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Mitt Romney. (Associated Press)

Mitt Romney. (Associated Press)

Beam: Romney faced formidable odds

Last Modified: Wednesday, November 07, 2012 7:34 PM

By Jim Beam / American Press

Republican Mitt Romney put up a good fight, but the odds were stacked against him from the beginning. President Obama rolled up an impressive re-election victory and won a second term with major support from blacks, women, Latinos, organized labor, the gay and lesbian community and young people. Romney was the favorite among men and senior citizens, not nearly enough to hold back the tide.

The national polls came under heavy criticism during the campaign, but they were right on target most of the time. A United Technologies/National Journal poll done at the end of October, for example, said, “Despite dissatisfaction with the nation’s direction and Washington’s performance, voters lean toward retaining the status quo in Washington ... .”

And that they did. You also have to give credit to the Obama campaign organization that kept track of its voters and made a special effort to get them to the polls for early and Election Day voting. Buses were waiting at virtually every Democratic rally to help voters cast early ballots, and a wide margin of those votes reportedly went to Obama.

Negative ads against Romney and constant reminders of them by Obama also helped the president win a new term. Respected political analyst Charlie Cook, editor and publisher of the Cook Political Report, mentioned Obama’s attacks on Bain Capital, plant closings, layoffs, outsourcing and income taxes as being effective against the GOP challenger.

The country knew the president’s margin among blacks would be overwhelming and they lived up to expectations. However, it was the Latino vote that appeared to tip the swing states to Obama. He won seven of those states to one for Romney. Florida was too close to call.

Obama trailed Romney in the early popular vote, but it went his way as the polls closed in California and other Western states. The president received 59.6 million popular votes to Romney’s 57 million, a 50-to-48 percent margin. The remaining 2 percent went to other candidates.

The tea party folks won’t agree, but they contributed to Obama’s victory because of their hard line on compromise. Romney had to move to the right to gain the GOP nomination, but began to move back to a moderate position after establishing himself in the first presidential debate as a capable challenger to Obama. The president capitalized on that by branding Romney as a “flip-flopper.”

Tea party voters do help elect some candidates, but they also put up some real losers. Their extremist candidate in Nevada two years ago helped voters there re-elect Senate Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid. Two of their candidates — Richard Mourdock in Indiana and Todd Akin in Missouri — lost Tuesday because of their weird comments about rape and abortion. Their losses helped Democrats retain control of the Senate. The House still belongs to the Republicans.

The tea party crowd particularly worries Latinos in the Republican Party. Ana Navarro, a GOP strategist involved in Sen. John McCain’s 2008 campaign and a CNN contributor, said, “If we (Republicans) don’t do better with Hispanics, we’ll be out of the White House forever.”

While we are on that subject, an article appearing in National Journal prior to the election sized up the presidential future of the Republican Party well. Ronald Brownstein said in the reputable political magazine that this year’s election would probably be “the last attempt to squeeze out a national majority almost entirely from white voters in a country rapidly growing more diverse.”

The U.S. Census Bureau in its 2011 estimates reports whites make up 78.1 percent of the population, blacks, 13.1 percent, and Hispanics or Latinos, 16.7 percent. However, whites who are not Hispanic make up only 63.4 percent of the population.

Brownstein quoted Steve Schmidt, the chief strategist for John McCain’s 2008 campaign, on the dismal future prospects for the Republican Party.

“Even (if) Romney does in fact get the white vote at the level (he needs)... and is able to win the presidency with that, he will be the last Republican that will do that,” Schmidt said. “The demographics of the country even four years from now will be such that that will be an impossibility.”

Our country’s best hope for the future is to see some compromise in Congress in order to rebuild our economy, reduce our mounting national debt, create jobs, establish a better education system and restore our nation as a world leader. Gridlock over the past four years has only compounded our problems.

Obama hasn’t done much in four years to resolve those issues, but voters have decided to give him another four to right the ship. Romney offered some advice to the president and Congress during his concession speech late Tuesday.

“At a time like this, we can’t risk partisan bickering,” Romney said. “Our leaders have to reach across the aisle to do the people’s work.”

Romney gave it his best and proved once again to be a statesman by putting his country first. We wish him well and thank him for his tireless and often thankless campaign and for volunteering to serve the country we know he loves. That serious responsibility now rests on the shoulders of President Obama.


Jim Beam, the retired editor of the American Press, has covered people and politics for more than five decades. Contact him at 494-4025 or

Posted By: miranda arnold On: 11/13/2012

Title: racism

This is by far the most biased article I have ever seen in my life. It sickens me that in a country that was founded on immigration can be so hateful. Mr.Beam you ought to feel ashamed of yourself for adding fuel to the fire. Do we forget who our ancestors were and where they came from. Who is really a "white" person? I have bared children who don blonde and red hair but yet I am dutch and creole. My ancestors fled germany when hitler starting taking power and came to America as immigrants. I am considered a white woman but do not want to be deemed just white. Mitt Romney stacked the odds against himself by calling out a 47% statement about the people who are the back bone of this country, the middle class. But us "lazy jobless" people sure did get out there to vote and make sure he did not win. To blame it on race is a huge cop-out and you should take a look in your roots for what race you really belong too.

Posted By: Steven Babin On: 11/8/2012

Title: Babin: Beam drinks too much of his namesake.

Your article is so disturbing. In an attempt to question the legitimacy of the election you setup an exclusionary divisionary assessment of the results. Are you suggesting that the racial makeup of the electorate makes a win or a loss not a win or a loss? I would suggest that in your five years of covering politics you look around and see people for who they are as an individual and not what group you can pigeon hole them into to make them less important.
In addition to suggest that no one who is white can be elected in the future is incredibly week and defeatist. True statesmen often rise above their individual circumstances to meet a challenge. So I wish you some ability to see past the stereotyping and racism in all directions so you can be part of the reaching across the aisle and not the segregation that is so un-productive.
And just for the record we (white western European settlers to North America) are not the only Americans. America is comprised of three continents North, Central and South and in point of fact Mexico is in North America just like the United States. So just say in the future, if you would, that the elections were held and the people of the United States of America have made their choice.
Our country’s best hope for the future is to see racism, bigotry, and lobbyists leave Congress in order to rebuild our economy, reduce our mounting national debt, create jobs, establish a better education system and restore our nation as a world leader. Gridlock created by racism, bigotry and lobbyists over the past four years has only compounded our problems.
I know, my opinion won't get printed and doesn’t matter because I must be one of "those people". Wrong again.

Posted By: whiteguy On: 11/8/2012

Title: Democrats encourage the right wing, fascist, block of haters within the republican party

I encourage all my republican, angry white men friends to continue hating illegals and talking trash about the Hispanic/Latino citizens within this country. I also need you to be so angry and shrill that the moderate voices within your party will be afraid to speak up. I will do my part by reminding republican candidates they need to be crazy acting or they will lose their own primary race. I will also try and help people forget what happened to the senate seat once held by moderate, Richard Luger, in Indiana when he lost to a hater during the republican primary there.

Posted By: Brad Naksuthin On: 11/8/2012

Title: tough choice for white Republicans

Republicans have to start learning to mix with other races and cultures.
The world is getting smaller....and in the world whites are the minority group compared to other races.
The face of the Republican party is still largely white. You could see that in all the Romney election rallies...a sea of white faces
Until Republicans feel comfortable sitting at the same table as a first generation Mexican immigrant, they are going to have a hard time attracting the Latino vote. Even Asians...who are generally very conservative went for Obama.
That's because Democrats have always been welcoming to different races and cultures , different lifestyles, different beliefs: Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, agnostics, gays, transgenders, Mexicans, Asians,'ll find most of them under the Democratic Big Tent.
Republicans...mostly white, mostly Christian, mostly male.

Posted By: Roger Baldwin On: 11/8/2012

Title: There are still dinosaurs runnin' around out there.

Great article. Given all you say, and I couldn't agree more, how can there exist out there such a large (elected every two years) majority in the House of Representitives? Just doesn't make sense to me.

Posted By: Max On: 11/8/2012


Excellent article, its a shame that Romney won't be given the chance to lead this country - we needed him.

Posted By: Corro'll Driskell On: 11/8/2012

Title: Volunteer?

Our statesmen, congressional members, political representatives... or what ever you want to call them DO NOT VOLUNTEER!!! They receive a hefty pay and benefits. We should get back to the basics. Starting with.... TERM LIMITS. We have grown tired of the corruptions and grand standing.

Posted By: Steve Fix On: 11/8/2012

Title: 20/20 Hindsight

Before I comment let me state that I did not vote for either major party candidate.
Unemployment at very high levels, gas prices at very high levels, 2 unwinnable wars, irrational hatred
of ” Obamacare,” and a Black man as President and a huge Republican war-chest & you say the odds were stacked against Romney?

Posted By: JR Cleveland On: 11/8/2012

Title: Sour Grapes

Sounds like sour grapes to me. The best man one. Period. Thank God.

Posted By: Jim On: 11/8/2012

Title: Mr. Romney

If Mitt had campaigned in the same personal manner and concern for the entire country as he did in his concession speech he most likely would be President today

Posted By: Phil Compton On: 11/8/2012

Title: Gridlock the fault of GOP

Commentators like you mention gridlock as if it is all the Presdient's fault. That is such nonsense - the GOP leadership announced the day after the election of 2008 that its primary goal would be to defeat Obama in 2012, and they prceeded to say no to each and every attempt to work together on any bi-partisan compromise. It takes two to tango, but the GOP refused for 4 years to work with this President to create jobs just so they could blame him for not creating jobs.
Now it is entirely on their shoulders: will they continue their obstinate ways, or will they finally work with Democrats and the President to address the nation's needs? We'll see, but til then, it's time for you and all other commentators to drop this falsehood. The nation has seen through the GOP's cynical game and it should now be over. Does the GOP care about America or only themselves? Time to show what you're made of, Republicans, cause America is on to you.

Posted By: mike petersen On: 11/8/2012


"The tea party folks won’t agree, but they contributed to Obama’s victory because of their hard line on compromise". You need to bury the Tea party before they bury the GOP. No compromise will give you no progress.

Posted By: Don Jones On: 11/8/2012

Title: Romney/Ryan did themselves in

You might want to mention that 50 million Americans are without health care and Romney/Ryan does not care about these folks. We rejected a Bush 3.0 administration and will do so again if necessary.

Posted By: Fbowman On: 11/8/2012

Title: MEDIA

You forgot to mention the press covering for Obama's lies and his lousy record on the economy played a big part too.

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