There is one thing that may be overlooked amid all of the post-election punditry. In my month-old “Why Romney Lost” list was this: “People concluded it doesn’t matter.” In other words, it doesn’t matter who is elected. I was not referring to the citizen dropouts or the cynics who think all politicians are the same. I meant the concerned citizens who keep up with what is going on and who understand human nature, arithmetic, history, and common sense.
What if a large portion of those people looked closely at our country’s fiscal condition and concluded that things are going to have to get worse before they get better and that, with a divided country and a divided Congress, there was no chance of moving in the right direction in the next four years? They look at our trajectory and see no possible political resolutions or any real alternatives that don’t involve a major crisis or a currency devaluation, or both. “Why should our side preside over such a fiasco?” they asked. Even animosity toward Obama wouldn’t motivate them to go to the polls to vote against him. Rather, it would be, “Let him take the credit for the disaster. Then we’ll start over.”
That was my concern a month ago. But since then I became convinced that one thing was certain. The enthusiasm of Republicans and others who wanted to replace Obama was very strong — perhaps strong enough to create a political tidal wave. Now I read that Romney got fewer votes than John McCain. It seems pretty clear that many supposed Romney voters stayed home on Election Day. How could that be? Did the Obama TV ads persuade them that Mitt was a bad guy? Was he not conservative enough for them? Was it silent anti-Mormonism?