POST-ELECTION ANALYSIS, from The Inlander's political column, Trail Mix:
Even though the result wasn’t close, Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign absolutely made the most of what it had to work with. To begin with, his own nutty party seemed intent to torpedo his chances from the start. They held what seemed like a debate every week, egged on by FOX News, which resulted in Romney taking a beating way before he ever got to President Obama. Remember Ronald Reagan’s admonition to go easy on fellow Republicans? The GOP forgot all about it this cycle, as Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and Rick Perry unloaded on Romney, writing the Democratic strategy in the process.
But Romney was a fatally flawed candidate, too. With Cayman Islands bank accounts and Wall Street roots, he looked a lot like the police sketch of the guy who ran over America’s economy in 2008. Then he hid his taxes, came out against saving Detroit and expounded on what he really thought about 47 percent of his fellow citizens. The optics were also bad — he said he loved “sport,” he talked about his wife having “a couple of Cadillacs” and he owns — and enjoys tax breaks from — an Olympic dressage horse. Just a regular guy.
Then his party came back to haunt him a second time, with candidates parsing their imagined levels of rape with microphones on and videotape rolling, extolling their keep-building-taller-walls plans for immigration and peppering their tweets with #Kenya mentions. The result? Romney got clobbered by women, blacks and Latinos.
So again, Romney’s 206 electoral votes and nearly 60 million people supporting him — in spite of the albatross around his neck and the cement shoes on his feet — were a testament to a well-run campaign that maximized what it had to work with. Well done, Romney campaign.
But his totals are also proof that President Obama was very vulnerable this election.
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