First he notes the question about what the Obama campaign will do with the amazing infrastructure they have built. Pass it on to another candidate? No.
". . . [T]he three top officials in Obama's re-election effort -- David Axelrod, Jim Messina and David Plouffe -- were asked what will happen to the mighty Obama campaign now. What next for the enormous campaign infrastructure, with its massive databases and voter profiles? Will it go to a new candidate?Barack Obama won because he inspired people, especially the left wing of the Democratic Party.
"You can't just transfer this," said senior adviser Plouffe. "People are not going to spend hours away from their families, and their jobs, contributing financially when it's hard for them to do it, unless they believe in the candidate."
"All of this, the door knocks ... the contributions made, the phone calls made, were because these people believed in Barack Obama," Plouffe continued. "And so for candidates who want to try and build a grassroots campaign, it's not going to happen because there's a list or because you have the best technology. That's not how this works. They have to build up that kind of emotional appeal so that people are willing to go out and spend the time and their resources and provide their talents because they believe in someone. ... The reason those people got involved was because they believed in Barack Obama. It was a relationship between them and our candidate."
Mitt Romney did not excite any group. Not even Mormons. In 2004 George W. Bush gained more Mormons (80%) than Mitt Romney (78%) in 2012.
York mentions the fact pointed out on this blog previously that McCain (actually McCain-Palin) running in the face of a massive financial meltdown in 2008, gained more votes than Romney against the same candidate who was much stronger then because not shackled with a poor economy and poor presidential record.
Mitt Romney, on the other hand, appears not to have excited any big group. Yes, he won the support of 59 percent of white voters, but there are indications that whites actually stayed away from the polls in large numbers. Overall, Romney won fewer votes than John McCain's doomed 2008 campaign.Romney's problem was clear in the primaries.
"The 2012 elections actually weren't about a demographic explosion with nonwhite voters," writes analyst Sean Trende of RealClearPolitics. "Instead, they were about a large group of white voters not showing up. ... The reason this electorate looked so different from the 2008 electorate is almost entirely attributable to white voters staying home."
That's where finding a great candidate comes in. Romney is an able, accomplished, intelligent and hard-working man, but Republicans knew from the start he was an imperfect candidate. During the primaries, GOP voters tried every alternative possible before finally settling on Romney. He remained a flawed candidate in the general election.In the primaries, Romney was sold not as having the best ideas, being the best campaigner or best anything. Like Democrats voting for John Kerry in 2004, 2012 Republican voters thought Romney had the best chance of beating the incumbent. Both Kerry's and Romney's role was to not stumble and win by attrition. It showed in the presidential vote even though both Kerry and Romney had massive get out the vote efforts.
York concludes that it wasn't Obama's positions that won the election, but the fact that more of his voters believed in Obama as a leader than Romney's voters believed in Romney as a leader.
Now, because of Romney's loss, some are urging that the Republican Party completely remake itself. Some argue that GOP lawmakers must support comprehensive immigration reform and change positions on other issues. The answer, they say, is broad, across-the-board change.
But listen to the Obama team. There is a less complicated lesson to this election. Voters want to believe in a candidate. If Republicans find that candidate, they will win.