The Wall Street Journal has one of the best election post-mortems
I have seen.
Mr. Obama's campaign stitched together a shrunken but
still decisive version of his 2008 coalition—single women, the young and
culturally liberal, government and other unions workers, and especially
He said little during the campaign about his first term and even less
about his plans for a second. Instead his strategy was to portray Mitt
Romney as a plutocrat and intolerant threat to each of those voting
blocs. No contraception for women. No green cards for immigrants. A
return to Jim Crow via voter ID laws. No Pell grants for college.
This was all a caricature even by the standards of modern politics.
But it worked with brutal efficiency—the definition of winning ugly. Mr.
Obama was able to patch together just enough of these voting groups to
prevail even as he lost independents and won only 40% of the overall
white vote, according to the exit polls. His campaign's turnout machine
was as effective as advertised in getting Democratic partisans to the
Mr. Obama also benefitted from his long run of extraordinary good
luck. Hurricane Sandy devastated the Northeast a week before Election
Day, letting him rise for a few days above the partisanship that has
defined his first term. The storm changed the campaign conversation and
blunted Mr. Romney's momentum. The exit polls show that late-deciders
went for the incumbent this year when they typically break for the
The President owes a debt as well to a pair of Republican appointees
in government—John Roberts and Ben Bernanke. By joining four liberals on
the Supreme Court in upholding ObamaCare in June, Chief Justice Roberts
provided a salve of legitimacy to the President's deeply unpopular
health-care law. It also helped him unify his party around something to
protect in an otherwise aimless second term.
As for the Federal Reserve Chairman, Mr. Bernanke's latest round of
quantitative easing was an invaluable in-kind contribution to the
President in the final election weeks. It helped to lift asset prices,
including the stock market, which contributed to rising consumer
confidence and helped to counter the damage to investment and hiring
from Mr. Obama's policies.
Mr. Romney is one of the least natural politicians of our era, but he
is a laudable man who ran a spirited campaign on a reform agenda,
especially after the first debate on October 3. He took the risk of
putting Paul Ryan on the ticket, and the Congressman proved to be a
campaign asset, even if he couldn't overcome the strong Democratic
turnout in Wisconsin.
Read it all
Labels: Barack Hussein Obama, Campaign 2012