This CBS News report about the last day of the Romney campaign is full of interesting little bits. Here's a good part, from right after Romney learned he'd lost Ohio:
"He was shellshocked," one adviser said of Romney.
Romney and his campaign had gone into the evening confident they had a good path to victory, for emotional and intellectual reasons. The huge and enthusiastic crowds in swing state after swing state in recent weeks - not only for Romney but also for Paul Ryan - bolstered what they believed intellectually: that Obama would not get the kind of turnout he had in 2008.
They thought intensity and enthusiasm were on their side this time - poll after poll showed Republicans were more motivated to vote than Democrats - and that would translate into votes for Romney.
We're already getting a lot of information about what the inside of the Romney campaign looked like, and it's not pretty. The only thing this campaign seemed to do well was raise money—not shocking, considering Romney's pedigree—but they appeared to have no idea about what it takes to realistically win an election. And you can bet that angry former Romney insiders will start squealing to the press immediately, because the Romney campaign treated them pretty much the same way Bain Capital treated employees of companies they leveraged:
From the moment Mitt Romney stepped off stage Tuesday night, having just delivered a brief concession speech he wrote only that evening, the massive infrastructure surrounding his campaign quickly began to disassemble itself.
Aides taking cabs home late that night got rude awakenings when they found the credit cards linked to the campaign no longer worked.
"Fiscally conservative," sighed one aide the next day.
I have a feeling that the more we learn about this campaign, the more shocked we're going to be that Romney even came as close as he did.
The Governor of Colorado, who opposed his state's marijuana legalization measure, plans to get on the phone with the Justice Department today and has been cautioning his state's citizens not to "break out the Cheetos or gold fish too quickly."
Washington Governor Chris Gregoire? She's a bit more relaxed about the whole thing.
Gregoire’s staff, along with the state attorney general and the Liquor Control Board, is instead planning to meet internally first regarding Initiative 502, said her spokesman, Cory Curtis. “We obviously have to have the conversation” with the Justice Department, said Curtis. “There’s this cloud hanging over it, no pun intended..."
Curtis said contact with the Justice Department will likely begin through the state attorney general and the Liquor Control Board, which is the lead agency in setting up I-502′s state-licensed marijuana stores. AG spokeswoman Janelle Guthrie said the agencies have not met to game-plan for I-502.
This is yet another realm in which the saying is true: elections have consequences. Imagine how different this would be going here in Washington State if we had a Governor Elect Rob McKenna and an Attorney General Elect Reagan Dunn.
JoeMyGod has been rounding up reactions to Tuesday elections from rightwing ranters, pundits, and bigots. Enjoy:
Lots more Sadz to enjoy at over at JoeMyGod.
If you're hoping to get gay married in December there's a web site you can look at, and there's also this:
The Recorder’s Office will open for extended hours on Thursday, Dec. 6, as well as Friday, Dec. 7 and Saturday, Dec. 8. We are still firming up details of the plan for those first three days, including hours of operation. We will NOT be open on Sunday, Dec. 9, and we will NOT be able to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples until Dec. 6... Thank you for your patience as we finalize our plans to mark this historic occasion.
Over at HA, Darryl goes to the polling data to make the obvious point:
In the coming weeks, I’m sure we’ll see many hypotheses and analyses, and proposed turning points where the momentum was lost and Romney’s fate was sealed.
But here’s the fact: Romney lost because he was never ahead in the election. Unlike McCain in 2008, Romney was always losing the 2012 election.
This election was no spectacular loss. It was the ordinary loss of a candidate who was always behind. Period.
The aggregate polling data pegged Tuesday night's outcome almost to the decimal point, and it never, ever, ever showed Mitt Romney with a lead. Not once. Republicans can blame Romney's defeat on Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Christie all they want, but he was already well on his way to defeat.
On a conference call with reporters just now, David Axelrod took a moment to gloat over the disastrous 2012 performance of Karl Rove's attack ad operation, joking that if he were one of the billionaires who had handed big checks to Rove, “I’d be asking for a refund...The heartening news is that you can’t buy the White House; you can’t overwhelm the Congress with these Super PAC dollars,” Axelrod continued. “I would think there will be reluctance in the future, when Mr. Rove and others come knocking on the door, because of what happened on Tuesday.”
In an intriguing coincidence, Axelrod’s comments about Rove came at roughly the same moment as the GOP operative appeared on TV to claim that the Obama campaign won by “suppressing the vote” with negative ads that “turned off” voters. That’s an odd statement coming from the co-founder of the Crossroads operation, which spent an estimated $100 million in this election, much of it on negative ads. That aside, it’s clear Rove needs to be able to tell all those wealthy donors something in order to explain why all those checks produced zero returns.
Fuck Karl Rove. How do you spend nearly four hundred million dollars and get nothing back as a result? If any Republican takes this man seriously ever again, their party deserves to lose every election it runs in.
Slog tipper Gale sent this Yahoo story about the Romney campaign's transitional website:
The site appeared online on Wednesday and was taken down—but not before Taegan Goddard, a blogger for Roll Call's Political Wire, captured screenshots, which included a "President Elect" seal, information about the inauguration, a fresh tagline ("Smaller, Simpler, Smarter") and a quote from the Republican nominee ("I'm excited about our prospects as a nation. My priority is putting people back to work in America.").
Go check out the screenshots and imagine yourself visiting this website in an alternate universe where Romney won. It'll make today extra-sweet. The bad news, though, is that by electing President Obama, we missed out on a bitchin' fireworks show.
Sent yesterday by Paul Queary at Strategies 360. Pollsters are a persnickety bunch, so I'm sure we'll hear other takes from other Washington State pollsters. Still, this is interesting enough to stare at for a while, for now:
Nationally, Obama won just 39% of the white vote, down from 43% in 2008. But in every Rust Belt battleground — Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa, Pennsylvania, and Michigan — Obama performed well above average with white voters.But let's go back to thinking about the Asian vote, 73 percent of which went to Obama. One can argue that Asians voted for Obama because the GOP is all about, is grounded in, is walled by white Christian values. Meaning, the GOP is exclusive and the Dems inclusive; GOP intolerant, Dems tolerant. But what if it has to do with this: Asians simply saw Obama as the better candidate. This is actually the truth, and the truth should guide your decisions. The kind of racial ideology that would distort this truth is simple not as pronounced in Asians as it is in certain segments of white America. Sure, there are racist Asian Americans, but their racism lacks the historical depth and intensity of white American racism. This is something to think about.
In Ohio, Obama won 41% of the white vote. In Wisconsin, an astounding 48%. In Iowa, he actually captured the white vote with 51% to Romney's 47%. In Michigan, it was 44%, and in Pennsylvania, it was 42%.
...Obama losses among white voters came primarily from the South, in Republican strongholds that Obama was already expected to lose.
Indeed, perhaps the most telling exit poll result about Hispanics is the almost identical thumping Romney took with Asian and Jewish voters, and even more so with black voters. ... Gerald Ford got 17 percent of the black vote while losing overall, while Romney won less than 10 percent. As Tom Scocca wrote last week, all kinds of people vote Democratic, and it’s the Republicans who rely on a narrow ethnic niche to win. The real issue isn’t Democrats courting minority “special interests” (indeed, as an economic matter Latin American immigration is good for everyone except Americans who primarily speak Spanish), it’s Republicans who use targeted outreach to help boost their share of the white vote despite a generally unpersuasive message. Viewed in that light, the anti-Sotomayor demagoguery becomes far more comprehensible. Far from an unforced error, it’s part of a reasonably effective strategy to ensure the loyalty of white voters without altering an economic agenda that’s relentlessly biased toward the rich.
I am hearing a great deal of talk about "appealing to Hispanics" and "appealing to women." But I am not hearing much about endorsing actual policies. What happened last night is not a matter of cosmetics. This is not false consciousness. This a real response to real policies. Mitt Romney actually endorsed Arizona's immigration policies. You can't fix this by flashing more pictures of brown people.
This is not a "branding problem." This is a "problem problem." Latino voters didn't go crazy. Latino voters went voter.
(Thanks to Slog tipper Sarah.)
But look at Representative John Boehner. On Wednesday, the House speaker gave a speech in which he vowed to be cooperative. “Mister President, this is your moment. We’re ready to be led,” he said. Except for a few no-go areas, such as any tax increases on “small business.” You may remember from previous crises that the House Republicans oppose raising income taxes on the wealthy because it would impact struggling small businesses such as a hedge fund manager with an eight-figure annual income.
Boehner also raised a whole new specter of political peril: “going over part of the fiscal cliff.” That sounded less dire, as long as we all stay inside our dangling cars and refrain from making any moves until help arrives. But, by the end, it sounded as if the only cliff-avoidance Boehner was really interested in was one that raised new revenue through “fewer loopholes, and lower rates for all.”
We have already seen that plan. It was proposed by a man who, on Tuesday, lost the state in which he was born, the state in which he was governor, and the three states in which he owns houses. Thanks to a blog by Eric Ostermeier in Smart Politics, I am able to point out that the only candidate for president who lost his home state by a larger margin than Mitt Romney was John Frémont in 1856. And Frémont was coming out of a campaign in which the opposition accused him of being a cannibal.
Mitt Romney also lost the city in which he lives:
By the end of his campaign, Romney seemed to have a sense of peace about the type of race he had run. But the man who loves data also has to accept that he was rejected by young voters, by minorities of every kind, and even by his home town of Belmont and his home state of Massachusetts.
Maddow's show was AMAZING list night. "Required viewing" doesn't quite cover it. You need to see this—the whole show, the whole hour. Watch:
The rich guys who, emboldened by Citizens United, tried to buy the election for Romney and other conservatives:
At the private air terminal at Logan Airport in Boston early Wednesday, men in unwrinkled suits sank into plush leather chairs as they waited to board Gulfstream jets, trading consolations over Mitt Romney’s loss the day before.
“All I can say is the American people have spoken,” said Kenneth Langone, the founder of Home Depot and one of Mr. Romney’s top fund-raisers, briskly plucking off his hat and settling into a couch.
The biggest single donor in political history, the casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson, mingled with other Romney backers at a postelection breakfast, fresh off a large gamble gone bad. Of the eight candidates he supported with tens of millions of dollars in contributions to “super PACs,” none were victorious on Tuesday.
Having already declared victory, leaders of Washington United for Marriage held a press conference this afternoon at the Capitol Hill Action Center to talk about what it means. With a lot of teary eyes in the room, Washington State Senator Ed Murray recalled being the only openly gay member of the legislature when his colleagues there passed the Defense of Marriage Act in 2008. By reversing that law at the polls last night, Murray said, "we have rectified an injustice."
State Representative Jamie Pedersen (D-43) thanked the volunteers who had packed in to celebrate, and State Representative Laurie Jinkins (D-27) tried to broaden the victory. "I think we have an even bigger story to tell than Washington State," Jinkins said, referring to the two other states that passed marriage equality measures last night, and noting that both President Obama and Governor Elect Jay Inslee won while being supporters of gay marriage.
Jinkins then turned to her partner, Laura, and said: "I can't wait to marry her."
I asked State Representative Jamie Pedersen this question the other day and since he's planning on (re)marrying his husband once R-74 takes effect, he knew all the details.
The state's new homo-including marriage law will go into effect on Dec. 5, after the 30-day waiting period for voter-approved measures like this one expires.
People will be able to apply for marriage licenses the next day, Dec. 6.
But, since there's a three-day waiting period for getting married in this state, the first day gay marriages could be performed is Dec. 9.
(I wrote this last night at The Stranger's party for today's issue, which should be hitting the streets any minute now.)
There’s a lot of conventional wisdom that gets tossed around by people like me in situations like this—writing on a tight deadline for the early morning edition of a newspaper in a crowded room full of people screaming for a winning political candidate. And as cliché-riddled as it is, a lot of that conventional wisdom is true. It usually does come down to the ground game. When more people vote, Democrats do win. But my favorite bit of conventional wisdom is this: It’s almost impossible to win an election when your argument is that you’re not the other guy. People don’t vote against a candidate. They vote for a candidate.
That cliché seems especially relevant to me tonight for two reasons. For one thing, it’s one of the many reasons why Mitt Romney lost. When I attended the Republican National Convention back in August, it wasn’t so much a pro-Romney event as an anti-Obama event. The crowd rippled with hatred and disdain for President Obama, for Michelle Obama, for liberals. The compliments for Willard Romney were as thin and unctuous as the film that the Tampa humidity left on everyone’s skin: He’s a family man, a very successful businessman. He was governor of a liberal state. He did something with the Olympics that was positive, or something. All of the passion, all of the excitement, pitched and heaved into hatred.
Attending the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte a week later was like taking off a smudged pair of glasses: This was a convention about a candidate, a cause, and a community. People smiled, talked about hopes and memories. Romney’s name barely ever came up. I knew then, in some part of my brain immune to superstition, that everything would be all right on election night.
And so here we are...
Gawker says a bunch of students from University of Mississippi got together to riot when President Obama won reelection:
Local media reports that "hundreds of Ole Miss students exchanged racial epithets and violent, politicized chants" across campus. As many as 400 students are said to have participated. There are also reports that several students were arrested during the protest, though none have been officially charged. There were mixed reports about whether or not rocks were thrown as well.
Ole Miss has apologized.
The newish head of HRC—Chad Griffin—takes a victory lap, reminds us that there's more work to do.
Of course it would be the height of hubris to select any one thing as the absolute turning point in an election campaign, especially one so tight as Democrat Jay Inslee's narrow victory over Republican Rob McKenna in Washington's governor's race. But hubris has never stopped me before.
Sure, there were a lot of factors, but in politics first impressions are everything, and Inslee's introductory ads this summer were just a kajillion times better than McKenna's. Watch the two ads side by side with the sound off. Which guy looks more like of a leader? Which guy looks more like an effete, elitist, flabby-chested geek? It's no contest.
The Inslee campaign gambled by spending big to introduce their candidate just weeks before a meaningless August primary, and man did Inslee's rugged charisma pay off. This was when most voters really started paying close attention to the race, and it was at this moment that Inslee first took the lead in the polls. It was a lead he never gave back.
Yes, brutalizing McKenna in King County—relentlessly pounding away at the Republican's carefully crafted faux-moderate image—was absolutely critical to defeating him. But without first presenting Inslee as a strong, likable alternative, the negative attacks never would have been enough. Plus, this positive first impression provided Inslee a degree of immunity from the negative Republican attacks that followed.
Thanks to his own ridiculous introductory ad—which aired weeks later—that was an advantage McKenna never enjoyed.
Advertising isn't everything in politics. Inslee was outspent, after all. But this was one election where one campaign's media team kicked the other team's ass early on. And it ended up paying huge dividends three months later.
The National Organization for Marriage got its hateful, bigoted ass handed to it last night—NOM spent millions and in a tweet that has since been disappeared NOM's president Brian Brown predicted that they would win all four marriage measures—but Brown is claiming a silver lining: the defeat of two pro-gay-marriage GOP state senators in New York state. Both lost to Democrats and Democrats may take control of the upper chamber of the New York state legislature as a result.
Um… this is NOM's silver lining? Don't know yet if last night's winning Dems in New York state oppose marriage equality or not. But it's a measure of NOM's desperation that they're out there trying to spin Democrats taking control of New York state senate as some sort of face-saving win. Unless Brian Brown would have us believe that voters in New York retaliated against pro-gay state senators… by electing state senators who are likelier to be even more pro-gay. Because awarding control of the NY state senate to the party of the governor who pushed gay marriage through that same state senate strikes a blow against gay marriage.
Does not compute. Does not compute.
UPDATE: NOM has a longer statement up now. Here's the shorter NOM reaction: when hate wins at the ballot box, it means everything. When love wins at the ballot box, it means nothing.
We at the SECB are disappointed to find out that Rob McKenna is, in fact, not conceding the governor's race tonight and he promises that "this time it'll be worth the wait." He tacked back to his stump speech—or perhaps his preprepared victory speech—after thanking his volunteers, family, and staff profusely. Seriously, this guy talks about his "new direction" a lot.
As promised, Matt Barreto of the Washington Poll is making projections in the "too close to call" state races based on the returns from all Washington State counties so far. Using the methodology discussed on Slog the other day, Barreto now projects that R-74 will be approved, 52.2 to 47.8, and Inslee will prevail over McKenna by a four percent margin.