Sobriety, Thy Name is Barone

The only people who are always right are the people who never have opinions until after-the-fact.  Anyone dismissing Michael Barone for erroneous election day predictions will do so at their own peril.  His latest in the Washington Examiner is a sober reminder about the political realities for both parties:

Neither of our two political parties is going to be annihilated. Both have suffered far worse defeats than Mitt Romney and the Republicans suffered in 2012. Both have figured out how to adapt and win over voters who used to vote against them. Or at least to position themselves to win when the other side’s president is seen to have massively failed. The 2008-2012 Obama campaign — it never really stopped — did an excellent job of turning out just enough voters to win 332 electoral votes. But Obama carried just 26 states to Mitt Romney’s 24, which is relevant when you look at future Senate elections. As for House elections, Obama carried only 207 congressional districts to Romney’s 228. That’s partly because Republicans had the advantage in redistricting after the 2010 census.

Core constituencies:

Obama core constituencies — blacks, Hispanics, gentry liberals — tend to be clustered geographically in central city neighborhoods in big metropolitan areas. His big margins there helped him carry many electoral votes but not so many congressional districts. [But] Obama’s in-your-face liberalism, so apparent in last week’s inaugural speech, antagonized some groups in a way that may hurt Democrats for some time to come.

Changing constituencies:

The Obamacare contraception mandate helped Mitt Romney carry 59 percent of white Catholics — probably their highest Republican percentage ever — and 78 percent of white evangelical Protestants. These groups total 44 percent of the electorate. That’s a counterbalance to Obama’s 93 percent among blacks and 71 percent among Hispanics. They were just 23 percent of the electorate, and while Hispanics will be a growing percentage, blacks probably won’t.

Don’t get too comfortable in that “permanent majority”:

George W. Bush’s 51 percent re-election, with 11.5 million more votes than four years before, got his strategist Karl Rove musing about a permanent Republican majority. That didn’t happen. Now Barack Obama’s 51 percent re-election, with 3.5 million fewer votes than four years before, has Democrats talking about annihilating the Republican Party. That’s not likely to happen either.


  1. MassLiberty
    Posted January 30, 2013 at 3:19 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Barone was right. Dems registered a ton of inner city welfare cases and illegals with driver licenses, and then were free to count their votes even when they didn’t show. Mitt Romney won more “Actual” votes.

  2. easternimm
    Posted February 3, 2013 at 2:28 pm | Permalink | Reply

    republicans need to widen the tent a bit. core message could remain the same but there will be need to open toward Asians and Hispanics and also more friendly toward single women. especially in the core battleground states that we desperately need next time around: FL, VA, OH, IA, CO, NE and even PA, MI, WI and MN that can be within grasp. In those and even in the deep blue states the republicans will need to build the moderate wing of the party. The Dems will overreach again, all we have to do is to be patient, firm and lower the tone a bit. We have large and stable constituencies but the big battles are lost or gained in the middle.

    • C'ville
      Posted February 9, 2013 at 12:00 pm | Permalink | Reply

      The single women issue is a bit smoke and mirrors. Black and Hispanic women even with kids aren’t married so skews that number. Romney did well with white single women. It all comes back to minority issue again. Unlike the D’s, we don’t have special treatment for minorities just treated like every other individual. It’s not lack of inclusiveness. It may be bad politics but not sure the GOP can have a group politics approach. The platform is about individuals. Only strategy I see is to defund D ability to pander to groups and make their core more ambivalent.

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