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Romney won the independents. And if a presidential candidate wins the independents, the swing voters, those folks in the middle, then he is supposed to win because the parties are fairly evenly split. But it appears the conservative base either stayed home or didn't vote in the presidential election.
I haven't seen the breakdown of who didn't vote, but Romney got fewer votes than Sen. John McCain when he lost in 2008, and fewer than George Walker Bush when he won in 2004, even though during the eight years from 2004 to 2012 the overall number of voters increased.
Obama didn't get as many votes as he did when he ran against McCain in 2008, so on paper it looked like Romney would win before the election. That's what Republican pundits who predicted a big win for Romney were considering. They rightly predicted that Obama wasn't going to poll as well as he did in 2008, but wrongly assumed that the hard-core conservatives would vote for Romney. So they were right that Obama got far fewer votes than he did in 2008 and wrong that Romney would get more votes than McCain.
Obama's vote totals dropped by over 7 million, but Romney received a couple hundred thousand fewer votes than McCain. So, as predicted, a lot of people who voted for Obama the first time around didn't vote for him the second time. But either they didn't vote for Romney or they did vote for Romney, but conservatives who voted for McCain refused to vote for Romney.
So one way to look at the race – if the preliminary assumptions turn out to be correct – is that hard-core conservatives, the Tea Party groups and Ron Paul supporters, by not voting for Romney, elected Obama for four more years.
If you endorse candidates, as I do every year, it doesn't take long to realize that you don't get to pick the best person for the job, you have to pick the best candidate of those who are running. There have been a few races over the years where we have not endorsed either candidate and recommended writing in Scott Yost or someone, but usually in those races it was obvious who was going to win, and voting for a poor but more conservative candidate wouldn't make much difference.
In a presidential race you have only two real choices and they are usually pretty close in actual political beliefs. The 2012 race was different because you had someone from the left wing of the Democratic Party running against a moderate Republican. Historically, it appeared the moderate Republican should win because he would pick up the independents and moderate Democrats. But it appears that conservative Republicans are not going to vote for a moderate, which means that if Republicans want to elect a president the conservatives had better take over the primary process so that the candidate emerging from the endless months of debates will be someone they can support.
So, if the Republicans want to win in 2016, it appears they need to nominate a true conservative who will then run toward the middle to pick up some independents, but who is going to have the unwavering support of the hard-core conservatives who will complain about moving to the center but will still support the conservative candidate.
Romney was never a conservative. He was elected governor of one of the most liberal states in the country. A conservative could never win a statewide race in Massachusetts.
Romney ran right in the Republican primary as expected, but evidently never convinced the conservative base that he was really a conservative, perhaps because he wasn't. It appears the big mistake the campaign made was in not solidifying the conservative base first.
Part of the Romney problem was that the Republicans didn't have a good ground game, meaning that it didn't put the grassroots pressure on conservatives to get them out to vote for the most conservative candidate in the race.
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On the Greensboro City Council agenda this week is a wonderful example of what is wrong with the federal government and why the government is spending over $1 trillion more than it takes in every year.
The City Council approved buying a second bus washer for the new bus maintenance facility. The explanation was that having two bus washers would help the city get buses washed quicker every day and the cost to the city is a mere $35,000. The cost of the bus washer is $350,000, but 80 percent of that cost is paid by the federal government, and the state pays 10 percent.
Assuming that the first bus washer costs about the same, the federal government has invested about $600,000 in washing Greensboro buses. Is this a necessary function of the federal government? Does the federal government need to borrow money from China so that the Greensboro Transportation Department can operate cleaner busses?
The city, by the way, had an old bus washing machine that they were going to move over to the new facility, but didn't because the federal government would buy the city brand new ones.