Beam: Romney faced formidable odds

By 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 jbeam@americanpress.com