Democrats have found their Ronald Reagan.
Yes, it’s true that millions of voters soured on Barack Obama a few years ago, and blame him for rising debt and a job market that, despite having come back from the crisis of 2008, is still limping. He won’t suddenly get popular with the talk radio crowd.
And let’s not forget: Romney may wind up besting Obama in the popular vote when it is all counted. This isn’t some overwhelming mandate. The country is painfully, and probably permanently, divided.
But stubborn doubts about Mitt Romney’s character, and the weight of an unpopular Republican agenda, were simply too heavy a burden for the challenger to bear. In the GOP infighting that will follow, we’ll hear that Romney lost because he was not conservative enough. But remember: He only gained momentum after his Denver reinvention. His moderate streak was not his problem; it was his biggest asset.
He showed himself to be too hard-line on immigration to win over enough Latinos. He couldn’t wash off enough of the stench of getting defined as a plutocrat who cared the most, by far, about the wealthy, and the least about the 47%.
Voters, clearly aware that the economy is on the mend — especially here in Ohio, where unemployment is 7%, including 5.7% in the central part of the state — validated Obama as the better leader. They thanked him for rescuing the auto industry when Romney said his answer would have been “no way.”
It was not by a large margin, but it was enough. The difference came from younger voters, and African-Americans, from immigrants and from women. The Democrats have assembled what they hope will be a permanent majority. (That’s not my assertion. It comes from a very smart, and very depressed, conservative friend who is convinced the country is now in permanent, irrevocable decline.)
Conservatives see a bleak future. Obama’s coalition sees hope.
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