As we noted in a previous post, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney did not lose the 2012 presidential election as a result of Gary Johnson’s Libertarian candidacy.
Johnson will wind up getting roughly 1 percent of the popular vote … but he didn’t do enough damage in swing states to tilt the outcome of the election one way or the other.
Having said that, there’s a broader case to be made that Romney’s failure to attract fiscal conservative, social libertarian voters was in fact his undoing. How else could the GOP’s “electable” nominee have pulled 1.7 million fewer votes than John McCain received in 2008?
At last count, Barack Obama received 61.2 million votes this go-round compared to 69.5 million in 2008. In other words, the lack of enthusiasm for Obama’s reelection that pollsters projected prior to the election actually did materialize. The only problem? There was no corresponding GOP wave to take advantage of this slumping Democratic support.
Why not? Well, one reason is that the GOP made it perfectly clear to supporters of U.S. Rep. Ron Paul that their views on limited government were not welcome in the Republican tent – which chose instead to rush headlong toward the “middle” of the political spectrum. Paul supporters were, in essence, told to shut up and to accept Romney because a) he looked like a president and b) because he “wasn’t Obama” (all prior similarities to the contrary).
Needless to say … those reasons just weren’t good enough for us.
Consider this: Had Romney won Florida, New Hampshire, Ohio and Virginia, he would be president-elect right now as opposed to, you know … a Wikipedia entry that people will occasionally check in the years to come.
In Florida, Romney lost to Obama by 52,338 votes (out of nearly 4.3 million ballots cast). How many Floridians voted for Ron Paul in the 2012 GOP primary? 117,461.
In New Hampshire, Romney lost to Obama by 40,659 voters (out of roughly 700,000 ballots cast). How many Granite Staters voted for Ron Paul in the primary? 56,872.
In Ohio, Romney lost by 103,519 votes (out of nearly 2.3 million ballots cast). How many Ohioans voted for Ron Paul in the primary? 113,256.
Seeing the trend?
In Virginia the number of Ron Paul primary voters (107,451) didn’t quite match up with Obama’s victory margin (115,910 votes), but you get the drift.
Obviously we’re not saying that every Ron Paul primary voter chose to stay home on Election Day (or vote for Gary Johnson). In fact we’ve talked to several “Paul-tards” who did vote for Romney (and obviously the most prominent “Paul-tard” of them all, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, endorsed Romney).
Here’s the thing, though. Paul’s support has never been limited to the GOP electorate – and certainly wasn’t limited to the GOP electorate in states with closed primaries (like those held in Florida, New Hampshire and Ohio).
Accordingly, it makes sense to assume that there was a much broader base of Ron Paul supporters than those who showed up to vote Republican during the spring and summer of this year – a base that Romney clearly failed to reach.
This website obviously bailed on the Republican Party a long time ago … and offered this unsolicited advice to its leaders in the wake of the GOP losing the nation’s popular vote for the fifth time in the last six elections.
But at the end of the day we think Romney lost this race because he simply couldn’t be trusted, because he tried to be too many things to too many people …
Well … except of course to the people who could have actually gotten him elected.