Not much has changed over night. Florida has yet to be called, but Romney trails Obama by some 46,000 votes. Whether or not Romney wins the state doesn’t matter, he’ll still lose the Electoral College. Assuming Obama still maintains a lead in Florida, here is how the map looks after last night:
There is a lot to say about the election, much of which has already been said by analysts, but I’ve thrown together a few thoughts on some different points. You don’t have to agree with me, but these are things worth nothing.
House Republicans Will Lose Seats: There was talk of House Republicans adding to their majority in the days leading up to the election. CNN noted during their coverage last night that this was a possibility. That will not happen. Some of the gains from 2010 were wiped out last night, especially in Illinois and New York. In Florida, Rep. Allen West lost his bid for re-election by less than 3,000 votes. Democrats managed to keep some of the seats Republicans hoped to pickup — such as GA-12, where Rep. John Barrow defeated Lee Anderson, and UT-4, a race that looked good for the GOP, but Mia Love was unable to defeat Rep. Jim Matheson. In the end, Republicans will keep their majority, but it will be slightly smaller.
Like It or Not, Swing Voters aren’t Social Conservatives: This election was supposed to be on the economy, but Republicans in Indiana and Missouri found themselves in a bit of a bind when their nominees for United States Senate, Richard Mourdock and Todd Akin, made comments about rape and abortion. The damage to Akin was done back in August, but he was never able to recover. Mourdock, who was already locked in a tight race, made his comments in the final days of the campaign and, despite Romney overwhelmingly carrying Indiana, found himself losing on election night. Had these two stuck to fiscal issues, downplaying social issues or having coherent, less offensive answers to questions about abortion, we’re probably looking at a different landscape in the Senate this morning.
We’re going to hear a lot of analysts say that because Akin and Mourdock, both Tea Party-backed candidates, that this is some sort of referendum against the 2010 mid-terms. They may even say that they entire election was a referedum against the Tea Party. Whoever says that has an agenda. Akin and Mourdock lost because of social issues, not because they backed sane economic policies.
This also plays into the demographics across the country. Republicans lost women voters last night. That wasn’t because of their views on the economy, it was because of the “war on women” narrative played up by Democrats. It stuck. Republicans don’t have have drop their opposition to abortion, but they have to understand and accept the fact that it doesn’t play well in an election.
Blame Gary Johnson: That was part of the narrative for many Republicans on Twitter last night once it became evident that Romney would lose in close races in swing states. Looking at election results this morning, Johnson’s vote total didn’t make up the difference in any of the four big states that mattered last night. These numbers could change before publication, but here is what I have.
- Difference between Obama and Romney: 84,380
- Gary Johnson’s vote total: 30,130
- Difference between Obama and Romney: 46,039
- Gary Johnson’s vote total: 43,479
- Difference between Obama and Romney: 100,763
- Gary Johnson’s vote total: 43,479
- Difference between Obama and Romney: 106,726
- Gary Johnson’s vote total: 30,003
Nevermind that it’s pointless to say that Johnson’s supporters would have voted Romney. That’s counterfactual. You can’t prove it, nor do I think it would be true anyway. Some may have cast their ballot for Romney, some would have even voted for Obama. It’s likely most of Johnson’s supporters would have stayed home.
Hispanic Voters: Exit polls indicate that Obama won Hispanics with 71% of the vote. That’s an astounding number, folks. It’s going to be a theme we hear frequently moving forward since Hispanics are the fastest growing voter bloc in the country. Most Republicans haven’t been interested in immigration reform, preferring instead to appease the restrictionists in their ranks. The writing is on the wall here, they’ve got to do something to fix that.
Republican Civil War: Revisiting comments I made yesterday, I think that the next two years are going to be really interesting for Republicans. I still don’t think that anything isn’t going to go down that hasn’t already been happening, but the establishment will use last night firepower to push back against the Tea Party and social conservatives. The first real place we’ll be able to observe conservatives is CPAC, which is in March. That’ll give great insight into the mood of the movement and what, if any, olive branches are being extended.