Obama’s victory was an astonishing technical accomplishment. . .His team spent four years building a peerless political instrument, a virtual machine, to get him reelected. Both the methodology and the practical approach were nuts and bolts. The president needed to win enough votes among blacks, Latinos, single women, and young people [emphasis added] in the right electoral-college states to assure his victory.For two years, we’ve been saying Obama started with a natural majority--liberals and government workers, plus the minorities, unmarried women, and youth Podhoretz mentions--a base over 60% of the electorate.
Podhoretz also found:
- voters under 30 provided Obama’s margin of victory; he won them by 5.4 million votes (Romney won the over-30 vote by 1.9 million), offering students expanded college loans and youth overall gay marriage, free contraception, and a popular culture connection contrasting with Romney’s squareness.
- The Ohio black vote grew by 30% over 2008, something the Romney folks considered impossible, and a tribute to Obama’s pure, simple get-out-the-vote work that politicos will study, says Podhoretz, “for decades.”
- Obama’s campaign spent four years on maximizing his vote, something only incumbents do (as Karl Rove did in 2001-04 for George W. Bush), along with one year of negativity to minimize Romney’s vote.
- Obama’s advocacy of unabashed liberalism saved him from a primary fight that would have damaged his reelection efforts the way primaries hurt Hubert Humphrey (1968), Gerald Ford (1976), Jimmy Carter (1980), and George H.W. Bush (1992).
- The Obama team’s entirely believable proclamation they planned to spend $1 billion solely on the general election probably narrowed the Republican field to, in Podhoretz’s words, its “distressingly uncharismatic array of B-listers,” making “the $1-billion-dollar laser-guided munition” perhaps the entire campaign’s “killer app.”
The exit-poll question [Romney] lost most definitively to Obama was about which of them “cares about the problems of people like me.” Obama won it by a staggering 81%–17%. Of course politicians should “care about the problems of people like me.” The “problems of people like me” are the root of all policy. Otherwise being a politician is nothing but regulation and management.