It is fair to say at this point the President Obama is winning this election.
According to Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight.com, as of this writing, the President is expected to win 319 electoral votes (270 are needed to win the election) and gives him a 83.9 probability of winning the general election. (I started writing this post the other day and those numbers were 309 and 77.9 respectively, it has been a bad few weeks for Mr. Romney)
Unless something catastrophic happens, Willard (Mitt) Romney is going to be calling Rupert Murdoch for a job in November.
The first of three debates is next week. I have a very difficult time picturing Romney coming out of those debates in any better of a position than he currently finds himself. Even if he “Wins” the debates (does anyone really think the guy who doesn’t know why airplane windows don’t open is going to “win” a debate with President Obama?) The chances for Mitt to change the dialogue about this campaign are becoming fewer by the day. Early voting has begun in a number of swing states. Which means, today is election day, tomorrow is election day. Every day between now and November 6th is election day. Therefore, every day that Romney does not change the narrative, is a lost election.
So the question I find myself asking is, who exactly, is going to vote for Willard?
(On a side note, I call him “Willard” because I have a pet peeve. I have a problem with grown men who refer to themselves by nicknames. Most people who know me refer to me as “Bear”, but you don’t see me introducing myself as Bear Gilmore. This has been less of an issue in politics than in is in the sports world, and ESPN has done nothing to stem the tide. Let me tell a quick story… I was working for a small non-profit as my first job out of college. My boss was a huge Atlanta Braves fan, and being a Mets fan, we had a lot to argue about. One day I was going on a rant, very loudly, about how Chipper Jones should grow up, ditch the nickname, and go by his adult name “Larry”. So my boss and I are sitting in his office having this loud discussion and I am pulling a typical Terry and talking really loud and making a scene. In my mind at the time, and still today, I think grown men should ditch the nicknames. Little did I know my co-worker “Chip” was actually my co-worker Larry, and he heard the whole thing. The lesson I learned that day was that at work, don’t yell about things that might offend others. I chalk this up to me being 22 years-old. I was reminded of this a few years later, when at a new job, one of my co-workers went on a full-throated tirade about how immoral divorce is, and how only “bad” people get divorced. I’m divorced. Don’t yell about stuff at work.
What bothers me isn’t that people have nicknames. I think nicknames are great.I love my nickname. What bothers me is when those nicknames become the given name of an individual. For instance, Chris Wells is Chris Wells, not Beanie. Beanie is a nickname. Why, does ESPN display his name as Beanie and not Chris “Beanie” Wells. Same goes fo Adam “Pacman” Jones, “Boom” Herron, and Chipper Jones. I realize this is probably irrational, and someday I may grow to realize that I am wrong. I was once told by my boss at a job I worked at in high school that as I grew older, I would grow more conservative in my political views. I disagreed then, and I disagree now. If anything I am more liberal now than I was at 16. So I don’t see myself changing my views on this.
The thing about Romney is, he came up with the “Mitt” thing himself. He just decided he wanted to be called Mitt. Other people bestow nicknames on people. Driving home from the hospital the day I was born, my older sister Kate said to my mom: “Mom, I have a Care Bear and you have a Ter Bear”. It stuck. I didn’t make it up. Neither should Willard.)
ADDED: I have been informed by Wikipedia that “Mitt” is actually his middle name. He decided after kindergarten that he “preferred” Mitt. This actually makes me like him more, as I famously announced to my mom that I was quitting Pre-K. The crazy part is that she let me.
That was a three paragraph sidebar, but I have been meaning to say it for a long time.
Back to my point. I was mowing the lawn on Monday when I conceived of this post. It was one of those times (like this morning in the car when lightning struck my brain and I had a moment of clarity about the Plague of Poverty Parenting… hopefully I can get those thoughts out in a coherent way later) when I wished I had written down what I was thinking. Basically what I conceived of was a hilarious list of demographic constituencies that Willard “Mitt” Romney has alienated and or lost during the course of this campaign. I had a hilarious line about losing the Latino vote when he made a comment to his gardener about deporting “illegals”. I had a one about losing working-class, white, midwestern voters when he was born in the northeast with a silver spoon shoved up his ass. A line about losing the evangelical vote when he was born a Mormon. I had a line about losing the black vote when… well, when he wasn’t President Obama. In my mind it was hilarious. Now, almost a week later it just isn’t as funny and I cannot make it so.
The reality is, in the five days since I imagined this post, Romney has fallen further in the polls. All of the “Swing States” (Ohio, Florida, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Wisconsin… etc.) are all going for President Obama by margins varying from 2-15 points. I watched Joe Scarborough this morning looking forlornly at the Electoral Map and saying, “well, if Romney can pull out a win in North Carolina, Nevada and New Mexico…) That is what it has come down to. Romney has to win states that really, should not even be close. And even if he does, he still doesn’t really have a chance. Without Florida and Ohio (ironically, two states W. stole) he has no clear path to electoral victory.
This election was meant to be a referendum on the last four years under President Obama. The Romney campaign thought this was going to be a walk in the park. They thought that angst towards the President would be enough to carry him. That he could be a cardboard cutout of a Republican candidate, never really say anything or put forth any real ideas, and hatred of the President would be enough to sustain him through November 6th. That simply isn’t the case.
There are still people who, no matter what, hate the President and his policies. But I don’t think there are enough of them. This is just anecdotal, and maybe it doesn’t mean anything, but I have not seen a single political post from anyone on Facebook, aside from people complaining about commercials and polling phone calls. For all the supposed hatred of Obama that is out there, not a one of my conservative Facebook friends has uttered a word of support for Romney.
I think this is more than just anecdotal. I think it is a symptom of a larger problem. John McCain did something that proved to be tremendously stupid in 2008 when he selected Palin as his running mate. History tells us that it was a mistake. But at the time, in September and October of 2008, before the wheels came off and Sarah went Rouge, there was real excitement among conservatives. People were talking about it, and I don’t just mean talking heads on CNN and MSNBC, regular people who are not as plugged-in to the political process were paying attention. Mitt Romney is not trending. People care more about replacement NFL officials than the race for the Presidency. And that is a win for Obama. There is not a mistake in the polls, as Fox News would purport (even though the Fox News tracking poll has Obama up by 5, are they in on the conspiracy as well?). The President is winning this campaign because Willard Romney is not a good candidate and at this time, the Republican party does not have any new ideas. Romney’s staff is basically all former Bushies. We had 8 years under W., it didn’t work. Tax cuts for the top 10% and unpaid-for-wars do not help America prosper.
I wrote a post last week about what happens to the Republican party following the election. Because I feel like there is going to have to be some serious soul-searching. The Republicans are suffering from Bi-Polar disorder, which is part of the problem for Romney. He cannot make a declarative statement on basically any topic because he will alienate a portion of his base by doing so.
So to answer my own question. Who will vote for Willard? Not enough people to get him elected. That’s who.