Though he swung and missed on his election prediction, Dick Morris is back with a postmortem of what went wrong. The overall reason, he cites, is due to the failure of Republican voters to show up. The core arguments he raises are threefold:
First, Romney’s get out the vote software, famously titled ORCA, failed on Election Day, impacting the turnout of conservative leaning voters.
Second, Republicans and the Romney campaign failed to effectively rebut the wave of negative advertising launched against him throughout the summer.
Third, super storm Sandy froze the election and its related polling, thus making it difficult to gauge where the Romney campaign’s position was going into the home stretch. Also, the storm provided President Obama with a short few days to seem presidential, an achievement many would argue alluded him throughout the campaign (and the prior 4 years).
But the real reason is that the whites who supported Romney didn’t turn out to vote. Just look at the fact, brought to my attention by National Review and Washington Examiner columnist Byron York, that Obama carried Ohio by 107,000 votes (some are still being counted) and that Romney got about 100,000 fewer votes than McCain! (2,677,820 for McCain v. 2,583,580 for Romney). Romney really lost by failing to turn out his base even as Obama was doing a very good job of getting his to the polls.
Why was the white vote so low? Why did so many anti-Obama voters stay home? The immediate cause was the total failure of the ORCA system for getting out the vote. This new hi tech gadgetry had never been beta tested and crashed repeatedly on Election Day. It was supposed to target the Romney supporters who had not yet voted and to give canvassers interactive maps of where to find them and to keep them appraised if they voted. But the volunteers who were to use the system to find the voters had not been adequately trained in their use and the system itself was flawed.
But the failure of the white vote to turn out was also because neither the Romney campaign nor any of the super PACs rebutted Obama’s attacks on the Republican candidate. Unanswered, the attacks transformed Romney’s Bain Capital experience into a nightmare of outsourcing and callous layoffs. Had Romney’s people or the Super PACs answered the attacks and pointed to the splendid record of job creation at Bain and told the stories of the failing companies he turned around, these voters would likely have voted and Romney would have won.