Here’s a short reading list of interesting articles about why and how Romney and the Republicans managed to turn almost certain victory into failure.
First stop is a really interesting interactive infographic from Slate, the “Pundit Scorecard”. Go look at it. It is interesting that there were a number of predictions of the presidential election results that were spot on, most significantly Nate Silver but also a few explicitly partisan sources (like DNC chairwoman Donna Brazile). Even more interesting is that every single prediction coming from conservative media was way off the mark, in favor of Romney. Even quite a few predictions coming from supposedly liberal sources (like the Washington Post and MSNBC) or from supposedly liberal contributors to conservative sources (like Lanny Davis on Fox News) overstated Romney’s results.
In fact, you can roughly group the pundits into three distinct categories. There are a few who were remarkably accurate, and every single one of them was associated with liberal sources (there’s that liberal bias of reality again!). Then there is a group of liberal sources who missed the mark in favor of Romney (so much for liberal bias of the MSM). And finally all the conservative sources, who were embarrassingly wrong.
Second stop is our old friend Electoral-Vote, with a quick but insightful analysis of what went wrong for the Republicans. Ironically, they also predict what the Tea Party will say went wrong, and what Karl Rove is probably thinking (Rove being one of the conservatives who totally botched his prediction of the outcome, probably because he spent so much money trying to make it so). And by the way, Electoral-Vote also did a remarkably accurate job predicting the election.
Finally, there are two really good articles from The Atlantic and Mother Jones about why the conservative media failed so badly. To oversimplify, it is because they are far more interested in making money and gaining viewers, than in (you know) actually reporting news (or reality).
The Atlantic frames the question this way:
Before rank-and-file conservatives ask, “What went wrong?”, they should ask themselves a question every bit as important: “Why were we the last to realize that things were going wrong for us?”
Or as Mother Jones puts it:
At some point, Republicans will need to wake up to the current state of affairs and realize they’re being held hostage to a powerful, self-sustaining entertainment industry and that the interests of the party and the interests of Fox News are not one and the same.
Interestingly, I think Bill O’Reilly summed it up well in his debate with Jon Stewart. The problem is that you can make lots of money telling people what they want to hear, rather than the truth.