Dan McLaughlin explodes the myth that four million conservatives “sat out” the election rather than vote for Mitt Romney:
So, the cavalry isn’t coming. The number of people who voted for a past Republican presidential candidate and not for Mitt Romney likely isn’t be much above the 1 million to 1.5 million range, not enough by itself to cover the distance between Romney and Obama, and the missing stay-at-home voters did not appreciably cut into the proportion of voters who think of themselves as “conservatives.”
But this doesn’t mean the electorate really is static, or that there’s no opportunity to improve on it. What it means is that the missing potential Republican voters are mostly people who have not been regular voters in the recent past, and many of them may not be politically engaged people who think of themselves as conservatives, whether or not their actual beliefs are. Let’s start with the fact that about 93 million eligible voters didn’t vote at all in 2012:
By no means are all of those reachable voters; the annual trendline shows pretty convincingly that you’ll never get all of them to show up, nor would you want to. But it’s a deep pool, and as this chart from my 2014 piece at The Federalist shows, the total vote tends to grow a lot faster for the party out of power after an incumbent re-election (the “Ch TO” column) than it does for either party in the previous election – the party out of power increased its vote total by at least 11.3% in every post-incumbent election from 1868 to 2008 except three elections where there was another incumbent on the ballot.
There’s good news and bad news in here.
The good news is…
and if you’re the kind of person who thinks of themselves as a RINO hunter or somesuch, just go ahead and cover your eyes for this next bit…
Anyway, the good news is that Republicans and conservatives (and even a few libertarians) will turn out and vote for a right-leaning moderate like Mitt. While I don’t want to restart any of the fights from 2012, even in hindsight Romney was likely the strongest GOP contender from an admittedly weak field. He improved on McCain’s vote total and reduced significantly Obama’s 2008 vote total. It’s no small thing that Obama is the only incumbent reelected with fewer voters than initially put him into office.
Unseating an incumbent is hard. Unseating Black Jesus with the firepower of this fully operational mainstream media behind him was perhaps impossible. Add the up-Googled technology advantage enjoyed by the DNC and the OFA, and unseating Obama became impossible. Romney did nearly as much as could be expected, but cultural and technological trends were enough to give Obama a five-million vote advantage — in an election with a record percentage of non-participating voters, at least in my political lifetime.
Obama was able to use technology to micro-target his voters and turn them out. At the same time, the Media-Democrat Complex pushed false memes like the “War on Women” to push non-participation as high as possible, robbing the GOP of millions of potential voters.
Remember that italicized bit the next time you read heartwarming stories about how Democrats just want everybody to “have their voices heard” on election day. The reality is that Obama won reelection as much by suppressing the vote as by turning out his base.
Which brings us to the bad news.
Next year, Hillary Clinton will attempt the same “poison the well” strategy against the eventual GOP nominee. She’ll also enjoy the same high-tech tools Obama used so such great advantage, and she’ll also have some — but not all — of Obama’s cultural (“First female president!”) advantages and MSM support.
If Reince Priebus and the RNC fail to counter the DNC’s Google-powered tech tools, then this thing could be over already — the election a foregone conclusion of algorithm-powered smartphone apps getting the “right” people out to vote and keeping the “wrong” people home.
Assuming Priebus does have the RNC’s act together and that McLaughlin is correct that GOP voters will muster for any sufficiently conservative candidate, then the election will be fought on two fronts. The first as McLaughlin says, is for that “deep pool” of voters who didn’t turn out in 2012 but might in 2016. The second is to find a means of preventing Clinton from keeping those ten million voters Obama brought into the Democrat fold in 2008 — to either keep them home on Election Day or to bring them into the GOP fold.
The Right has two weapons to use against Hillary and the Ten Million. The most powerful is Clinton herself, who will never inspire Obama’s messianic support. The last poll I saw of younger voters showed they just don’t like her, period, and younger voters are a key Obama constituency. The second most powerful weapon is a GOP candidate with enough crossover appeal enough to deepen the GOP end of the pool.