This alone may explain why Obama had to take the course he did…destroy Romney. He had no choice really.
If Romney had been able to flip even 25% of those voters he’d be President Elect Romney.

And thanks Prof J. For the thread. Im already reading silly assertions at some places suggesting Obama was the first president to get over 50% of the polular vote since FDR.

Karen Sacandy | November 8, 2012 at 8:46 am

Looking at the closeness of this race, and knowing how Democrats drag every body, living or dead, they can to the polls, the article by Jack Cashill on today tells me something I should have figured out on my own but didn’t.

He refers to the Democrats’ efforts as “Vote Harvesting.”

“…[T]he reason Obama won the election comes down to two major variables: advertising and vote harvesting.

As to advertising, the Obama campaign had an advantage in that it could say pretty much what it liked with impunity. A distressing percent of the media, local and national, were in the tank for Obama. They were not about to complain.

Harvesting does not get the attention it deserves. The vote harvester’s mission is to gather unthinking collectives of potential voters – nursing home residents, college students, skid-row dwellers – and get them to vote.

Harvesting does not necessarily mean fraud, but it clearly encourages it. Early voting makes harvesting all the more economical. Fewer people on the ground can get more accomplished.

In Florida, Ohio, Nevada, Iowa and North Carolina, more registered Democrats voted early than Republican – in some states, by as much as 50 percent more.

The harvesters seem to have done their best work in southeast Florida. In Miami-Dade County, Obama improved his results by 5 percent over 2008. In Broward, he improved his numbers as well but by less than half of 1 percent.

What makes these numbers suspect, especially the Miami-Dade numbers, is that Romney outperformed McCain’s 2008 numbers in virtually every other Florida county. And in those counties where Romney fell short, it was by a hair.

Interestingly, too, Obama’ numbers fell in every state of the union with one interesting exception – New Jersey. The Sandy photo-op would seem to have paid off. It might have even saved his election.

Obama appears to have won Florida by 46,000 votes. If Romney had done as well as McCain did in Miami-Dade, he would have won the state. This deserves more attention.

Before Republicans decide they have to scrap their conservative agenda to win an election, as too many pundits too instantly recommend, they would do well to tighten voting procedures everywhere.”

The money shot is this: WITH EARLY VOTING, IT TAKES FEWER PEOPLE TO GET MORE VOTERS TO THE POLL. One person with a van can haul more in in 4 weeks, than one person with a van in one day.

I knew there was a reason I didn’t like all this early voting, but couldn’t put my finger on it. Jack Cashill has. We need to work to limit or reduce early voting, period.

    conservativegram in reply to Karen Sacandy. | November 8, 2012 at 10:07 am

    “The money shot is this: WITH EARLY VOTING, IT TAKES FEWER PEOPLE TO GET MORE VOTERS TO THE POLL. One person with a van can haul more in in 4 weeks, than one person with a van in one day.”
    This made me think of an article that concerned me during the elections.
    “Allegedly, volunteer poll workers in the Buckeye state reported seeing “van loads of Ohio residents born in Somalia” being ferried in to vote early. Once at the polls, in lieu of Republican translators and UN poll watchers, the Democrats themselves were providing Somali/Arabic translation. Seems the Obama campaign is getting out the vote by teaching Somali immigrants the ins and outs of the voting process.”

Time to lose all hope? Sarah Palin (what an amazing woman) has a great message. She ends with a Bible verse:

“We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted but not forsaken, struck down, but not destroyed.” – 2 Corinthians 4:8-9.

Reason to hope?

“While the map was difficult for Democrats this year, it’s murderous in 2014.

– 20 Democrats will be up for reelection, compared to 13 Republicans.
– 12 of those 20 Democrats come from either red states (six) or swing states (six).
– Only one of the 13 Republicans comes from a state that isn’t red, and that’s Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), whose seat is basically safe unless she retires.
Top GOP targets are likely to include Democratic Sens. Mark Begich (Alaska), Mark Pryor (Ark.), Mary Landrieu (La.), Max Baucus (Mont.), Tim Johnson (S.D.), Mark Udall (Colo.), Al Franken (Minn.), Jeanne Shaheen (N.H.) and Kay Hagan (N.C.). Five of the nine are first-term senators, and Republicans have already got a strong potential candidate against Johnson, with former governor Mike Rounds launching an exploratory committee last week.)

    PhillyGuy in reply to Con Ed. | November 8, 2012 at 9:38 am

    It’s not hope we need. We need a strong and sophisticated get out the vote organization starting today. We need to get super PACs lined up to defend our candidate when he is unable to use his money. Or we need to select our candidate earlier. Ideally, one of our guys should start on his campaign soon.

    We can’t let the Dems characterize our candidate on their terms.

    Then we can work on messaging as Auguest and September roll around.

One more keep the faith, conservatives, message…

A very much worrying cost of the election is that Obamacare will be fully implemented by 2014, but will it?

Here is a recent post from the Cato Center: Could Oklahoma’s New Lawsuit Strike a Fatal Blow to Obamacare?

Perhaps, we could some legal input from our good professor?

Midwest Rhino | November 8, 2012 at 9:04 am

Ace does a pretty good summary of why Romney lost. If Romney had boldly pushed his message as clearly as in his first debate, he’d probably be president.

Instead of being so cautious and measured, Romney should have followed Obama around to the talk shows and “let it fly”. He had to crack the media “cone of silence”, that couldn’t hear negatives about Obama, or positives about Romney.

It may be that Romney’s religion was a big problem … not because people feared a Mormon, but because he thought he had to remain polite and positive, instead of really tearing into our POTUS for destroying our country. We needed a little more “fire and brimstone”. Team Obama gave us that but with fabrications. Romney only had to present the facts boldly, to put “the fear of the Lord” into people.

    conservativegram in reply to Midwest Rhino. | November 8, 2012 at 10:38 am

    I agree that Romney should have done more t.v. I really believe that was a large part of the problem. Our culture has changed. I witness it everyday with my grandchildren. As much as my generation found it unpresidential for Obama to appear on Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central and The View, he knew what he was doing. There are many things we have to do if we want to survive, but I believe the most important thing we must do is bring back the values that made this country great. I try everyday to instill those values in my grandchildren. Romney’s message was success and leadership. The people just wanted “cool.” Here is a good article that articulates the problem better than I can.

    Uncle Samuel in reply to Midwest Rhino. | November 8, 2012 at 11:17 am

    WHY ROMNEY LOST: The Republicans have almost as little credibility as the Demoncrats.

    Americans are disgusted with the Bush/Boerner league. At least I am. Very. Disgusted.

    After 2010 – Americans expected the Republicans to stop The WILD Spending by Congress. After all, the so-called crisis-crash (really the looting of public funds and public trust) of 2008. We seem to have a crowd of legislators in DC who believe in government of the politician, by the politician and for the politician.

    Moreover, Romney never draws much enthusiasm or many votes.

I’m confused. 10 million fewer votes for Obama, and 3 million fewer votes for Romney — but the election win was supposed to be because of increased turnout?

I’m doubly confused. After four years of Obama, 3 million would-be Republican voters just stayed home? I just find that hard to believe. I’d like to know, for example, whether in West’s former district (Broward County) where my folks voted and the counting machine broke, whether those votes were in fact tallied. And West’s district, just to the north, where he was polling ahead…

Confused and with an uneasy feeling.

    Uncle Samuel in reply to janitor. | November 8, 2012 at 11:24 am

    We may have had our first ‘Putin-esque’ or Russian-style election-in-name-only.

    Obama knows a jillion ways to cheat and lie, jerry-rig and steal an election. As we have seen – laws can be ignored by both sides.

    Typical Obama voters are registered under aka variations of their names in several districts/towns/states. Millions of amnesty aliens voted for him.

    Votes did not get counted because of the machines.
    Votes did not get to soldiers overseas in time.

      janitor in reply to Uncle Samuel. | November 8, 2012 at 5:44 pm

      I heard more. I talked with an attorney poll adviser who worked the entire day at a precinct in Palm Beach. Lots of unregistered voters including seeming foreigners showed up with excuses and were given provisional ballots; she had to run across the room to stop one from feeding the provisional ballot into the machine. Lots of folks who were mentally disabled (some from a home for) showed up; they voted (with “assistance”) — if they are legally incompetent, how are they voting (there is apparently no cross-checking). Then apparently there is this thing in which the election workers had names of registered voters and voting info on computer disks; if someone turned in an absentee ballot the day or two before, there is just no way all those voter disks were updated by 5:30 a.m. when the poll workers got them. And, while she didn’t see this in her precinct, which had both Republican and Democratic poll workers (unknown who was monitoring all the early voting locations), if a poll worker handed someone, say, instead of the “A” and “B” and “C” ballot sheets three “A” sheets (the first one, with the presidential race), there would practicably be no way for anyone to catch this on a current basis — the only way it could be caught would be if someone looked through the actual stored bubble sheets at some later date to see these duplicates.

“On the other are the three million fewer votes for Romney than McCain received.”

Let’s be careful throwing that around. As of yesterday, votes were still being counted.

That runs the risk of becoming an urban myth until all the data is really in.

I want to add a possibility here to the question of why an old, slow, respected but unimaginitive candidate like McCain got more votes in 2008, when Bush derangement syndrome was at its height, than Romney did in 2012, when Obama was a known, and certainly not appreciated by those who voted for McCain … I think Sarah Palin excited people to go out and vote as NONE of the top 4 could this time. I know that Palin is still despised by Establishment Republicans, but people listen to her (in public appearances, rallies), certainly far more than they listen to either Obama and Romney. And, as to the question of whether anyone as polarizing as Palin could ever win?? Obviously we’ve just seen the nice as can be, offend no one, middle of the road candidate lost to possibly the nastiest campaigner and hater of anyone who disagrees with him candidate ever. Every assumption made that required Romney win the nomination was either wrong or not near as important as everyone thought (the proof is in the results and is not any judgment on what Romney could have brought to the Presidency, to the whole of the federal government, just he didn’t win).

Someone needs to invite Justice Roberts to several conservative parties in Washington. Quick!

“Both hands together suggest strongly that Americans were voting against Mitt Romney more than they were for Barack Obama.”

So Romney did worse than McCain, and McCain had the added burden of running against the potential Obama not the demonstrably disastrous one. Brilliant. I guess that’s the RINO version of “progressivism.” Go GOP!

I’ve read about 20 soul-searching reflections from “conservative” pundits in the last day or so. The mood ranges from depressed to sturdily determined to slog on. But oddly I hear very little anger. Very few seem to contemplate that the GOP has nurtured a culture of passivity and pacifism in our war with the Left and that Romney was just one more, the latest and worst, exemplar of this — a candidate who failed to fight the Left or even see the need to define the Left on critical terms of freedom. And no one seems really frustrated or angry about this. This has nothing to do with conservatism and the RINO horror of taking unapologetically conservative positions. You don’t need to be a conservative to identify and challenge the Leftist abuses of our Constitutional integrity and human liberty. The simple sentiment of outrage over the loss and abuse of human liberty is not partisan, and thus is the true pathway to wider appeal for Republicans. Obama and the Left exposed this vulnerable flank throughout and we totally ignored it. Romney even seemed afraid of it. Instead he chose a more mannerly version of “it’s the economy, stupid.” But liberty is our game. Why have we given it up?

Breitbart said, “if you can’t sell freedom, you suck.” We don’t seem to be even trying to sell it anymore.

    Uncle Samuel in reply to raven. | November 8, 2012 at 11:27 am

    Christie praising Obama for nothing (kinda like the Nobel Peace prize) was a bad move. Obama has not done squat for the people of NYC and NJ.

The final tally hardly matters; what is significant about this election is the realization that America has now reached the tipping point. The majority of America voted for welfare and food stamps, rather than jobs and personal responsibility, proving that we are in fact a nation in decline.

    GrumpyOne in reply to IrateNate. | November 8, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    Yep… Free stuff and the acceptance of Chicago style voting nationwide as the new normal indicates that the “tipping point” has been reached.

    A sorry state of affairs indeed.

This is the best analysis of what happened I’ve come across.

We’re way over-analyzing what happened. It’s this: Romney ran a weak and crap campaign. He lost the unlosable.

    Ragspierre in reply to raven. | November 8, 2012 at 10:32 am

    Respectfully, BS.

    I’m reading of lot of superficial nonsense about how Romney LET the Collective set the narrative.

    Horsesh!t. That implies that one can STOP your opposition from attempting to distract.

    Two…at least…observations–

    1. Romney was not the only player here, and WE ALL were going full tilt to clearly define issues. WE FLUCKING DID. The American people had a crystal clear choice.

    2. Among the (very few) voters who decided this election, David Letterman was more a factor than the Heritage Foundation could hope to be.

    For months…FLUCKING MONTHS!…prior to an election, the POTUS was able to essentially avoid the national press, all without a murmur from them. TWO of those months involved Benghazi, which has been essentially embargoed by the Mushroom Media.

    Herman Cain observed last night that Obama ran a popularity campaign, while Romney ran a substance campaign. I would put it that Obama ran a Snookie campaign.

    And Snookie decided this election.

      conservativegram in reply to Ragspierre. | November 8, 2012 at 10:43 am

      I just replied to Midwest Rhino’s comment trying to say the same thing, but I like the way you put it much better. Totally agree with you, Rags.

      The premise of your assertion of “BS” is that the Republican party candidate for president is essentially powerless to drive or affect the process and/or the incumbent’s reactions. That is, to borrow from your other comment, that the fact the supposedly omnipotent collective has been doing this to Republicans forever means they forever will and we can’t influence it.

      I think that’s BS — a deeply ingrained misconception and false self-imprisonment sustained and driven by the liberal culture and abetted by the GOP. In any case, even if true, Romney didn’t even make an effort to test the premise. His campaign was a role-playing repetition of historical norms. He totally ignored both the perils and opportunities of this abnormal age, certainly how to convert the former to the latter was completely lost on him. It was the most un-ingenious, non-innovative and risk-averse campaign I can remember at the worst moment possible for it in American history.

      Did you read Roger Magnusion’s comments:

      “I only know one way to win these arguments: by putting overwhelming intellectual, moral and affective pressure on the other side until my metaphors imprison and prevail. Get the theory and attack and define relentlessly, albeit of course with charm.”

      With the one exception of Paul Ryan’s nomination, Romney ran the campaign Stuart Stevens and the GOP establishment wanted him to run. This, after the lesson of McCain’s loss. With the one exception of the first debate, there was very little attempt by Romney — by inflection or action — to expose Obama for who he was (and notice how Romney essentially retreated from this assertive posture in the final two debates, even in the face of the overwhelming excitement and poll improvement it had generated.)

      I say all this not out of recrimination, but in the hopes Republicans can shock themselves out of their thralldom to defeat both in attitude and result.

      GrumpyOne in reply to Ragspierre. | November 8, 2012 at 1:22 pm


      This country’s population has decided “free stuff” outweighs honest work.

      This country’s population has accepted blatent corruption as the new normal.

      This country’s population has been dumbed down to the point that this is at all possible.

      Gawd he’p us…

This is probably my only post I’ll ever make on the subject.

I didn’t follow the election returns. I turned the tv on at 10:00, saw Obama won, turned it off, and haven’t turned it back on. It wasn’t until yesterday afternoon that I first turned on the computer. I have no desire to see or hear from the political chattering class.

I guess I’m not as bothered with the fact that Obama won as I am with the totality of the election.

West loses, Grayson wins about sums it up.

My thoughts Tuesday night haven’t changes-

I just don’t see how any republican candidate can ever win the Presidency ever again.

(Oh, one more thing–republican turnout less than McCain? Millions fewer votes for Romney? BS. I’ll never believe it. To quote Brit Hume “There’s something wrong here”)

That 10-million not voting for Obama are just waiting for Hillary to announce her intention to run. By 2015 we’ll have Bill, Hill and “O” hittin’ the campaign trail.

What happened? A political narcissistic sociopath leveraged fear and ignorance with a campaign marked by mendacity and malice rather than a mandate for resurgence and reform. Instead of using his high office to articulate a vision for our future, Obama used it as a vehicle for character assassination, replete with unrelenting and destructive distortion, derision, and division.
—Mary Matlin

Blaming Romney of LETTING the Collective do what they do…and have been doing for decades…

is like blaming the soldiers of the US Army (or even MacArthur) for LETTING the Japs take the Philippians.

    Midwest Rhino in reply to Ragspierre. | November 8, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    Mary summed it up, yet Romney strong on the offensive could have overcome that. Obama made up 30 points with the lies, the media, and the money to unions and bundlers … but he was down 25. Romney just had to be bold enough with facts to out Obama. He showed how vulnerable Obama was in debate one. But then he basically stopped.

    Romney was ahead on points in the eighth round, but the judges are not fair, and he had to go for the knockout punches. He didn’t. And he had finally won me over as the right man for the job, except for being too nice. We need an aggressive prosecutor … Susana Martinez … the first female and first Hispanic US president … 2016. Susana … COME ON DOWN!

Here’s a comment I thought cogent:

“So, how did Obama shore up his base?

1. Supported homosexual marriage
2. Taxpayer-funded abortion
3. Bailed out automaker unions
4. 200,000 new federal employees
5. 15,000,000 more folks on food stamps
6. Eliminated work requirement for welfare
7. More folks on welfare than any time in history
8. Loaned $90,000,000,000 to Green Energy companies, many run by large campaign contributers
9. Started campaigning in swing states 18 months ago
Those of you paying attention will note that 2-9 were done using YOUR MONEY.
However, Obama won because too many folks are “one issue” voters. Obama cobbled these strange bedfellows together under one tent – homosexuals, unions, pro-abortion supporters, those-on-the-government-dole, federal employees, etc. These folks don’t care that Obama is bad for the economy, or is dooming our nation to Socialism – so long as he supports their cause. Selfish beyond belief.”

[28] Posted by B. Hunter on 11-7-2012 at 05:14 PM ·