Tuesday, August 25, 2015

A Republican Party of populism and the people can easily win with a candidate who isn't lobbyist approved, the opposite of Mitt Romney who exemplifies GOP's deepest problems. GOP must be against ethanol, Export Import Bank and cronyism, and unapologetically in favor of working Americans--Oct. 2014 article, Timothy Carney, Washington Examiner

Oct. 2014 article when it was thought Romney might run for president again:

10/1/14, "Romney can't lead a more populist GOP," Timothy P. Carney, Washington Examiner

"Mitt Romney is a great person and a decent politician, but he also embodies the deepest problems in the Republican Party. He shouldn't run for president.

Republicans, if they want to control Congress or win the White House, need to become a party of the people. Romney may be the worst possible man to take the GOP in that direction.

Romney’s most telling moment in 2012 was when he told a crowd of rich donors that the 47 percent of the country that “pay no income tax” are unwinnable for Republicans, because they “are dependent upon government,” and “I'll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

Romney has downplayed the comment as some sort of clumsy way of handling a rambling question. But he campaigned like he believed it. Romney focused on the upper-middle-class white suburbs that Bush had generally won and McCain had generally lost. The fruit of this effort: he improved about 1 percentage point on McCain’s performance in key Ohio, Virginia, and Pennsylvania suburbs, while losing out on much of the blue-collar vote.

"The Missing White Voter" was how political analyst Sean Trende described it. Many blue-collar voters who used to be Democrats have since been turned off the party’s radical tack left on social issues, embrace of Hollywood elites, and evident disdain towards middle America (recall Obama’s candid remarks about folks bitterly clinging to guns and religion).

These voters, in lower-income suburbs, in exurbs, and in rural counties, aren’t ideologically committed to the GOP. They don’t care about capital gains tax cuts, and most aren’t avid pro-lifers.

These blue-collar voters driven away from the Democrats are loosely attached to the GOP.

Romney, a millionaire who looks like one, was never the guy to win them over. That he blasted many of them as freeloaders for the crime of paying only payroll taxes, property taxes, excise taxes, state income taxes, and sales taxes — but not federal income taxes — didn’t help.

The mainstream media often argues that the GOP is too ideologically extreme to win broadly, and that it needs to become more moderate. This analysis looks along the wrong axis. The real problem is that the GOP is too elite, and it needs to be more populist.

A more moderate GOP would forget about cutting taxes. A more populist GOP, on the other hand, would change its priorities on which taxes to cut. Instead of fighting for lower top rates and lower capital gains rates, a populist GOP would cut the payroll tax-- maybe creating a personal exemption, so that a worker isn’t paying taxes on his first dollar....

Romney’s campaign was also weakened by his inability to attack Obama’s corporatism. Obama’s least popular position was probably his crucial support for the Wall Street bailout. Romney backed it, too....

Romney also couldn't attack Obama's individual insurance mandate or the special deals Obama cut with drugmakers to pass Obamacare, because Obamacare was largely modeled on Romneycare.

The 2016 GOP nominee can't be a bailout-backer deployed from Wall Street and surrounded by K Street

He or she will need to be the scourge of special interests who can present free enterprise as the great leveler and show that government intervention tilts the playing field toward the big guys.

Winning the White House will require a war on cronyism, especially if Hillary Clinton is the nominee.

The ethanol mandate, Obamacare’s insurance bailout, 

the Export-Import Bank, 

the sugar program, energy subsidies, Too Big to Fail-

these all need to be in Republicans' crosshairs. Traditionally, Romney favors programs like these.

Republicans are never going to get back the White Bread vote. They should go instead for the blue-collar vote. That means new priorities. And a new candidate."


A Dec. 2013 article expanding on this, including defining “comprehensive immigration reform” for what it is:

12/16/13, Re-Branding the GOP,” NRO, From the party of big business to the party of the little guy, By John Fonte

"As Sean Trende and others have noted middle- and working-class voters did not turn out for Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election in the numbers that Republican leaders had expected. In the eyes of many of these once-Republican-leaning voters (including former Reagan Democrats), the GOP appears to be too closely linked to “big business.” In response, many conservative thinkers have called for a more populist GOP, oriented toward the middle and working classes and distant from corporate elites.

It is time to reexamine the relationship between big business and the American center-right.

While corporate America has a close relationship with the Republican party generally, its engagement with American conservatism is fraught with complications. Business leaders and conservatives often join forces for pragmatic gain on significant issues such as Obamacare, taxes, trade policy, cap-and-trade proposals, and other environmental and government regulations. This issue-by-issue alliance is tactically useful to both groups and no doubt will (and should) continue.
Republicans as a party, however, and conservatives specifically, should not be subservient to corporate interests on core issues. The American electorate must come to view Republicans as the party of the middle class rather than the courtiers of big business. The GOP “brand” must change.  

While conservatives and business will remain part of a broad center-right coalition,

the key question is: On what terms, and who calls the shots?

Let’s review some history. In 1980, as conservatives rallied to Ronald Reagan, many corporate leaders were enthusiastic supporters of former Texas governor John Connolly for the GOP presidential nomination; Connolly was a former conservative Democratic politician who looked and talked like a CEO. Others liked Senator Howard Baker and George H. W. Bush. Mindful of the Goldwater defeat, all these business leaders saw Reagan as too conservative to win. Most CEOs were more comfortable with a mainstream candidate closer to the political center.

One of the big internal fights in the Reagan administration pitted business interests against national-security conservatives. In the 1970s, hundreds of major corporations as well as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers had joined to form a private pro-trade group, the U.S.-USSR Trade and Economic Council (USTEC). While conservative hawks wanted to curb the flow of military-use items to Communist countries, USTEC lobbied to remove barriers to Soviet trade. The group opposed, for example, the Jackson-Vanik amendment, which placed trade limits on certain Communist-bloc countries that restricted emigration, as the USSR did with Jews and Evangelical Christians.

Cold War ancient history, you say? Okay, let’s go back to this summer and look at a crucial domestic- and constitutional-policy issue. In July 2013, House Republicans voted to remove some federal mandates in the No Child Left Behind Act and empower the states to formulate their own accountability systems and curricular standards. Strong opposition to this federalism-affirming legislation came from every Democrat in the House, the Obama administration, an array of leftist groups (including the ACLU, the Children’s Defense Fund, the National Education Association, the Center for American Progress Action Fund, and the Southern Poverty Law Center) and also from business interests led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable. Former Reagan education official Chester Finn Jr. rebuked the two business groups for their stance: “Both... joined the left...in savaging the Kline [House Republican] bill and demanding more federal regulation and control of education....I suppose this is yet another sad example of corporate America succumbing to big-government-itis.”

In fact, since the days of Theodore Roosevelt and Progressive theorist Herbert Croly over a hundred years ago, business has done well enough working with the regulatory forces of the administrative state. As Milton Friedman often remarked, corporate executives are not fans of the free market. They are often involved in “rent-seeking” behavior, lobbying the federal government for special privileges at the expense of others.

Not only will corporate America readily depart from conservatives on a matter such as state control of education, it also appears to have little use for the various other constituencies within the conservative coalition. Social conservatives advocating life, pro-family policy, and religious freedom; national-security conservatives defending American sovereignty, arguing for a strong military, and working to meet the challenges of China and radical Islam; national-cohesion conservatives aiming to curb racial, ethnic, and gender preferences and the pernicious ideology of multiculturalism; and free-market conservatives fighting statist measuresall these find that business leaders are often either indifferent to their concerns or lined up on the other side of the barricades, alongside the forces of the leftist establishment. Better to shun supposedly extreme right-wing ideologues than challenge liberal orthodoxy.

A major weapon in the Left’s continuing campaign to “fundamentally transform America, as Candidate Obama so memorably promised to do, is what I call the coercive diversity project. This is the ongoing effort to use federal power to impose proportional representation along race, gender, and ethnic lines in all aspects of American life. If women, for instance, constitute 50 percent of the work force, then 50 percent of engineers, doctors, accountants, etc., should be women.

Ensuring that each group is represented in each endeavor in the correct demographic proportion would require a degree of government coercion incompatible with a free society. Yet, with strong support from the business community, the coercive diversity project has advanced steadily for decades. Little by little, race- and gender-based preferences and quotas have replaced the original affirmative-action goal of achieving colorblind and gender-neutral equality of opportunity.

Corporate America was present at the creation of the coercive diversity project. Business executives provided funds and political support and collaborated with activists in promoting “diversity.” Most significantly, they helped blunt opposition from principled conservatives.

In The Diversity Machine, sociologist Fred Lynch details how corporations teamed up with progressives to fight the Reagan Justice Department’s attempt to end group preferences based on race, ethnicity, and gender. Attorney General Edwin Meese met strong resistance from the business community. The Reagan administration surveyed 127 chief executives of large corporations and found that 95 percent “planned to use numerical objectives to track the progress of women and minorities . . . regardless of government requirements.”

When Ward Connerly led a series of successful statewide referenda opposing the use of group preferences in education and employment, business interests fought him at every turn and poured money into the leftist campaigns to stop his efforts. After his successful initiative in the State of Washington in 1998, Connerly wrote: “The most significant obstacle we faced in the Washington campaign was not the media . . . but the corporate world. . . . Boeing, Weyerhaeuser, Starbucks, Costco, Microsoft, and Eddie Bauer all made huge donations to the [opposition]. . . . The fundraising was spearheaded by Bill Gates’ father, Bill Gates, Sr., a regent at the University of Washington whose famous name seemed to suggest that the whole of the high-tech world was solemnly shaking its head at us.”

In the most significant Supreme Court case on the coercive diversity project, Grutter v. Bollinger, in 2003, corporate America weighed in heavily on the side of mandated proportional representation and racial preferences. Sixty-five Fortune 500 companies (including Coca-Cola, Dow Chemical, DuPont, Eli Lilly, Intel, Johnson and Johnson, Procter and Gamble, Sara Lee, Texaco, Microsoft, Eastman Kodak, Pfizer, and United Airlines) submitted an amicus curiae brief in support of the University of Michigan Law School’s affirmative-action admissions program, which was being challenged by Barbara Grutter, a white woman whose law-school application the school had denied. The majority (5–4) decision, written by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, cited the Fortune 500 brief as evidence that major American businesses had made it clear that they supported the diversity project.

I have been using the term “corporate America,” but this moniker is something of a misnomer in an age when executives are increasingly “post-American” and major businesses almost always identify themselves as global ventures. Not untypical are comments from the vice president of Coca-Cola, who said in a speech in 2005, “We are not an American company,” and from a top Colgate-Palmolive executive, who in 1989 said, “There is no mindset [at Colgate] that puts this country [the United States] first.”

Speaking to Atlantic reporter Chrystia Freeland in 2011, a U.S.-based CEO of one of the world’s largest hedge funds described an internal debate at his company. One of his senior colleagues had suggested that the “hollowing out of the American middle class didn’t really matter,” the CEO told Freeland, adding: “His point was that if the transformation of the world economy lifts four people in China and India out of poverty and into the middle class, and [that] meanwhile means one American drops out of the middle class, that’s not such a bad trade.”

Almost a decade ago, Samuel Huntington identified this trend as the “de-nationalization” of American corporate elites. The new “economic transnationals,” he said, are the “nucleus of an emerging global superclass.”

Not surprisingly, the Chamber of Commerce and leading corporations are currently supporting the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), a treaty strongly opposed by Senate conservatives, who argue that UNCLOS would undermine American sovereignty and establish a global regulatory system in which

Corporate elites approve the global regulations in the treaty because these regulations, they believe, would be good for business.

All too often, the interests of corporate elites overlap with those of high-profile Republican donors and lawmakers. The foremost example of this connection is Carlos Gutierrez, George W. Bush’s former secretary of commerce and the ex-CEO of the Kellogg Company. With fundraiser Charlie Spies, Gutierrez has founded a super PAC, Republicans for Immigration Reform, and through TV appearances and op-eds he has become a major spokesman for the push for amnesty and low-skilled mass immigration. Gutierrez fits Huntington’s “economic transnational” profile rather well. As Bush 43’s commerce secretary, he was the major proponent of the North American Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP), which sought to increase “economic integration” between the United States, Mexico, and Canada. The SPP also called for the “harmonization” of security and customs regulations “in all three countries” in order to speed up border crossings – which would have made

Today, Carlos Gutierrez is vigorously campaigning for the mass immigration of low-skilled workers. A few years ago, however, his goal was equally globalist: a transnational labor force for North America. Under Gutierrez’s leadership, the SPP in March 2006 included in its list of priorities the effort “to formalize a transnational technical labor force that could work in any North American country on a temporary basis.” Understanding the effect this would have on the standard of living of American blue-collar and white-collar workers was not then, and is not now, on the high-priority list set by Gutierrez and his colleagues in the corporate–Republican alliance.

American conservatism has in the past few decades become an ever more robust coalition of populist “non-conformist dissenters”: free marketers, social conservatives, national-security hawks, national-cohesion conservatives, patriotic libertarians, etc. Analogous to 18th-century British Whigs, these dissenters are united in their non-conformity to the “established church” of 21st-century America and its prevailing progressive orthodoxy. On the other hand, American business and its GOP allies who do not look beyond “economic man” either silently accept or actively approve the dogmas of progressive orthodoxythe diversity project, multiculturalism, radical feminism,

globalism, mass immigration, environmentalism, and all of the progressive social issues.

Immigration politics is at the heart of the divide between conservative populist groups, on one side, and corporate elites within the GOP on the other. Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama wrote a memo in July to his fellow Republican lawmakers, calling on them to “flip the immigration debate on its head.” At National Review Online, Sessions urged the GOP to “adopt a humble and honest populism” and distance itself fromthe corporate titans who believe the immigration policy for our entire country should be modeled to pad their bottom line.”

The GOP lost the 2012 election, Sessions said, “because it hemorrhaged support from middle and low-income Americans of all backgrounds, and the party must now mount an “unapologetic defense of working Americans.” He noted that Americans oppose by a two-to-one margin increasing low-skilled immigration and also strongly oppose any legalization of illegal immigrants before border security is in place. Sessions made the key political point that Republicans have a golden opportunity to appeal once again to Reagan Democrats, who are, as John O’Sullivan put it in a statement lauding Sessions,

  • an “electoral bloc that dwarfs any other in numerical terms.”
Two preconditions of populist ascendancy are already emerging in embryonic form: first, a Sister Souljah–style rebuke of corporate elites and, second, the development of policy measures aimed specifically at supporting the middle and working classes. To the first point, Sessions on Labor Day chided pro-immigration-reform business groups and pointedly raised the issue of American patriotism, asking, “What is the loyalty a nation owes to its own citizens?” On the second point, conservative policy intellectuals as well as elected officials such as Senator Mike Lee of Utah are beginning to formulate policy initiatives focused on strengthening the middle and working classes.

Barack Obama’s most effective campaign argument in 2012 was that Romney represented corporate America while the president and his party were fighting for ordinary Americans. Immigration is the first issue on which to turn this accusation back against Democrats and seize the moral high ground by speaking up for the real underdog, the American worker. Let us begin the re-branding, as Jeff Sessions suggests, with conservatives and the GOP vigorously and unapologetically opposing all legislation that increases low-skilled immigration and denouncing “comprehensive immigration reform” for what it is:

  • against the well-being and way of life of the American middle and working classes.”
“—​ John Fonte is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and author of Sovereignty or Submission: Will Americans Rule Themselves or Be Ruled by Others? 



Neither political party wants non-college whites:
In Nov. 2012 Obama won "just 36 percent of those noncollege whites, the worst performance of any Democratic nominee among that group since 1984."
................    .
7/28/13, "4 in 5 in US face near-poverty, no work," AP, Hope Yen

"Four out of 5 U.S. adults struggle with joblessness, near poverty or reliance on welfare for at least parts of their lives, a sign of deteriorating economic security and an elusive American dream. Survey data exclusive to The Associated Press points to an increasingly globalized U.S. economy, the widening gap between rich and poor and loss of good-paying manufacturing jobs as reasons for the trend.
The findings come as President Barack Obama tries to renew his administration's emphasis on the economy, saying in recent speeches that his highest priority is to "rebuild ladders of opportunity" and reverse income inequality.

Hardship is particularly on the rise among whites, based on several measures. Pessimism among that racial group about their families' economic futures has climbed to the highest point since at least 1987. In the most recent AP-GfK poll, 63 percent of whites called the economy "poor."
"I think it's going to get worse," said Irene Salyers, 52, of Buchanan County, Va., a declining coal region in Appalachia. Married and divorced three times, Salyers now helps run a fruit and vegetable stand with her boyfriend, but it doesn't generate much income. They live mostly off government disability checks.
"If you do try to go apply for a job, they're not hiring people, and they're not paying that much to even go to work," she said. Children, she said, have "nothing better to do than to get on drugs."

While racial and ethnic minorities are more likely to live in poverty, race disparities in the poverty rate have narrowed substantially since the 1970s, census data show. Economic insecurity among whites also is more pervasive than is shown in government data, engulfing more than 76 percent of white adults by the time they turn 60, according to a new economic gauge being published next year by the Oxford University Press.

The gauge defines "economic insecurity" as a year or more of periodic joblessness, reliance on government aid such as food stamps or income below 150 percent of the poverty line. Measured across all races, the risk of economic insecurity rises to 79 percent.
"It's time that America comes to understand that many of the nation's biggest disparities, from education and life expectancy to poverty, are increasingly due to economic class position," said William Julius Wilson, a Harvard professor who specializes in race and poverty.
He noted that despite continuing economic difficulties, minorities have more optimism about the future after Obama's election, while struggling whites do not.

"There is the real possibility that white alienation will increase if steps are not taken to highlight and address inequality on a broad front," Wilson said.

Sometimes termed "the invisible poor" by demographers, lower-income whites are generally dispersed in suburbs as well as small rural towns, where more than 60 percent of the poor are white. 
Concentrated in Appalachia in the East, they are also numerous in the industrial Midwest and spread across America's heartland, from Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma up through the Great Plains. More than 19 million whites fall below the poverty line of $23,021 for a family of four, accounting for more than 41 percent of the nation's destitute, nearly double the number of poor blacks.
Still, while census figures provide an official measure of poverty, they're only a temporary snapshot. The numbers don't capture the makeup of those who cycle in and out of poverty at different points in their lives. They may be suburbanites, for example, or the working poor or the laid off.

In 2011 that snapshot showed 12.6 percent of adults in their prime working-age years of 25-60 lived in poverty. But measured in terms of a person's lifetime risk, a much higher number — 4 in 10 adults — falls into poverty for at least a year of their lives.  
The risks of poverty also have been increasing in recent decades, particularly among people ages 35-55, coinciding with widening income inequality. For instance, people ages 35-45 had a 17 percent risk of encountering poverty during the 1969-1989 time period; that risk increased to 23 percent during the 1989-2009 period. For those ages 45-55, the risk of poverty jumped from 11.8 percent to 17.7 percent.

By race, nonwhites still have a higher risk of being economically insecure, at 90 percent. But compared with the official poverty rate, some of the biggest jumps under the newer measure are among whites, with more than 76 percent enduring periods of joblessness, life on welfare or near-poverty.
By 2030, based on the current trend of widening income inequality, close to 85 percent of all working-age adults in the U.S. will experience bouts of economic insecurity.
"Poverty is no longer an issue of 'them', it's an issue of 'us'," says Mark Rank, a professor at Washington University in St. Louis who calculated the numbers. "Only when poverty is thought of as a mainstream event, rather than a fringe experience that just affects blacks and Hispanics, can we really begin to build broader support for programs that lift people in need."

Rank's analysis is supplemented with figures provided by Tom Hirschl, a professor at Cornell University; John Iceland, a sociology professor at Penn State University; the University of New Hampshire's Carsey Institute; the Census Bureau; and the Population Reference Bureau.

Among the findings:

For the first time since 1975, the number of white single-mother households who were living in poverty with children surpassed or equaled black ones in the past decade, spurred by job losses and faster rates of out-of-wedlock births among whites. White single-mother families in poverty stood at nearly 1.5 million in 2011, comparable to the number for blacks. Hispanic single-mother families in poverty trailed at 1.2 million.


The share of children living in high-poverty neighborhoods — those with poverty rates of 30 percent or more — has increased to 1 in 10, putting them at higher risk of teen pregnancy or dropping out of school. Non-Hispanic whites accounted for 17 percent of the child population in such neighborhoods, up from 13 percent in 2000, even though the overall proportion of white children in the U.S. has been declining.
The share of black children in high-poverty neighborhoods dropped sharply, from 43 percent to 37 percent, while the share of Latino children ticked higher, from 38 to 39 percent.

Going back to the 1980s, never have whites been so pessimistic about their futures, according to the General Social Survey, which is conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago. Just 45 percent say their family will have a good chance of improving their economic position based on the way things are in America.
The divide is especially evident among those whites who self-identify as working class: 49 percent say they think their children will do better than them, compared with 67 percent of non-whites who consider themselves working class.
Last November, Obama won the votes of just 36 percent of those noncollege whites, the worst performance of any Democratic nominee among that group since 1984.
Some Democratic analysts have urged renewed efforts to bring working-class whites into the political fold, calling them a potential "decisive swing voter group" if minority and youth turnout level off in future elections.
They don't trust big government, but it doesn't mean they want no government," says Republican pollster Ed Goeas, who agrees that working-class whites will remain an important electoral group.
"They feel that politicians are giving attention to other people and not them.""
Added: Sean Trende analysis mentioned in Carney piece at top 2012's 'missing' white voters were blue collar, 6.1 million in number, and with them GOP can easily win without Hispanics. (Today's GOP E would rather lose than be the party of working class whites):

6/21/13, "The Case of the Missing White Voters, Revisited," Real Clear Politics, Sean Trende

"Regardless of whether Republicans could or should back the (immigration) bill, it simply isn’t necessary for them to do so and remain a viable political force.

1. The most salient demographic change from 2008 to 2012 was the drop in white voters....

I did some preliminary work in November 2012 suggesting that the largest change came from white voters dropping out. Now, with more complete data, we can re-assess this in a more precise manner. Using the most commonly accepted exit-poll numbers about the 2008 electorate*, we can roughly calculate the number of voters of each racial group who cast ballots that year. Using census estimates, we can also conclude that all of these categories should have increased naturally from 2008 to 2012, due to population growth.

From mid-2008 to mid-2012, the census estimates that the number of whites of voting age increased by 3 million. If we assume that these “new” voters would vote at a 55 percent rate, we calculate that the total number of white votes cast should have increased by about 1.6 million between 2008 and 2012.

The following table summarizes these estimates for all racial groups, and compares the results to actual turnout.

Now, the raw exit-poll data haven’t come out yet, so we can’t calculate the 2012 data to tenths: The white vote for 2012 could have been anywhere between 71.5 percent of the vote or 72.4 percent (with 26,000 respondents, analysis to tenths is very meaningful). So the final answer is that there were 6.1 million fewer white voters in 2012 than we’d have expected, give or take a million.**

The Current Population Survey data roughly confirm this. As I noted earlier, if you correct the CPS data to account for over-response bias, it shows there were likely 5 million fewer whites in 2012 than in 2008. When you account for expected growth, we’d find 6.5 million fewer whites than a population projection would anticipate.

This is the real ballgame regarding demographic change in 2012. If these white voters had decided to vote, the racial breakdown of the electorate would have been 73.6 percent white, 12.5 percent black, 9.5 percent Hispanic and 2.4 percent Asian -- almost identical to the 2008 numbers.

2. These voters were largely downscale, Northern, rural whites. In other words, H. Ross Perot voters.

Those totals are a bit more precise and certain (and lower) than my estimates from November of last year. With more complete data, we can now get a better handle regarding just who these missing white voters were.

Below is a map of change in turnout by county, from 2008 to 2012 [at link]. Each shade of blue means that turnout was progressively lower in a county, although I stopped coding at -10 percent. Similarly, every shade of red means that turnout was progressively higher, to a maximum of +10 percent...

The drop in turnout occurs in a rough diagonal, stretching from northern Maine, across upstate New York (perhaps surprisingly, turnout in post-Sandy New York City dropped off relatively little), and down into New Mexico. Michigan and the non-swing state, non-Mormon Mountain West also stand out. Note also that turnout is surprisingly stable in the Deep South; Romney’s problem was not with the Republican base or evangelicals (who constituted a larger share of the electorate than they did in 2004)....

What does that tell us about these voters? As I noted, they tended to be downscale, blue-collar whites. They weren’t evangelicals; Ross Perot was pro-choice, in favor of gay rights, and in favor of some gun control. You probably didn’t kow that, though, and neither did most voters, because that’s not what his campaign was about.

His campaign was focused on his fiercely populist stance on economics. He was a deficit hawk, favoring tax hikes on the rich to help balance the budget. He was staunchly opposed to illegal immigration as well as to free trade (and especially the North American Free Trade Agreement). He advocated more spending on education, and even Medicare-for-all. Given the overall demographic and political orientation of these voters, one can see why they would stay home rather than vote for an urban liberal like President Obama or a severely pro-business venture capitalist like Mitt Romney.

3. These voters were not enough to cost Romney the election, standing alone....

Give that whites overall broke roughly 60-40 for Romney, this seems unlikely. In fact, if these voters had shown up and voted like whites overall voted, the president’s margin would have shrunk, but he still would have won by a healthy 2.7 percent margin.

At the same time, if you buy the analysis above, it’s likely that these voters weren’t a representative subsample of white voters. There were probably very few outright liberal voters (though there were certainly some), and they were probably less favorably disposed toward Obama than whites as a whole. Given that people who disapprove of the president rarely vote for him (Obama’s vote share exceeded his favorable ratings in only four states in 2012), my sense is that, if these voters were somehow forced to show up and vote, they’d have broken more along the lines of 70-30 for Romney.

This still only shrinks the president’s margin to 1.8 percent, but now we’re in the ballpark of being able to see a GOP path to victory (we’re also more in line with what the national polls were showing). In fact, if the African-American share of the electorate drops back to its recent average of 11 percent of the electorate and the GOP wins 10 percent of the black vote rather than 6 percent (there are good arguments both for and against this occurring; I am agnostic on the question), the next Republican would win narrowly if he or she can motivate these “missing whites,” even without moving the Hispanic (or Asian) vote."



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