A Place for Newt Gingrich Supporters and Volunteers
Let me first congratulate President Obama on a race, won. He deserves credit for that. Although neither candidate achieved the dismal vote levels of 2008, Mr. Obama got more than his opponent.
Culpeper County on the other hand was a different story. You hear a lot of spin and postulation about the whatfors and howcomes of this cycle. As one who was an active campaigner from the beginning of the year, I would like to add a different perspective!
First, I will speak of the primaries! In the blogs and the chatrooms of April and May (I kept logs) the conservative sites were being invaded. As Governor Romney emerged, the more intrepid liberals would taunt the chatters with gibes about the turnout. The one thing that is undeniable is that the primary turnout was surprisingly low in light of the 2010 elections. As neither candidate scored as high as in 2008, it seems their scoffs were right!
Bain was an issue, in many ways. Romney & Bain helped turn ClearChannel Radio toward syndication. That organization now dominates the free airwaves. Romney still owns a big chunk. But it is not all positive! Almost as soon as Speaker Gingrich showed some potential, Sean Hannity, in particular, changed his tune! Sean had been after the Speaker to run for a decade. Rush and Mark Levin shifted as well! Did Romney put the kaibash on that? Do you think Sean would hang a man out to dry without some serious pressure?
That was but one of the dirty tricks we saw this cycle. Each one turned gobs of voters away from our side. I got very good at the “Not Voting is is a Vote for Obama” line. At least some of us have longer memories! But I don't want to get mired in minutae!
Real Clear Politics has a piece on The Case of the Missing White Voters! Their analysis is telling: “In other words, the reason this electorate looked so different from the 2008 electorate is almost entirely attributable to white voters staying home. The other groups increased their vote, but by less than we would have expected simply from population growth.”
And before we commit to the supposed sea change in the electorate, consider Matthew Sheffields analysis at CNS News: “Nearly every demographic group surveyed has shifted rightward compared to 2008. Men shifted four points to vote for the Republican nominee. Four years ago, 49 percent of men voted for McCain. This year, 52 percent did. Even women voters shifted a single point toward the GOP.”
Even the AP agrees turnout was lower in 2012 than in 2008: “With 97 percent of precincts reporting, The Associated Press' figures showed more than 118 million people had voted in the White House race, but that number will go up as more votes are counted. In 2008, 131 million people cast ballots for president, according to the Federal Election Commission.”
Which is not to say that issues do not matter. Even the most ardent campaigner can't reverse a long held belief. But our top candidate this cycle was THE only Republican to say a nice thing about ObamaCare. To get elected in Massachusetts he had to take positions opposite of most he was touting on the trail. Our candidate did not boil the issues to simplicity. Our candidate did little to help himself!
In Culpeper, the numbers were opposite of the national trend. We even got a shout out from Karl Rove on election night! But alas, the national trend did not follow Culpeper. The odd thing is that we replaced our “Establishment” Chairman in July, and mounted a well considered and executed plan. Folks said we were crazy. We would destroy the party. Mitt got 7.5% more in Culpeper than McCain got. Obama missed by 2%. Contrast that with Eric Cantor, who beat by 4% over 2008. The Majority Leaders opponent beat his counterpart by 10%. Eric always was a shoe-in in both races, so he serves as a convenient control!
Our efforts made at least a 3.5% difference. In Culpeper we can sleep well knowing we did all we could to right our course, and to lead by example! This is not so much of an “I told you so” as it is a “fish or cut bait!”