- I was right about 47 states (perhaps 48 when Florida makes up its mind), which was better than George Will and Michael Barone, but worse than Nate Silver, who will have at least 49 scalps in his pocket, and can take credit for calling Florida close no matter which way it goes. I thought that the Silver model had a "house effect" that overestimated how well Obama would do on election day, but that it wasn't likely that that house effect would be big enough to overcome how far ahead Obama was doing in the polls the 538 model relied upon. That's perhaps correct—538 appears to have overstated the Obama-Romney margin by 0.5% nationally and 1.7% in Ohio—but that could just be lucky on my part, since 538 also overstated Romney's performance in Virginia by 1.0%. Silver can be proud of his results, and will be handsomely rewarded for his success.
- If exit polls are right, whites were only 72% of the electorate. The difference between that and the 75% prediction I credited is the difference between Silver's predictions and mine. Logistically, the GOP needs to learn from the impressive Obama turnout machine.
- An interesting question is whether the Democrats can repeat that machine in 2016, but they might not need to between demographic changes and the massive change in the relationship between the people and the federal government. Once Obamacare takes effect, a majority of the country is going to be net takers from the government, and will have resistance to any effort to shrink government, even if the spending is unsustainable, even as these programs wreck the economy and create marginal effective tax rates above 100% for middle-class families.
- That the polls were right shows that the country has moved left. The existing coalition isn't going to cut it for Republicans; the demographics are going to be even worse in 2016 and 2020. And if Texas goes blue in 2024, that's the end of things. Conservatives are a minority of the country. They need to expand the big tent if they're ever going to get back to 270. And there's an easy painless way to do that: stop pandering on purely symbolic social issues that have no feasible chance of becoming government policy but permit the Democrats to raise strawmen attacks against Republican candidates.
- The scare tactics on abortion and contraception in this election by the Obama campaign were ridiculous, but, judging by my Facebook feed, they worked: an appalling number of otherwise-intelligent under-40 voters seemed to think that a President Romney was going to outlaw abortion, contraception, and homosexuality. There was no reason for the Republicans to hand Democrats anything that opened the door to the opportunity to create those scare tactics. Abortion is going to be legal in this country even if Roe v. Wade is reversed; demographics of the electorate mean that gay marriage and gay equality are inevitable no matter what the Supreme Court decides to do this term. Even aside from the right and wrong of it, the only thing Republicans are doing by agreeing to make gay marriage and abortion campaign issues is alienating a generation of voters and hurting the brand of the party. Mitch Daniels is correct: the Christian right needs to agree to a truce on social issues if we're ever going to have a chance of restoring the country to fiscal sanity. Even if you think gay marriage and abortion is wrong, it's just stupid to keep costing conservatives votes on purely symbolic things where the president's positions have next to no real-world consequences.
- The messages of the election are not a hopeful sign for fiscal sanity. Bailouts, entitlement sanctity, and other economically illiterate populism won Ohio, and perhaps the nation. The Republicans ran in Virginia on complaining about Democratic cuts to Medicare and education spending and on opposing free trade. Neither campaign was intellectually honest about the unsustainable fiscal problems we face. The only bright side of this national election is that Obama now owns those problems. Force him to accept or reject reasonable compromises, and accept that the 39.6% top tax rate will be back—unless the GOP is willing to trade keeping the Bush tax cuts for a large gasoline tax to avoid even more economically disruptive carbon regulation.
- The most misunderstood Supreme Court decision of the last thirty years, Citizens United, made absolutely no difference in this election. Which is no surprise to anyone who read the case. Let's hope we stop seeing attacks on free speech based on faulty premises.
- Let's hope the Supreme Court justices are healthy over the next four years. The libertarian insistence that there's no difference between the two parties is nicely skewered by Randy Barnett and Richard Epstein, who have each individually done more to promote libertarian ideals than everyone working at Reason magazine combined. That 0.8% of the vote for Gary Johnson didn't make a difference in this election, but could in future elections.
- McCain supported immigration amnesty and lost Hispanics 68-31. Romney moved harder to the right on immigration and lost Hispanics 71-27. Hispanics are voting on economic issues, not on immigration, and that isn't going to shift to Republican ideals any time soon. Any political gains the Republicans can make by yielding on immigration are going to be more than offset by the adverse effect on the economy for the lower middle class and the increased number of Democratic voters.
- One bright light in the election was the victory of Ted Cruz in Texas. He'll make a great Supreme Court justice some day. The Republicans need to find more people like him, and do more to promote their candidacies. Far too many resources were wasted ensuring that Cruz won a primary over a party hack with no long-term future.
- A dark spot in the election was the degree to which the media promoted the Obama campaign's talking points, especially with the veneer of fact-checking. I leave to others how to counteract that, but in an election this close, it made a difference.
- I'm amused at the cynical pundits who think voting doesn't make a difference, but their op-eds do.
- One more note on the election
- My election prediction
- 2012 election: why Nate Silver and FiveThirtyEight.com might be wrong and Romney might be doing better than Silver thinks
- Ledbetter again
- The libertarian case for Romney
- "They want us to go back to the same old policies that got us into this mess in the first place"
- A Lilly Ledbetter reminder
- Around the web, September 5
- More on vice-presidential vetting
- Lawyers and law firms contribute heavily to the presidential campaign
- Speaking of vetting
- Off-topic: vice-presidential vetting
- Around the web, May 11
- Obama and gay marriage
Center for Legal Policy at the