This marks the first time a minority President, African American or otherwise, has ever been re-elected to a second term. As everyone knows, Obama is the first black man to ever hold the office of the Presidency and the first modern racial minority to do so (it depends on how you define “minority”, for example John F. Kennedy was the first-ever Catholic President, a religious minority at the time, but not a racial one).
Here is Mitt Romney’s 2012 Concession Speech to President Obama, congratulating him on his win.
Barack Obama won the election with 332 Electoral College Votes compared to Mitt Romney’s dismal 206 Electoral College Votes. Barack Obama even won Florida (barely, by 1%) which was highly contested and whose results weren’t known until two weeks after the election. Netting Obama the full 29 votes. Obama won every battleground state outside of North Carolina, including Virginia, Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Colorado, Nevada and New Hampshire. While his margin was only 1 or 2% in some states, it was over 4% and up to 6% in some.
Here is President Barack Obama’s full 2012 victory speech, thanking Mitt Romney for a challenging election race and looking towards the next four years of an Obama Administration.
The popular vote was much closer however. Obama won that as well with 62,611,250 raw votes compared to Romney’s 59,134,475 raw votes. The saddest part however is that Romney got 3 million fewer votes than John McCain got in 2008! Having said all this, it was still winnable by Romney, if he had gotten more Republicans out to vote. Even so, it was a huge win for Obama in the Electoral College, even if each state was not won by huge margins. Overall, Obama’s vote count in the popular vote was down 8% from 2008.
So what is next for Mitt Romney?
Will Romney become a defacto leader of the Republican Party going ahead? Will he do what Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Mike Huckabee and Herman Cain have done? Transition into Cable News, set-up PACs and groups, websites and the like, and build on their influence in the wake of their election loses? (Newt was already doing this before he decided to run).
I hope that Mitt Romney will do what those others have done. He is still a valuable Republican, he simply was not up to snuff as far as his Presidential prospects were concerned. He made costly gaffs like his 48% remark, he was unable to offer a clear-enough vision for the future that was detailed (at least, as far as speeches were concerned. He did have a, what was it? 50-point plan. Sadly, most people had not read it, including myself) and not generalized, and he was unable to overcome the Obama and liberal machine which painted him as a “vulture capitalist” and “out-of-touch” rich career-politician flip-flopper. While he was able to erase a lot of that with his debate performance, it was not enough to overcome the caricature image of him and the liberal media machine, which from the outset gave the “edge” to Obama. And winning with a slight-edge is exactly what happened during the election.
Mitt Romney has said that Obama gave “free gifts” to specific demographics in order to win them over and win their votes. And you can’t really argue with that, from courting hispanics and switching to a full endorsement of gay marriage (for the first time ever for a sitting President), Obama made sweeping “last-minute” changes targeting specific demographics, while frequently targeting “trouble areas” for Romney and Republicans (who had their own set of gaffs that were seemingly legion) ranging from abortion to “Romneycare”.
In the end, I think most Americans respect Mitt Romney and saw him as a respectable man and a strong politician with strong leadership credentials. However the popularity factor and Obama’s personal charisma gave him the edge, and Romney was not able to carry the day; leading to a devistating loss for his party that will be remembered for decades to come.
Having said that, I think Romney and Paul Ryan may immerge from this even stronger than they went in. Their name recognition will be just as high as Barack Obama’s, and while Mitt Romney has indicated that he will not run for a third time, he will surely be fully embraced if he chooses to become a well-known speaker and push his own brand of Republicanism. He surely has enough power and wields a lot of sway over many people, and I think he has a place in the Republican Party and in mainstream American thought that people will enjoy.
And there is no reason that he can’t mimic Mike Huckabee and appear in his own show on Fox News, or do a reality-show with his extended family like Sarah Palin’s Alaska, or build a large and active think-tank like Newt Gingrich, or appeal to the masses through the Internet using photos, text articles, and videos to broadcast his viewpoints and wield sway over any open ears online.
There is a lot of things Mitt Romney can do, and I hope and pray that we’ll see more, not less, of Mitt Romney in the future. He went toe-to-toe against President Obama, and although he fell short, he did not lose by a gigantic margin… I think most people will conclude that it was a titanic titlefight, in which a weakened Obama had to go 100% all-in to barely come out on top. That is no small feat.
While many will be breathing a sight of relief that we will not see a first-ever Mormon in the White House, and blacks are overjoyed to see the first ever black President win a second term, I feel that I have grown much closer to Romney and I will never forget his run for the Presidency. He was originally my second-to-last choice for the Republican Nomination, but I ended up becoming an enthusiastic supporter despite our doctrinal differences.
I wish him only the best in the future for him and his beautiful family. Maybe, just maybe, he can affect change in America and the world just as much from outside the Presidency, as he could have from inside it. We shall see.