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  2012 U.S. Presidential Election Results (Moderators: Torie, Senator ON Progressive)
  Why did Romney underperform so much? (search mode)
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Author Topic: Why did Romney underperform so much?  (Read 5927 times)
Nat. Sec. Council Member Dwarven Dragon
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« on: August 24, 2017, 10:46:28 am »

A few reasons:

1. Romney, like Hillary, infuriated his opponent's base through essentially calling them Un-American.

2. Obama wasn't as much of an abortion crusader as Hillary. Yes, both are strongly pro-choice, but they finessed the issue very differently. Obama, unlike Hillary, clearly supported the (popular) Hyde Amendment - he made no attempt to repeal it when he had control of the house and senate, he wrote it into ObamaCare via executive order, and he kept the democratic platform silent on the amendment. Also, rather than going around celebrating late-term abortion like Hillary did, he instead effectively dodged the whole late-term issue and instead focused on Romney's extremism on abortion - pointing out repeatedly that in a 2008 debate, Romney said that he would be "delighted" to sign a bill that banned abortion even in a case where it was needed to save the life of the mother. It was an effective approach - Romney spent the campaign trying to convince the electorate he supported the usual 3 exceptions (rape, incest, life of the mother), while Obama got to talk about the issues where he could sway swing voters the best, such as the improving economy.

3. Romney couldn't keep his message straight - As much as the Trump campaign had no clear policy ideas, they at least had a consistent message - "America First", "Make America Great Again", "Build the Wall", etc. Romney, meanwhile, said different things to different people all the time, which just made him look insincere when put next to the relatively consistent Obama. For instance, Romney said at one point that Obama made the economy worse, only to say days later that the economy hadn't gotten worse, but hadn't gotten better either. At one point, Romney said that if he paid more taxes than were legally due, he wouldn't be qualified to be president. But later on, he deliberately undercounted his 2011 charitable contributions to give himself a tax rate that looked more "normal" but was more than he actually owed, essentially calling himself unqualified. At another time, he said he supported an exception to abortion to protect the health of the woman, only to withdraw his support for that a few days later. I'll also point out that Romney ran a far more conservative campaign in the primary then he did in the GE, even saying at one point that he essentially didn't mean anything he said during the primary campaign. The difference between Romney and Trump here is clear - Trump got through his gaffes because he embraced them and stuck by what he said. Romney reversed himself frequently, which just hurt him more than the gaffes themselves.

4. Obama defined Romney early as an out of touch businessman - unlike Hillary, who until March or April was content to pretend Trump was certain to lose the nomination, Obama defined Romney beginning in late 2011, before the first primary delegate was even awarded. Therefore, when Romney put away Santorum in April, he entered the GE campaign with a negative image already on him, which he never shook off. Trump had a negative image too, but was also less clearly defined than Romney, a fact that he was able to use to his advantage.
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