Matthew Dowd writing at the National Journal " the Mythic Narrative of the 2012 Election" proposes that the "common wisdom' post election pundit analysis is wrong and based on three myths. These are (in summary)
1."The election was about choice and not a referendum on President Obama". In my opinion it was always a referendum on President Obama which he won, even though his vote form 2008 dropped by millions. Basically because it is very difficult to unseat a sitting president when there is a residual benefit of the doubt about who is responsible for the economic situation. If the economy had been totally owned by Obama he would have been out the back door.
2. "Advertising affected Romney badly." Dowd says advertising basically was waste of money and had little effect.
3."The ground game made the difference." Dowd says no, because the final results matched the opinion polls whether there was a ground game or not in a particular state. Hard to determine if this was so, given the less than one percent difference in Florida. The fact that the result More or less matched the polls doesn't necessarily mean that if there had been no ground game the result would have been the same. A poll is one thing, but it is meaningless unless people actually vote.
With the myths dealt with, Dowd then cast gloom one Republican's chances going forward.
"The nature of the American electorate has been moving in the direction of the 2012 outcome for many years, and this is a troubling sign for Republicans". Again, it was the Democrat's vote that fell away by millions, whilst the GOP stayed the same as 2008. The simple facts are that in Virginia/Florida/Ohio it would have only taken a small percentage going the other way for Romney to have won. This was against a sitting president, with all the resources of the White House, plus a compliant media.
There would be every reason to believe that with no incumbent running in 2016 the GOP would have every chance of picking up the few percent extra it needs in the key swing states. Forget everywhere else, it matters not one jot how much the electorate in New York or California is moving away from the Republicans and how Hispanic/Black/Atheistic/ Gay/liberal/youthful/pro-abortion/same sex marriage they are.
Further, as I noted elsewhere, the Hispanic vote, which the media is making into a fetish, doesn't have the massive significance in Virginia and Ohio (or New Hampshire the fourth required swing state). Also, Dowd makes the same, prescriptive, error that others make. The Hispanic peoples are not a monolithic block. They comprise Mexicans, Puerto Ricans and Cubans, and other Latin Americans, each grouping with its own history and outlook both social and economic. The GOP did very well in Florida, less than a half a percent behind, which result in itself should give the prognosticators of doom pause. the facts are, as I wrote elsewhere, that like all American immigrant groups, the Hispanic population will move into the middle class and a growing percentage will vote conservative Republican, escapes Dowd and his ilk.
Dowd summarizes by basically dismissing election campaigns as a nuts and bolt tactics phenomenon, and advises rather that it is the "big wave, the overall political environment and movements of the country" that matters. This is of course correct and, should the economy turn down further by the end of President Obama's second term, no amount of campaigning or savvy computer analysis directing a ground game will save the Dem's in 2016.
In that case with a Republican win, all the nonsense about changing demographics, and the youth vote, and the growing liberal America, will go out the window. Then we will hear instead about the great wave of conservatism sweeping the USA once again. That we saw this wave in 2010 seems to be forgotten by the analysts and predictors of the demise of the GOP.
The real myth of the election is the leftist one, that it was a major endorsement of President Obama. As Andrew McCarthy at National Review makes very clear, it was rather that conservatives decided there was no real difference between Obama/Romney and stayed home
Dowd holds out some hope for Republicans however, and sees it in a Teddy Roosevelt type of populism. The person he describes as giving the GOP its best shot in 2016 can easily have the name "Sarah Palin" interchanged in the paragraph and "she" for "he". Last year, I made exactly this comparison-Palin and T.R. and found the similarities striking. Dowd is right in his final summary and Palin supporters are right in the name they believe should be inserted in the paragraph.
"And if the GOP thinks this election was about bad polling, or Mitt Romney, or outdated tactics, then it will find it very difficult to win national elections again. The party needs to find leaders and candidates of a new generation and have a brand that is more in tune with the ocean of politics in the 21stcentury. And in my view, going to their roots as the Teddy Roosevelt party might be a good start. He was a Republican populist fighting against both oppressive government and corporations and big business — a Republican who believed in the vigor of the individual, the power of a community, and the value of shared sacrifice at all levels."
Here is the Palin/Roosevelt article AT THIS LINK