Friday, November 9, 2012

What if? Reflections on the 2012 Elections

What if Governor Romney and the GOP had included the following two planks in the Republican Party platform?
  1. “We will not write or sign any piece of legislation that infringes upon a woman’s reproductive rights.”  
  2. “We can not, and will not, write or sign any piece of legislation that denies anyone, regardless of sex, the benefits and rights afforded to those in a civil union.  Same-sex couples have the exact same civil rights as straight couples.”
What if? 
Romney would be the President-Elect.  In a close race, these two issues alone decided the election.      
But didn't President Obama win by millions of popular votes and 125 electoral college votes?  How can we say it was a close race?
Romney lost Florida, Colorado, Ohio and Virginia by a combined total of 393,295 votes (as of CNN’s count today).  Therefore, if roughly 200,001 American (specifically, 30,001 Floridians, 60,001 Coloradoans, 50,001 Ohioans, and 60,001 Virginians) voted for Romney instead of Obama, Romney wins these states and is the President-Elect by virtue of winning 275 electoral votes (5 more than the 270 needed to win). 
120,000,000 votes were cast across America.  200,004 votes equals 0.16% of these votes – one sixteenth of one percent.  A statistical rounding error.  Even if we just look at vote totals of these four states, 200,004 votes is only 1% of all those votes.   
It was close. 
We believe these 200,004 Americans were but a small fraction of moderate and independent Americans who are unhappy with Obama but simply could not vote for Romney or any other Republican because of the issues above.  Given the time, money and effort Democrats put into characterizing Romney and the GOP as waging war on women, a characterization brought to life by some incredibly stupid comments by Republican Congressional candidates, it’s very possible millions of moderates and independents voted against Romney and other Republican candidates only because of these two issues.    

Our in-depth research tool we call our  "Facebook News Feed" illustrated how important this issue was with voters.  We only have a couple hundred friends, but many of our smart, educated, and world-traveled friends filled our news feed with women’s rights memes and proclamations that they were voting in favor of their “uterus and daughter’s uterus and loving families of all kinds.”  We admit this is highly unscientific research, but telling nonetheless.    
Would the partisan Democrats have voted for President Obama regardless of who he was running against?  Absolutely.  Would the Republicans on the far right stayed home if Governor Romney and the GOP included these planks in their platform?  Doubtful.  Did at least 200,004 (and probably many more) moderate and independent voters in Florida, Colorado, Ohio and Virginia vote for Obama purely because they disliked Romney’s views on women’s rights and same-sex marriage?  Absolutely. 
The biggest question coming out of the 2012 elections is whether the Republican Party will unhitch itself from the social conservative bandwagon to catch up to the times, or erode into irrelevance.  If Republicans continue to nominate staunch social conservatives, the biggest question for 2014 and 2016 is whether fiscally conservative, socially liberal independent candidates can successfully fill the large political void in the middle of our “center-right" country.  We sure hope so. 


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