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The Voters Who Stayed Home (The Key to Understanding the Results of the 2012 Elections)
National Review ^ | 11/10/2012 | Andrew McCarthy

Posted on 11/10/2012 5:13:59 AM PST by SeekAndFind

The key to understanding the 2012 election is simple: A huge slice of the electorate stayed home.

The punditocracy — which is more of the ruling class than an eye on the ruling class — has naturally decided that this is because Republicans are not enough like Democrats: They need to play more identity politics (in particular, adopt the Left’s embrace of illegal immigration) in order to be viable. But the story is not about who voted; it is about who didn’t vote. In truth, millions of Americans have decided that Republicans are not a viable alternative because they are already too much like Democrats. They are Washington. With no hope that a Romney administration or more Republicans in Congress would change this sad state of affairs, these voters shrugged their shoulders and became non-voters.

“This is the most important election of our lifetime.” That was the ubiquitous rally cry of Republican leaders. The country yawned. About 11 million fewer Americans voted for the two major-party candidates in 2012 — 119 million, down from 130 million in 2008. In fact, even though our population has steadily increased in the last eight years (adding 16 million to the 2004 estimate of 293 million Americans), about 2 million fewer Americans pulled the lever for Obama and Romney than for George W. Bush and John Kerry.

That is staggering. And, as if to ensure that conservatives continue making the same mistakes that have given us four more years of ruinous debt, economic stagnation, unsustainable dependency, Islamist empowerment, and a crippling transfer of sovereignty to global tribunals, Tuesday’s post-mortems fixate on the unremarkable fact that reliable Democratic constituencies broke overwhelmingly for Democrats. Again, to focus on the vote is to miss the far more consequential non-vote. The millions who stayed home relative to the 2008 vote equal the population of Ohio — the decisive state. If just a sliver of them had come out for Romney, do you suppose the media would be fretting about the Democrats’ growing disconnect with white people?

Obama lost an incredible 9 million voters from his 2008 haul. If told on Monday that fully 13 percent of the president’s support would vanish, the GOP establishment would have stocked up on champagne and confetti.

To be sure, some of the Obama slide is attributable to “super-storm” Sandy. Its chaotic aftermath reduced turnout in a couple of big blue states: New York, where about 6 million people voted, and New Jersey, where 3.5 million did. That is down from 2008 by 15 and 12 percent, respectively. Yet, given that these solidly Obama states were not in play, and that — thanks to Chris Christie’s exuberance — our hyper-partisan president was made to look like a bipartisan healer, Sandy has to be considered a big net plus on Obama’s ledger.

There also appears to have been some slippage in the youth vote, down 3 percent from 2008 levels — 49 percent participation, down from 52 percent. But even with this dip, the under-30 crowd was a boon for the president. Thanks to the steep drop in overall voter participation, the youth vote actually increased as a percentage of the electorate — 19 percent, up from 18 percent. Indeed, if there is any silver lining for conservatives here, it’s that Obama was hurt more by the decrease in his level of support from this demographic — down six points from the 66 percent he claimed in 2008 — than by the marginal drop in total youth participation. It seems to be dawning on at least some young adults that Obamaville is a bleak place to build a future.

Put aside the fact that, as the election played out, Sandy was a critical boost for the president. Let’s pretend that it was just a vote drain — one that explains at least some of the slight drop in young voters. What did it really cost Obama? Maybe a million votes? It doesn’t come close to accounting for the cratering of his support. Even if he had lost only 8 million votes, that would still have been 11 percent of his 2008 vote haul gone poof. Romney should have won going away.

Yet, he did not. Somehow, Romney managed to pull nearly 2 million fewer votes than John McCain, one of the weakest Republican nominees ever, and one who ran in a cycle when the party had sunk to historic depths of unpopularity. How to explain that?

The brute fact is: There are many people in the country who believe it makes no difference which party wins these elections. Obama Democrats are the hard Left, but Washington’s Republican establishment is progressive, not conservative. This has solidified statism as the bipartisan mainstream. Republicans may want to run Leviathan — many are actually perfectly happy in the minority — but they have no real interest in dismantling Leviathan. They are simply not about transferring power out of Washington, not in a material way.

As the 2012 campaign elucidated, the GOP wants to be seen as the party of preserving the unsustainable welfare state. When it comes to defense spending, they are just as irresponsible as Democrats in eschewing adult choices. Yes, Democrats are reckless in refusing to acknowledge the suicidal costs of their cradle-to-grave nanny state, but the Republican campaign called for enlarging a military our current spending on which dwarfs the combined defense budgets of the next several highest-spending nations. When was the last time you heard a Republican explain what departments and entitlements he’d slash to pay for that? In fact, when did the GOP last explain how a country that is in a $16 trillion debt hole could afford to enlarge anything besides its loan payments?

Our bipartisan ruling class is obtuse when it comes to the cliff we’re falling off — and I don’t mean January’s so-called “Taxmageddon,” which is a day at the beach compared to what’s coming.

As ZeroHedge points out, we now pay out $250 billion more on mandatory obligations (i.e., just entitlements and interest on the debt) than we collect in taxes. Understand, that’s an annual deficit of a quarter trillion dollars before one thin dime is spent on the exorbitant $1.3 trillion discretionary budget — a little over half of which is defense spending, and the rest the limitless array of tasks that Republicans, like Democrats, have decided the states and the people cannot handle without Washington overlords.

What happens, moreover, when we have a truly egregious Washington scandal, like the terrorist murder of Americans in Benghazi? What do Republicans do? The party’s nominee decides the issue is not worth engaging on — cutting the legs out from under Americans who see Benghazi as a debacle worse than Watergate, as the logical end of the Beltway’s pro-Islamist delirium. In the void, the party establishment proceeds to delegate its response to John McCain and Lindsey Graham: the self-styled foreign-policy gurus who urged Obama to entangle us with Benghazi’s jihadists in the first place, and who are now pushing for a repeat performance in Syria — a new adventure in Islamist empowerment at a time when most Americans have decided Iraq was a catastrophe and Afghanistan is a death trap where our straitjacketed troops are regularly shot by the ingrates they’ve been sent to help.

Republicans talk about limited central government, but they do not believe in it — or, if they do, they lack confidence that they can explain its benefits compellingly. They’ve bought the Democrats’ core conceit that the modern world is just too complicated for ordinary people to make their way without bureaucratic instruction. They look at a money-hemorrhaging disaster like Medicare, whose unsustainability is precisely caused by the intrusion of government, and they say, “Let’s preserve it — in fact, let’s make its preservation the centerpiece of our campaign.”

The calculation is straightforward: Republicans lack the courage to argue from conviction that health care would work better without federal mandates and control — that safety nets are best designed by the states, the people, and local conditions, not Washington diktat. In their paralysis, we are left with a system that will soon implode, a system that will not provide care for the people being coerced to pay in. Most everybody knows this is so, yet Republicans find themselves too cowed or too content to advocate dramatic change when only dramatic change will save us. They look at education, the mortgage crisis, and a thousand other things the same way — intimidated by the press, unable to articulate the case that Washington makes things worse.

Truth be told, most of today’s GOP does not believe Washington makes things worse. Republicans think the federal government — by confiscating, borrowing, and printing money — is the answer to every problem, rather than the source of most. That is why those running the party today, when they ran Washington during the Bush years, orchestrated an expansion of government size, scope, and spending that would still boggle the mind had Obama not come along. (See Jonah Goldberg’s jaw-dropping tally from early 2004 — long before we knew their final debt tab would come to nearly $5 trillion.) No matter what they say in campaigns, today’s Republicans are champions of massive, centralized government. They just think it needs to be run smarter — as if the problem were not human nature and the nature of government, but just that we haven’t quite gotten the org-chart right yet.

That is not materially different from what the Democrats believe. It’s certainly not an alternative. For Americans who think elections can make a real difference, Tuesday pitted proud progressives against reticent progressives; slightly more preferred the true-believers. For Americans who don’t see much daylight between the two parties — one led by the president who keeps spending money we don’t have and the other by congressional Republicans who keep writing the checks and extending the credit line — voting wasn’t worth the effort.

Those 9 million Americans need a new choice. We all do.

— Andrew C. McCarthy is a senior fellow at the National Review Institute and the executive director of the Philadelphia Freedom Center. He is the author, most recently, of Spring Fever: The Illusion of Islamic Democracy, which was published by Encounter Books.

TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Front Page News; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: 2012; elections; idiotsdidntvote4mitt; voters
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To: what's up
Dole and the GOP gave you 8 years of Clinton.

People didn't want your candidate. What part of that is difficult to understand.


41 posted on 11/10/2012 5:54:52 AM PST by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
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To: JRandomFreeper
You just keep believing your heirs will be peachy keen.

The face of America has forever changed in the past four years. The next four years will just seal the deal.

42 posted on 11/10/2012 5:56:21 AM PST by World'sGoneInsane
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To: Timber Rattler

New tag line. It is why this was the last election for which I will ever pull the lever for the GOP.

43 posted on 11/10/2012 5:57:15 AM PST by Sirius Lee (Top Republicans, from Mitt Romney Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie, are said to be concerned she will)
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To: driftless2
My response is a pox on the people i.e. deluded fools who stayed home

Blame the voter because the candidate was weak? That's a logical thing to do... I suppose, for some values of logic.

Maybe, just maybe, running a conservative next time might work.


44 posted on 11/10/2012 5:58:04 AM PST by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
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To: JRandomFreeper
If the GOP wants my vote, it needs to run a conservative nominee.

...And this is where the STUPID PARTY are contentiously arrogant prix. They have solidly lost THREE of the last 4 elections. They didn't win with BUSH, he was selected. Bush beat Kerry because things were going well.

Look at the FACTS Dole, McCain, and Romney, all RINO losers, but yet republicans do not want to look at the concrete reality. I have denounced my party affiliation and as far as I'm concerned "conservatives" need to coalesce and just leave...The current GOPe diss us any way!!!

45 posted on 11/10/2012 5:58:17 AM PST by sirchtruth (Freedom is not free.)
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To: dforest

Let’s face it. They have bamboozled us. They pick our candidates in open primaries. (Actually, I was happy Romney survived that, and although he was not my first choice I vigorously supported him.) They control the educational system that turns out kids who care more about a “rock star” president and their “rights” to paid birth control than about our decency and survival as a nation. They control the majority of the media. They control many of our electoral machines. There’s no end.

I’m sorry, but a time has to come when we quit pointing fingers and take this country back. That means we have to quit complaining and take back our kids’ educational system. We need to get more of our own media. FOX and talk radio is a good start. We need to challenge every suspicious vote, Allen West style. And damn the torpedos, we have to bring God front and center into our worldview, and use whatever religious freedom we still have in this country to influence it for the good.

46 posted on 11/10/2012 5:58:25 AM PST by keats5 (Not all of us are hypnotized.)
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To: SeekAndFind
I don't that had any bearing [other than speculation]on the outcome of the election.

What I do believe is that the Democrats have found a way to steal any election they desire. And that is through early voting, people registering to vote under multiple names and giving multiple addresses, absentee ballots, and voting by mail. And I have no doubt that there are many more ways. This does away with the need for obama to cancel other elections or to outlaw political parties. Those who oppose him will just be frauded out. To illustrate: The Republican Party will be reduced by the above methods to token numbers and they will support, either overtly or covertly, obama's agenda.

They got obama in the White House and got rid of Allen West and some more of obama's more vocal opponents this time. Next election they will get rid of more.

47 posted on 11/10/2012 6:00:44 AM PST by sport
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To: SeekAndFind

Millions of people voted against Obama by staying home. Because they didn’t really believe in Romney either, they just didn’t vote. If there had been a Conservative Party candidate for them to vote for they would have gone to the polls. Obama would have still won, but the reason why would have been painfully obvious to all these so called experts. Conservatives want your votes to be valued, sought after, and actually counted? Form a new party.

48 posted on 11/10/2012 6:02:08 AM PST by csmusaret (I will give Obama credit for one thing- he is living proof that familiarity breeds contempt.)
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To: muawiyah

Not accounting for facts is a problem. You are right.

I suspect that what I am going to start calling an Intelligent Red Meat Conservatism message may win, and may win for the reasons set forth in this article.

But to say that with any precision, we have to have FACTS. We need to know, scientifically, just WHY those who stayed home stayed home. We need to know just WHY those who voted for McCain (some 2 plus million) didn’t bother to vote for Romney.

I have my suspicions, as we all do. But I don’t know yet. We need that answer.

49 posted on 11/10/2012 6:02:37 AM PST by ConservativeDude
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To: EQAndyBuzz

I disagree that Rubio was the answer. Rubio wasn’t ready, just as Obama wasn’t ready. Putting inexperienced people into demanding jobs due to their racial or ethnic profile is not the answer. Experience and perspective, as well as wisdom, is required for senior leadership roles.

It may be Rubio took himself out of the running. If he was smart he knew he would benefit from additional seasoning another four years in the Senate would provide. He also knew the election would be close and if Romney lost with him on the ticket he might be finished because his image would be tarnished. No doubt the press would have given him the Palin treatment. Instead of taking the number 2 slot now, he likely decided it would be better to wait it out and run for the #1 position in 2016 or 2020.

Romney appears to have received 2 million votes less than McCain. McCain was a lousy candidate. If Romney received 2 million fewer votes in this economy he must have been an even worse candidate.

Consider the following:
1) The Tea Party was the most powerful force in American politics in 2010. Yet Romney made no effort to harness the energy of the Tea Party. We saw very little of the Tea Party in 2012.
2) Romney was the standard bearer of the conservative party but his record showed he was not a conservative. It may be many decided he wasn’t much different than Obama and therefore stayed at home.
3) His ground game collapsed on election day (the computer system). The Dems had an outstanding ground game and technology to get the vote out.
4) Romney made the choice to play it safe after winning the first debate. Obama decided to fight aggressively. Safe loses.
5) The exit polls show the hurricane had a very strong influence on the election in Obama’s favor.
6) The natural inclination of the people is to vote to retain the current occupant of the White House. No doubt many voters were also reluctant to vote against the historical black president. Incumbency is a strong factor, particularly when the opponent is not running aggressively.
7) Being a minority candidate does not automatically translate to winning elections. Look at Allen West this year and Mia Love. If voters are looking for minority Republicans they should have won in landslides.
8) The people elected a Republican House majority in 2010. That conservative House majority was expected to fight for more responsible fiscal policy. Instead Boehner chose to play a passive game and acquiesced to trillion dollar annual deficits. After seeing the Republicans capture the House and then fail to use their power to slow down the spending spree, why would you think a moderate to left Republican President would change the game?
9) People vote for the top of the ticket not the bottom. If it was about the bottom of the ticket Obama should have lost due to Biden’s behavior. If Rubio had been Romney’s VP, the media would have labeled him an inexperienced “token” and convinced Hispanics it would only be meaningful if he was at the top of the ticket.

Like it or not race did play a factor in this election. I believe if Romney had been running against a President Biden, President Hillary Clinton, President John Kerry or President Al Gore, under the same economic conditions, he would have won.

50 posted on 11/10/2012 6:02:37 AM PST by Soul of the South
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To: mouse1

What they did was insure that we will never win at the ballot box again.

After 4 more years of Obama, a conservative is not ever going to win again.

The country will be moved farther left to the point of no return. Amnesty will be granted for sure now, and it will guarantee Dems votes to the point they won’t even have to cheat anymore.

The GOP will go on win or not. It is the good people who showed up to try and save the ballot box who will suffer.

They are too dense to see that now the GOP WILL move farther left. A third party would take many years for a following. Likely they will not get the die hard Romney supporters. So how is that winning?

They have more parties in European countries that never win.

That is the fate.

I am sick of this.

51 posted on 11/10/2012 6:04:49 AM PST by dforest
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To: JRandomFreeper
First of all the election is I'm not talking to you as if I want you to vote for my candidate. Do you understand that?

My attitude had nothing to do with you staying home. That was your own folly.

Here is how I know you are a fool. You tell me to change my attitude and actions or keep losing. JRANDOMFREEPER -- The country is already lost. The consequences of your no vote have been reaped. It is all going to burn and your stupidity was the match. The only thing I can do now is prepare for the inevitable.

52 posted on 11/10/2012 6:06:29 AM PST by carton253
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To: Ken H

Is that true? Millions uncounted? Dang, that seems a lot.

But you are right. We have to match apples to apples, final total votes of McCain to final votes to Romney and start there.

53 posted on 11/10/2012 6:06:36 AM PST by ConservativeDude
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To: rbg81

If they are equally disgusted with both parties, and think the parties are the same, they are not “good hard working” people.

They are lazy idiotic dolts.

54 posted on 11/10/2012 6:07:33 AM PST by C. Edmund Wright ("WTF?: How Karl Rove and the Consultant Class Have Destroyed America")
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To: Soul of the South
Romney appears to have received 2 million votes less than McCain. McCain was a lousy candidate. If Romney received 2 million fewer votes in this economy he must have been an even worse candidate.

If I'm reading the numbers right, Romney's going to exceed McCain's 2008 total and approach Bush's 2004 total. See my post #40.

55 posted on 11/10/2012 6:08:16 AM PST by Ken H
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To: snarkytart
We have our share of Romney haters here on FR, but my guess is that number nationally isn't that large, given the obvious and stark contrast between 4 more years of Obie, vs. Romney. It befuddles how these two candidates could appear as two sides of the same coin.

Regardless, something kept 'em home. Some of the above, some afraid of Mormonism, some GOTV failures, some voter fraud, and media bias for sure. .

It's looking like Mitt's pulled punches re: Benghazi in the later debates was a serious mistake, as it might have convinced many that Mitt has cajones, and forced the media to make it an issue in the final month.

Clearly, the electorate has no clue how much debt 15 trillion is. I'm toying with Al Ahlert's idea that Republicans vote present in the upcoming year, ceding all responsibility for things to come to Obie and the Dems. It's not a pre-election tactic, but now after, we might as well. If we protest and lose, we'll be charged with obstruction. Call their bluff. If Dems can't shoulder blame on us, they'll be less crazy. Similarly, supporting blanket amnesty with one proviso-- no voting rights for 25 years--would dampen, probably kill-- Dems support.

Republican leadership has failed miserably, so it's time for a drastic change. 3rd party ? Rand Paul and Sarah Palin keeping popping into my mind.

56 posted on 11/10/2012 6:09:31 AM PST by chiller (Sky is the limit with max T-Partiers in the House and Senate to stifle the RINOs)
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To: carton253
I'm in Texas, son. Not Ohio. My vote, or lack of it did nothing but get Cruz into the senate.

Quit berating people that don't vote like you want them to, or lose their vote.

How hard is that? Call me stupid? I'm not voting for your guy. That's the way that works.

You are the one name-calling and angry.

Others of us are trying to get conservatives elected.


57 posted on 11/10/2012 6:11:04 AM PST by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
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To: dforest

No, the takers won’t multiply in 4 years- that’s because there will be no more money for them in short time.

THey have run out their use for Hussein. He doesn’t need to give them a thing. Watch how he ingnores them like they were a bunch of Staten Islanders without power, water, heat & shelter.

The media will follow BO and ignore them as well. BO will eventually ignore the media and shut them down if they dare to report on him. It doesn’t go both ways for him.

BO is the only taker that matters. There will be much more taking over the next four years, months, really, is all it’s going to be for him.

58 posted on 11/10/2012 6:12:59 AM PST by stanne
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To: dforest

I am sick of this.

Me too. I am so angry and sad. I cant believe we let our Country go down like this.

59 posted on 11/10/2012 6:13:23 AM PST by mouse1
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To: C. Edmund Wright
They are lazy idiotic dolts.

Because with a sales line like that... you just can't miss.

What you are doing hasn't worked. Maybe try not calling people that don't vote for your candidate idiots... crazy as that sounds...


60 posted on 11/10/2012 6:13:52 AM PST by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
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