I've been thinking about two things in the aftermath of this election. The first is the utter incompetence displayed by Romney's campaign advisors. The second revolves around the question of Obama's mandate. Both involve a sense of what America looks like. I tackle the first item above the fold and the second below it.

AN EPIC, COLOSSAL FAILURE OF THE MATH

Mitt Romney never saw it coming.

An epic, colossal failure of simple math led his advisors to model 2012 as a 2004 redux.

When the Romney campaign talked about 2004-type turnout, they were talking about the white vote as a share of the total vote. In 2004, exit polling indicated the white share of the total vote was 77%. This compares to 74% in the 2008. The Romney campaign believed that minority turnout in 2012 would be lower than in 2008 due to a lack of enthusiasm. They figured they could move the share of the white vote from 74% back up to 77%.

But this assumption showed a complete lack of understanding of The Math. A cursory glance at Census data regarding voting and registration should have pointed them to a 2012 electorate that was 72%, white - just as the exit polls showed.

The above chart shows Census data for the racial composition of voters. You can plainly see the white share of voters declining over time. Exit polling data shows a similar share of the vote over time. And its trend is clearly declining, too.

I create two variables to help predict the white share of voters in 2012. The first is the rate at which the white share of all voters decays. I calculated the annualized decay rate over periods of 16, 12, 8, and 4 years. The second variable is an adjustment factor between the Census data and exit polling data.

From these data points, I constructed a matrix showing a range of decay rates and adjustment factors. These numbers point to white voters comprising 72% of the 2012 electorate.

What this meant was the Romney campaign had a much steeper hill to climb to push the white share of the vote to 77%. Their starting point wasn’t 74% from 2008; it was 72%. To get a sense of the Sisyphean task at hand, just take a look at the net new registered voters between 2004 and 2008. That's a 7.3 million registered voter gap.

Here is a chart of voter participation rates based on Census data for white voters, black voters, and Hispanic voters. I've included an estimation of voter participation rates the Romney campaign needed to hit their 77% target.

Based on national polling data from the week prior to the election, this miscalculation meant Romney’s campaign overestimated their total vote by 4 points. Instead of 47.8%, Romney’s team believed him to be at nearly 52%.

As you case see, Romney needed ahistorical levels of white enthusiasm and minority pessimism to meet his turnout targets. I’m no quant jock, but it was plainly clear to me that we’d never see a 2004-type electorate again. Romney’s pollster ought to be sued for malpractice.

(If you've made it this far, thank you. My take on the mandate, below the fold, is much shorter.)

THE QUESTION OF A MANDATE

Conventional wisdoms now holds that Hispanics, single women, African-Americans, and the young swept President Obama back into office in a show of demographic might that the GOP never saw coming.

Listening to the post-mortem discussions by conservatives, I was struck by how foreign this seemed to them. I heard lots of talk of two Americas and the impending white minority. Hell, even Politico lamented just prior to the election how, if President Obama somehow pulled off getting re-elected, this coalition wouldn't provide Obama a sufficiently broad mandate to govern.

I'm tired of hearing Republicans claim that we're a center-right nation. What this really means is that we've been a center-white nation, blind to white privilege. We're near a tipping point demographically that begs the question, what about the rest of us?

The chart below shows the racial composition of Romney voters, Obama voters, and the American public (not just voters). If we truly practice a representative form of government, whose voting coalition looks like America?

And this isn't just an Obama phenomenon. Here are the major party voter compositions over the last 4 elections.

Obama's coalition doesn't just represent the racial make up of America. Look at age, income, marital status, and religion. Again I ask, whose coalition looks like America?

Obama's coalition reveals the full diversity of our nation. It can start building our nation toward a truly representative government. With all voices taken into account, this is what a mandate looks like.

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#### Comment Preferences

• ##### Voter Participation Rate(11+ / 0-)

Census has figures on who reported being registered and who reported voting. Voter participation rates will be higher than what is reported as voter turnout.

Voter turnout looks at vote total versus voting age population.

State level registration numbers will also be higher than the Census registration numbers. Census figures aren't diluted with dead voters or people who've moved and registered somewhere else.

Left of the dial

• ##### Census data is skewed towards Liberals(3+ / 0-)
Recommended by:

Ignore the census...go with Karl Rove numbers! LOL LOL

This is our moment...this is our time! President Barack Obama

[ Parent ]

• ##### Great diary. Your voter compostion graphics(1+ / 0-)
Recommended by:
D Wreck

are brilliant.

We must use what we have
to build what we need. -Adrienne Rich

[ Parent ]

like..now.

• ##### No. 1 Lie: Romney was a great businessman(14+ / 0-)

Can we now put to bed this idea that Romney was a great businessman?  (some RWNJ suggested that Obama should appoint him Secretary of Business!! Ha!)

You don't have to go beyond D Wreck's second chart:
84 81 77 74----what number comes next in this pattern?  Well it sure isn't 77.

No competent business mind would assume that 74 was an outlier in this pattern without some very strong supporting evidence.

And what evidence would that be?  Well, for starters: simple observation or LOOK AROUND! Oh maybe that doesn't work if you insulate yourself in the Mormon rich boy bubble.

I am going to assume that D Wreck put these numbers together since the election on Tuesday and that this isn't his full time day job, so it seems reasonable that "good businessmen" whose futures depended on getting it right could have done the same analysis in a couple of days as well.   Apparently not.

You see, Romney's business "skill" was talking rich people into giving him their money to buy undervalued companies, cannibalize them, sell off the parts or steal the money they borrowed, and leave them to die a  painful death.  There is NO BUSINESS SKILL there.  He got access to rich people via his father's connections.  Frankly, if you had the info, I bet the investors didn't get that great a deal from him either.

• ##### Huh..... appoint Romney?(2+ / 0-)
Recommended by:
D Wreck, svboston

I know our "let us all get along President" wants to meet with Romney and stretch what is left of his arm across the aisle. for this "grand Bargain"...but....but Romney?

Mr Sociopath?..No that would be too much for me to handle...

This is our moment...this is our time! President Barack Obama

[ Parent ]

• ##### No surprise, it was...(1+ / 0-)
Recommended by:

Chris Matthews who said he should be appointed secretary of business.

Left of the dial

[ Parent ]

• ##### My experience in business is that most of these(5+ / 0-)

people who are touted as being so great just were in the right place at the right time and quite often become great failures when they try their hand at a new venture.

And yes, vast piles of other peoples money is a great help.

[ Parent ]

• ##### My favorite Warren Buffet quote ever(4+ / 0-)
If you are in the right place at the right time, the capitalist system is a beautiful thing.
Says it all (at least I heard this attributed to Buffet)

There is no environmental, social, economic or resource problem that wouldn't be helped by 3 billion fwer people on the planet.

[ Parent ]

• ##### Simple demography trumps everything(9+ / 0-)

Which means that the Republicans can fine tune their message as much as they want but if they don't abandon at least some of their base and widen their tent, they're SCREWED.

-7.75, -8.10; All it takes is security in your own civil rights to make you complacent.

• ##### And the longer...(11+ / 0-)

they fail to realize this, the better for us.

I honestly think that's the true thing that "shellshocked" them. They really have an image in their mind of America, and it's full of shiny white faces, with sweet gray-haired grannies and grandpops who look like Wilfred Brimley. These people, with a wife, husband, 2.5 kids, all want to homeschool their kiddies with jesus and creationism. None of them are gay (or if they are, they're in the closet like good people are). They've never had to take any of that socialist stuff: medicaid, unemployment, food stamps. Social Security & medicare don't count - they PAID for that!

Everyone else are encroachers, barbarians at the gated community.

• ##### They made their bargin(7+ / 0-)

When the segregationists needed a home after feeling betrayed by LBJ and the Democrats, the Republican Party offered them a home. It served them well for 30 years, but now there is a price to be paid. Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of theocratic plutocrats.

Conservatives believe evil comes from violating rules. Liberals believe evil comes from violating each other.

[ Parent ]

• ##### you said it ! (1+ / 0-)
Recommended by:
D Wreck

( I think you meant "bargain", though )

"..The political class cannot solve the problems it created. " - Jay Rosen

[ Parent ]

• ##### The Key Is...(3+ / 0-)
Recommended by:

"Abandon their base". They'll have to publicly turn out their racists, as they did Akin, in order to have a fighting chance with Hispanics.

3d party anyone?

"Force is as pitiless to the man who possesses it, or thinks he does, as it is to its victims; the second it crushes, the first it intoxicates.” Simone Weil

[ Parent ]

• ##### If they abandon the base there will be little that(3+ / 0-)
Recommended by:

remains.  It would leave a small center right libertarian party of the 1% and another party of the crazy right wing base.

[ Parent ]

• ##### Thanks(2+ / 0-)
Recommended by:
D Wreck, Thorby Baslim

The radical Republican party is the party of oppression, fear, loathing and above all more money and power for the people who robbed us.

• ##### Amazing data(11+ / 0-)

It's really great to see this perspective and I'm surprised so few have recognized it.

Years ago, a man I respected very much said that the browning of America was inevitable and that we can either embrace it as a good thing or fight it as a bad thing, but that the long term consequences of the latter would do the country irreparable harm while those of the former would make the country better and stronger.

Personally, I've chosen to embrace it.  Yes, the change takes some getting used to if you've grown up in a homogenous area like I did, but ever since he said that to me, I've consciously dismissed every change-fearing thought with his words, and these days, I can honestly say that my first thoughts always go to the things I have in common with others instead of the fears over how we are different from each other.

However, I am surrounded, in this reddest of red state communities by people who are literally held hostage by their visceral fear of "scary brown people taking over. " And I find that a very sad state of mind.  I keep wanting to scream at them all, "Geeze, they're JUST people! Get over it already!"

• ##### Love your comment...(2+ / 0-)
Recommended by:
D Wreck, Lawrence

Your lesson learned, that you were wise enough to hear the message and heed it, really touches me.  Beautiful comment.  :)

"No matter how cynical I get, it's just never enough to keep up." - Lily Tomlin

[ Parent ]

• ##### Wow(5+ / 0-)

Interesting take of the data. Thanks for sharing this, it is very compelling when viewed in the way you presented it.

Would be nice to share with Rachel Maddow for her show.

This is our moment...this is our time! President Barack Obama

• ##### Fixed it?(2+ / 0-)
Recommended by:
D Wreck, peregrine kate
Conventional wisdoms now holds that Hispanics, single women, African-Americans, and the young...
Isn't it time that we all started saying: Conventional wisdom now holds that Hispanics, single [white] women, African-Americans, and the young?

Otherwise African-American and Hispanic women seem to disappear; essentially stating it this way without saying 'white' women is not sound, i.e., it raises questions of duplicated numbers, and also diminishes the role of all women of any ethnicity.

"We will find fulfillment not in the goods that we have, but in the good we can do for each other." ~ RFK

• ##### I've read so many blog posts(3+ / 0-)
Recommended by:
D Wreck, nirbama, Lawrence

stating that African Americans and Hispanics won't turn out in those numbers for a white Democratic contender.

Eh, let them delude themselves further.

While many minority groups are the target for discrimination, few face this hostility without the support and acceptance of their family as do many glbt youth.

• ##### 2004 electorate voted on fear(5+ / 0-)
Recommended by:
D Wreck, wasatch, fayea, nirbama, kurt

Bush did a good job of stoking fear that if he wasn't reelected there would be another attack.  The Kerry campaign was inept to say the least both at countering the fear tactics and the mechanics of campaigns.  Those sort of factors did not impair Obama in either 2008 or 2012.
R-Money tried to fear monger on the economy but he was countered effectively.  R-Money's ground game was stuck in the Bush model of primarily direct mailings.  Obama had a strong local presence with many field offices.  In short, R-Money lost because his ideas suck and his campaign used outmoded techniques.  So much for that dude ...

"The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

• ##### And following these trends(9+ / 0-)

The 2016 electorate will be less than 70% white.   The Republicans need to get ready for an electoral college map in which Nevada and New Mexico are off the table, Arizona is a swing state, and Virginia, Florida, and North Carolina are Democratic-leaning, rather than Republican-leaning, swing states. That's not to say that they can't win or we can't lose, but that the dynamics are tilting in our favor, if we can continue to turn out our voters.

• ##### One of the most baffling things(7+ / 0-)

was how they thought insulting people would cause them not to vote. OR they expected their own voter suppression efforts to be more effective! They had absolutely no logical reason to think Obama voters wouldn't turn out for him this year after they spent the past four years spewing racism and hate against everyone not a well off straight white male.

Stay fired up: now is the time to focus on downticket change! #Forward

• ##### they really believe non-whites are lazy(6+ / 0-)
Recommended by:
wasatch, fayea, nirbama, emidesu, Bob Duck, D Wreck

Throw up some obstacles and they'll just give up. Same with the young; they'd rather be out partying, amirite? (No.)

• ##### In some ways though the Rmoney people were(2+ / 0-)
Recommended by:
nirbama, D Wreck

not totally out in the weeds.  Here in central Illinois, D votes were significantly down from 2008. Why?  I didn't live here in 2008, but my guess is that first of all the Prez was going to win IL by a large margin and as this was for re-election, it didn't have that same history making buzz as the first time.  Thus the less motivated D's just didn't show up allowing the crazy party to win offices that D's should have won.

The Rmoney people were clearly way way off in the contested states were they were either not paying attention or simply deluded.

• ##### interesting analysis(1+ / 0-)
Recommended by:
D Wreck

It has changed my mind on a few things.

It's amazing how the mostly white male talking heads missed all this too!

• ##### EXCELLENT analysis. I've posted links to FB & Twtr(2+ / 0-)
Recommended by:
D Wreck, Lawrence

not

Have a flagon and discuss the news of the day at the sign of the Green Dragon, or hear me roar on Twitter @MarkGreenFuture

• ##### Fantastic diary.(1+ / 0-)
Recommended by:
D Wreck

Boy, does this ever spell bad news for Conservatives.... at the decay rates that you have calculated, one third of the electorate will be non-white in the 2020 Presidential election.

With their current strategy, even midterms are going to go heavily against them in the second decade of this century.

A strongly deserved tip and rec.

"A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

• ##### Excellent Analysis(1+ / 0-)
Recommended by:
D Wreck

Has to make you wonder about Rove et al.  There is a theory in finance that most good money managers aren't really that good, just lucky a few times in a row.  Was Rove just lucky a couple of times?  How could he not see this coming?

• ##### A forgotten fact about populations - people die!(1+ / 0-)
Recommended by:
D Wreck

One fact that seems to have been overlooked in much of the discussion about "why fewer white voters voted in 2012 than in 2008" is simple -- they were dead!

According to the Census bureau approximately 2 million whites die each year, and while some of those are certainly young, the odds are high that most them are old.

A NY Post article had this to say about the what an analysis of the will likely reveal, and some of his postulation may be true.
http://www.nypost.com/...
That message resonated with what the Democrats call the Rising American Electorate: Hispanics, young voters, single women and Asians. They voted for Obama and Democrats in record proportions. It also resonated with blue-collar whites. As Sean Trende pointed out on Real Clear Politics, it looks like 8 million fewer whites voted in 2012 than in 2008. I believe analysis will show they were disproportionately middle or working-class voters outside the South.

I think another factor is not that "the white voters didn't turn out," rather, they were dead!

• ##### 73, not 43(1+ / 0-)
Recommended by:
D Wreck

Look at the last chart in your first section.  Shouldn't the number besides the two asterisks be 73, not 43?

"When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross." - Sinclair Lewis

• ##### I need an editor!(0+ / 0-)

I thought I had fixed this before publishing. Obviously not. Thanks for the catch.

Left of the dial

[ Parent ]

• ##### Would Repubs be incompetent if they won?(0+ / 0-)

they almost stole the election again

Rove runs a criminal enterprise

he had his melt down on Fox 1 minute before he pulled the same trick in 2004 which gave the election to Bush

some people in OH have been on this for years

voting machines owned by Romney's son. Worst machines on the market - easiest to hack

emergency patch put into software. Court case files.

People knew something was up. FBI, Justice dept all over the state. They couldn't rig the electronic totals like before

Rove really thought his cells would pull it off

stories broken by Columbus Free Press which has no paid employees

http://www.freepress.org/

So I ask in all seriousness, if the Republicans had won the presidency with all their blocking of the vote and attack ads, would we be talking about their incompetence??