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Why Romney Is Losing and Why He Still Might Win

Robert Reich has two interesting new articles in his blog that you should read.

The first one is an analysis of why Romney is losing the election. The conservatives are already trying to spin this as Romney’s fault. He is a bad politician running a poor campaign, and most of all, he isn’t conservative enough. He shouldn’t run from his statements about 47% of Americans being slackers, he should double down!

But that explanation doesn’t hold much water. If Romney is the problem, then why are other Republican candidates also dropping in the polls? Just a few months ago, Republicans were set to take over the Senate and increase their hold on the House. Now it looks like Democrats can hold the Senate, and some wishful thinkers are even talking about taking back the House.

Instead Reich argues that the Republican Party is the problem:

Americans are finally beginning to see how radical the GOP has become, and are repudiating it.

The Republican primaries, and then the Republican convention, have shown America a party far removed from the “compassionate conservatism” the GOP tried to sell in 2000. Instead, we have a party that’s been taken over by Tea Partiers, nativists, social Darwinists, homophobes, right-wing evangelicals, and a few rich people whose only interest is to become even wealthier.

These regressives were there in 2000, to be sure. They lurked in the GOP in the 1990s, when Newt Gingrich took over the House. They were there in the 1980s, too, although Ronald Reagan’s sunny disposition gave them cover. In truth, they’ve been part of the GOP for more than half a century — but never before have they held so much sway in the party, never before have they called the shots.

Romney’s failing isn’t that he’s a bad candidate. To the contrary, he’s giving this GOP exactly what it wants in a candidate. And that’s exactly the problem for Romney — as it is for every other Republican candidate — because what the GOP wants is not at all what the rest of America wants.

The second article gives four compelling reasons why Romney still might win the election.

First, who knows what will happen with the economy. Did anyone predict that the economy was about to crater just before the 2008 election? Would Obama have won if it hadn’t?

Second, Romney has an advantage in the debates. Obama’s strength in the 2008 election was not at the debates, where he could come off as slow and ponderous. He also has not been in a debate in four years, while the Republicans had more primary debates than anyone cares to remember, providing Romney lots of experience. Plus Romney has had plenty of time to practice recently, while Obama has a more-than-fulltime job.

Third, the Republicans still have LOTS of money to throw at this election. Seriously.

And finally, the Republicans have repeatedly shown that they will do anything to win an election. Have we already forgotten what happened to Gore in Florida? Eleven states have enacted voter ID laws specifically designed to suppress the turnout of Democratic turnout. And there are still plenty of Diebold voting machines in use.



  1. Arthanyel wrote:

    I disagree that Romney will have an advantage in the debates. My evidence – Romney’s performance in the Republican primary debates, where he was regularly thrashed. Obama may not have been debating much in the last four years but he has PLENTY of experience under pressure now.

    And while Obama has actual reasons why things are the way they are and he does what he does, Romney has so many indefensible positions he should have a rough time.

    Tuesday, September 25, 2012 at 8:11 am | Permalink
  2. PatriotSGT wrote:

    I have a question perhaps this forum can help me understand.

    There is a premise in the post that states:
    “Voter ID laws specifically designed to suppress the turnout of Democratic turnout”.

    1.Is there any evidence that the laws enacted do not equally suppress republican and independent voters as well?
    2.Is there any language that specifically states the laws only apply to democrats?
    3.Or is it that only Democrats don’t have the required ID’s, but republicans and independents do and that they are unavailable to democrats?

    Personally, I think a potential voter should show some form of gov’t issued ID to verify that the person voting is in fact the person on the voter roll. I also think that the federal gov’t should keep a repository of all voters to cross check between states to see if people are registered and voting in multiple states. We had a incident this year in my state where a Democrat who was running for congress, against a republican was found that they had voted on several occasions in 2 different states in the same election. I think any laws enacted should be equal across the board and any states who don’t already do it should provide State issued ID’s at no cost. I think the Fed should set the criteria for obtaining said ID so it is equal across the land. That could include what documents should be required to show proof of a) citizenship, b.) Legal age, c.) State residence (ie. a lease, mortgage, gas and electric bill, or tax return)

    Interestingly, the candidate was outed by her own party. Perhaps they didn’t want a public affairs nightmare to interefere with the general election. Or perhasp they were indeed doing the right thing. In either case I thought it was very commendable.

    Tuesday, September 25, 2012 at 8:36 am | Permalink
  3. Iron Knee wrote:

    1. There is plenty of evidence.
    2. Of course not.
    3. huh?

    The laws differ in different states, but they disproportionately affect students, blacks, latinos, and the poor — groups that are strongly pro-Obama.

    And many of the same laws do not provide easy or free ways to get an ID. Or are confusing.

    Have you completely forgotten about the poll tax laws passed in the south to suppress the black vote?

    But the biggest evidence is in the Sarah Silverman video (at 1:50) — a Republican publicly stating that the Voter ID law he just passed will allow Romney to win in his state.

    Tuesday, September 25, 2012 at 9:09 am | Permalink
  4. PatriotSGT wrote:

    I understand what people think, but what are the facts? I know plenty of poor, black and latinos and all of them have some sort of gov’t issued ID. How can you operate in this country without one? You need one to buy liquor, you need one to get any benefits like food stamps. So who exactly can’t get one. The only people I see paraded out to so justification for opposing voter ID are very rural people and only very few of them.

    How many americans currently do not have some form of Gov’t (state or federal) ID? I think most do and so it shouldn’t be an issue.

    I’m not saying there can not be potential problems and that systems need to be evaluated, so lets improve and fix whats broken.

    Tuesday, September 25, 2012 at 11:03 am | Permalink
  5. TENTHIRTYTWO wrote:

    “I understand what people think, but what are the facts? I know plenty of poor, black and latinos and all of them have some sort of gov’t issued ID.”

    Do you realize the irony in these sentences?

    The biggest problem with voter ID is that it is a solution looking for a problem. The thing that it “fixes” doesn’t actually exist. It will, without question, deprive someone the ability to vote. Whether that is one person or 1 million is irrelevant. For years I’ve had to listen to people demanding that I vote, and that every vote matters. If that is true, then preventing one person from hitting the voting booths is a travesty. You can’t have one without the other.

    As far as the Democrat v Republican thing, do you think it is some bizarre coincidence that these laws are being pushed by one side of the political spectrum?

    “Gov. Scott Walker’s administration is working on finalizing a plan to close as many as 10 offices where people can obtain driver’s licenses in order to expand hours elsewhere and come into compliance with new requirements that voters show photo IDs at the polls.

    One Democratic lawmaker said Friday it appeared the decisions were based on politics, with the department targeting offices for closure in Democratic areas and expanding hours for those in Republican districts.”

    Nothing to see here, just several random events with no connection at all.

    Tuesday, September 25, 2012 at 11:57 am | Permalink
  6. Michael wrote:

    Normally, I would quip that the plural of anecdote is not data. However, in this case, we don’t even have the plural of anecdotes. Furthermore, we don’t even have a clear case of the singular!

    Here are some key points from that Baltimore article:

    1 — “Rosen [who owned property in FL]…registered to vote in Florida several years ago…for the St. Petersburg City Council and…local issues there.”

    2 — “Under Maryland law, a voter here may not maintain registration in a second state if it allows the voter to participate in state or federal elections there.”

    3 — However, “there are narrow circumstances under which a Maryland voter may register legally in two places. Some municipalities…allow property owners — even those that live and vote elsewhere — to register and participate in elections for local offices and ballot questions.” Furthermore, there is “no law against a Maryland voter participating in local elections in another state.”

    4 — “Rosen participated in the 2006 general election and the 2008 primaries in both states.”

    If you’re going to allegate voter *fraud*, you have to demonstrate mens rea, meaning that she intended to defraud the government. I’m not sure that’s the case. By stating that she registered in FL “several years ago,” the article implies that she had been registered long before the 2006 election. Without further investigation and the precise details, here is what I consider a plausible scenario:

    Rosen did, in fact, register long before the 2006 election and did so lawfully. In 2006, she recalled that she had a valid and legal registration, and decided to use it to vote. However, she was unaware of the distinction regarding registration for local vs. state/federal elections. She cast her ballot, assuming FL officials would stop her if her vote was not legal. As they did not, she assumed this was legal and voted in 2008.

    Under this scenario, there is no clear intent to commit fraud, even if there is ignorant naivete and a violation of MD law. (Before you say, “Ignorance of the law is no excuse,” that’s not necessarily always the case.) Yes, she should be punished for her unlawful actions. However, even if we do count this as fraud, what evidence is there that this is a common occurrence?

    But let’s not split hairs here and let’s get down to the real fact of the matter: Showing a government issued ID would have done nothing in the Rosen case. Under almost all of these laws, she could show her MD driver’s license in FL and all would have been allowed to vote.

    “The only people I see paraded out to so justification for opposing voter ID are very rural people and only very few of them.” Unless you consider Philadelphia (home of Viviette Applewhite, lead plaintiff in the PA case) to be “very rural,” you really should find some better news sources. In fact, a substantial number of the cases deal with people from *urban* settings, such as Philly and Houston.

    “How many Americans currently do not have some form of Gov’t (state or federal) ID?” According to the Brennan Center, approximately 10% of eligible voters do not have ID that meets the requirements of the new laws. Don’t rely on the fact that you “think most do,” just because the people you know do have ID.

    Furthermore, existing laws are not enforced consistently: “[I]n New York City, which has no ID requirement, a study showed that poll workers illegally asked one in six Asian Americans for ID at the polls, while white voters were permitted to vote without showing ID.”

    There are real problems with the voting system. The existing voter ID laws do not help, and in some ways, they do real harm.

    Tuesday, September 25, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Permalink
  7. Michael wrote:

    Two things: First, the verb form of “allegation” is “allege,” not “allegate.” Oops.

    Second, there’s one small point that I meant to mention but forgot: The scenario I described as plausible depends on the fact that her original FL registration was lawful when, in fact, that may not have been the case. MD’s law is designed to allow registration for other local elections. If the FL district did not make a distinction, her original registration should not have been valid regardless of her intent. To really settle the matter, she should have hired a lawyer to figure it out. But be honest…would you pay a lawyer a couple thousand dollars just to tell you whether or not you can register to vote?

    Tuesday, September 25, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Permalink
  8. PatriotSgt wrote:

    Michael – I don’t necessarily disagree with your points, and I read the link you sent. Estimates without statistical facts don’t make an argument. I agree there might not be widespread voter fraud, and if ID is required it should be provided at no cost or allowed to be deducted at tax time.
    Thats why in my original post I recommended that the fed set the guidelines for things like what is an eligible ID and what is not. I also think that they should cross check voter registrations between states. And on the issues of not wanting an ID, thats not a valid argument against getting one. I don’t want to have to do my taxes or can’t figure out how or can’t afford the cost or time to round up those documents so I should be excused?
    I say lets get a standard process for all states via the fed. There is no way for MD to check if voter is regitered in another state, nor if they voted. The fed i for regulating interstate activities so they should do it. 54 varieties of the same law can’t be good.
    On barring or intimidating people from voting I agree, there shouldbe no obstacle to a US citizen voting in an election, whether it be poll workers in NYC or Black Panthers in Philadelphia. Perhaps we can start by making it mandatory for all graduating high school senior (most are about to turn 18) get a state issued ID given as a graduatn gift free of charge.

    Tuesday, September 25, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Permalink
  9. TENTHIRTYTWO wrote:

    “I agree there might not be widespread voter fraud”

    What a ludicrous statement. There is no statistically relevant voter fraud. Despite many inquiries and investigations, NONE has ever been found beyond one or two cases. And in almost all cases I’m aware of, voter ID would have done nothing to prevent those.

    I also find it funny that you mention that you need an ID to buy liquor. Has this stopped ineligible people from purchasing liquor? No.

    Tuesday, September 25, 2012 at 5:21 pm | Permalink
  10. Michael wrote:

    I’m guessing “Pkitchen” is “Patriotsgt”? [I fixed that. -iron]

    My main point can be boiled down to this: Requiring ID to vote prior to solving the problem that many people don’t have it is putting the cart before the horse. Solve the problem of universal identification, then we can talk about requiring it to vote.

    Tuesday, September 25, 2012 at 5:47 pm | Permalink
  11. Iron Knee wrote:

    Michael, Republicans should be able to understand that. After all, they are the ones who keep saying that we have to secure our borders before we can even think about immigration reform.

    Tuesday, September 25, 2012 at 6:59 pm | Permalink
  12. jonah wrote:

    Regarding understanding the premise “Voter ID laws specifically designed to suppress the turnout of Democratic turnout”

    Does an admission help?

    Tuesday, September 25, 2012 at 7:09 pm | Permalink
  13. il-08 wrote:

    I believe we should just tattoo government ID numbers on people’s forearms when they are born or register to vote. Problem solved, I’ll bet nobody ever thought of that!

    Tuesday, September 25, 2012 at 8:12 pm | Permalink
  14. Michael wrote:

    Oh, IL-08… Comments like that really make me wish there was some sort of “Like” functionality on this forum.

    Tuesday, September 25, 2012 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

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