Well, the votes have been counted and the voters have made their decision -- another four years of Barack Obama.
Needless to say, my predictions regarding the presidential race and the Senate races were very wrong. Instead of Romney winning the popular vote by a couple of points nationwide, Obama ended up winning by two or three points. I predicted six states wrong in the presidential race -- some of them very wrong like Wisconsin -- and four Senate races incorrectly. Both were simply bloodbaths for Republicans. I missed badly because I was not expecting a Democratic wave that swept nearly every close Senate race and Electoral College state into the Democratic column. I was especially surprised to see Obama win Florida and to see GOP Senate candidates lose in North Dakota and Wisconsin. I didn't do too badly in the House races. Out of 435, it looks like I incorrectly called about 12 races for the GOP that ended up going for the Democrats and about 2 races for the Democrats that ended up going for the GOP (I say "about" because there are still a few races that haven't been officially called yet). I was quite disappointed to see that conservative firebrand Allen West lost in Florida. Referenda didn't go well either. Maryland approved in-state tuition benefits for illegal aliens. Unions won a couple of important state-wide votes in California. Pro-lifers were on the losing end of a ballot issue in Florida. Gay marriage passed in all four states in which it was on the ballot.
When you look at the composition of the electorate and how it voted, it's easy to see why Romney lost. National exit polling showed that self-identified Democrats outnumbered self-identified Republicans by 6 percentage points, a nearly identical margin to 2008. Overall turnout was down significantly compared to 2008, but was very high among Obama's core supporters. Whites made up only about 72% of the electorate, which was down significantly from 2008 which was in itself a year of record turnout for minorities. Jay Cost estimates that as many as 10 million white voters sat out this election. Hispanics gave Obama nearly 70% of their vote, which is even more than he got against McCain in 2008. Women also voted heavily for Obama. The percentage of self-identified conservatives was only 35% compared to self-identified liberals who were 24% of the electorate -- a much smaller gap than typically seen in presidential elections. The bottom line is that a very Democratic, liberal, minority-heavy, female-heavy group of voters turned out to the polls and produced an unexpected Democratic wave.
The bottom line is that these results are unbelievably depressing for conservatives -- far worse even than 2008. Obama won by a landslide in 2008, but at least the decision of voters was understandable, given the unpopularity of Bush, weariness with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the financial meltdown. Voters were looking for a change, and Obama was an appealing figure who appeared to rise above partisanship and offered grand rhetoric about bringing the country together along racial lines as well as political ones. This year is totally different. The country has had four years to see what Obama is really like. He has openly governed from the far left and campaigned for president on an openly liberal platform. His election strategy was based on dividing the country and using wedge issues to try to turn out his base (amnesty executive order, gay marriage, nationalization of student loans, war on women, union bailouts, etc.). Despite his slogan "Forward," he presented no positive vision for the country and focused his entire campaign on tearing down Romney. I got to see many of Obama's ads airing in the Washington, DC media market, and they were relentlessly and almost uniformly negative. By any reasonable measure, Obama's presidency has been a failure. Economic growth is extremely weak, unemployment is just as high as when he took office (and higher when you factor in the huge number of people who have left the workforce), real household income has decrease significantly, deficits and debt are at record levels, his health care bill remains unpopular and has already resulted in higher insurance premiums, gas prices are nearly double what they were when he took office, and the housing market remains weak in most areas of the country. His presidency has been marked by partisan gridlock, with no effort made to work with the other side and to find bipartisan solutions to our debt crisis or to reform entitlements. And of course, there are the scandals -- the waste of taxpayer money on companies like Solyndra, the racialism and corruption of the Justice Department, and the incompetence, indifference, and lies regarding the Benghazi embassy attack.
Obama and the Democrats will undoubtedly be emboldened by this election. Their bogus war on women meme and their class warfare shtick apparently were embraced by the public, so we will see much more of that in the coming years. Obama has already governed and won reelection by being open about his left-wing views; he will not move to the center now. He will double down on his fiscal and cultural agenda. He will continue to circumvent the Constitution when needed to enact his agenda. His left-wing appointments will leave an indelible mark on the Supreme Court and lower courts.
I don't think there is much of a silver lining coming out of this election for conservatives. There will be no undoing the damage of four more years of Obama, but that is not even the worst. The worst is that Obama is apparently a reflection of a majority of the voting public. They voted to reelect him because they idolize him and believe that he reflects their values. This election opened my eyes to realize how much this country has changed. A majority of the public embraces values and beliefs that are completely the opposite of mine. They will vote for the candidate who supports abortion on demand, regardless of how bad the economy gets or how many lies are told about terrorist attacks on our embassy. They will vote for the candidate that offers them the most free stuff or panders most effectively to them, regardless of how much it drives up our debt and jeopardizes our children's future. There is no doubt that the media is deeply corrupt and that its bias throughout the campaign greatly aided Obama. But ultimately, it is the American people who choose to accept the spin fed to them instead of thinking for themselves and seeking out the truth. We voted for four more years, so we will get four more years just like the last four years. Our country will get the leadership we deserve.
UPDATE: I wanted to add a link to a typically outstanding Impromptus column by Jay Nordlinger with his thoughts on the election. I agree almost entirely with everything he says.