When the media gets a hold of a specific narrative, it is hard to let go. I would not be surprised to read the following analysis at the conclusion of the 2012 Presidential Election:
November 7, 2012
Romney Loses Expectations Game Again
...But Wins Plurality of Electoral College Votes
Mitt Romney may have won the math in last night’s Presidential election, but he failed to put away his competitor, Barack Obama, who vowed to continue the campaign.
Election Day 2012 was expected to be Romney’s best opportunity to finally break through with voters skeptical about his core convictions and unenthused about his candidacy, but like so many spring and summer primary nights before, Romney missed his chance to seal the deal with the pundit class.
Team Romney was incredulous with the evolving media narrative. “We won the election. Mitt Romney is now President-Elect of the United States. What more do you people want?”
While it is true that Romney won the necessary electoral votes to be inaugurated on January 20th as the nation’s 45th President, an analysis of his vote totals spells trouble for his aura of inevitability.
The national press regurgitated an on-going narrative. A New York Times editorial today said, “Governor Romney again showed that he cannot win in the areas he needed most. He could not carry the coastal states, his vote totals within the evangelical community were suspect, and he lost Massachusetts, the state that knows him best. We’re not sure how he can move forward in this campaign given these results.”
Team Obama pushed back on the Far Right voices that point out that in order to become President of the United States, you need a minimum of 270 electoral votes, and Romney finished the evening with 275. Campaign manager David Axlerod said, “Relying on math alone is no way to win an election. Campaigns have to be about big ideas. The fact is that people don’t know what Mitt Romney stands for, and that doubt gives us the opening and the rational to fight on.”
This theme that Romney cannot close out his competitors began during the GOP primary season, and has dogged him throughout the summer and fall. On Super Tuesday in March, he won the majority of delegates, but it was reported that he did not deliver to expectations. That same month on another multi-primary night, he collected the majority of the delegates at stake while at the same time losing the popular votes in Alabama and Mississippi. Instead of focusing on his growing insurmountable delegate lead, it was reported that he did not deliver to expectations and was in trouble. Head to head against Obama finally, the story remains the same.
“Once I deliver the State of the Union and throw out the first pitch at the Nationals’ home opener, this will all be forgotten”, vowed a confident, yet gaffe-prone Romney. “I’ll bet you $10,000 that I win this thing yet. It’s all about the math. The Obama camp is just filled with envy.”
Obama was not the only politician retrenching after last night’s apparent election of a man who still hasn’t honed his message into a vision that resonates with the middle class. Newt Gingrich has scheduled a meeting with his wife, Callista, to plot his next campaign move. It is rumored that he will also continue his campaign until Romney can prove that he can win more convincingly with “true” conservatives in the South.
“The election night results are clear. The voters are still looking for an alternative to the liberal former governor of ‘Taxachusetts’ and the socialist, anti-colonial Kenyan currently in the Oval Office. If Romney cannot win in my home state of Georgia, then how can he claim a legitimate electoral victory?” Gingrich thundered during his election night victory address to Sheldon Adelson, his lone contributor. “This is fundamental.”
Gingrich used the occasion to roll out his latest campaign slogan, “I’m With Stupid 2012”. The slogan will appear on t-shirts and posters, with arrows pointing outward at all non-Gingrich supporters. “We think it is fundamentally the right slogan for this campaign season since we are consistently right while everyone else is consistently wrong.”
The next scheduled test for Romney’s electability will be in 2016.