The Romney campaign made it clear to its supporters that the economy would be the only issue Governor Romney would run on and any other issues of concern to the Republican base would be buried in the pages of the Mitt Romney for President website or sidelined completely.
No doubt the economy was the big issue on voters’ minds, but at the peril of the Romney campaign, they decided to ignore the groups that he would have needed to help push him over the finish line in such a tight race. As Romney was attacked for being “anti-woman” there appeared to be only a concern from the Romney camp that he seem more moderate as President Obama lurched to the left on the abortion issue. Life News reports that pro-life voters were turned off by this move from the Romney camp:
“Barack Obama’s re-election is a tragedy for the country. It is also the latest in a series of missed opportunities for the Republican Party. Voters overwhelmingly disagree with the extreme positions on abortion taken by President Obama and the Democrats,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, head of the Susan B. Anthony List. “Mitt Romney, the Republican Party, and their Super PAC allies never highlighted this vulnerability, despite the fact that our polling of likely swing voters revealed it to be a persuasive line of argument.”
“What was presented as discipline by the Romney campaign by staying on one message –the economy– was a strategic error that resulted in a winning margin of pro-life votes being left on the table,” she told LifeNews.
“The Romney campaign and its Super PAC allies failed to challenge the incredible and objectively false statements made by President Obama and Vice President Biden regarding America’s largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood, as well as the HHS Mandate which forces religious employers to pay for coverage of abortion-inducing drugs. These are issues that could have changed the outcome of the election,” she contends. “This election is a tragic reminder that when the Republican Party ceases to hold fast to an integrated, three-legged stool approach, uniting social, economic, and national security conservatives, it cannot win. Critical pro-life votes were left on the table. Victory was handed to the opponent.”
SBA List polling of likely swing voters found that a majority (54%) would be less likely to vote for President Obama after learning about his extreme abortion record – including that he voted against a law to give equal treatment to babies born alive after a failed abortion (35% much less likely). Key voter groups were also negatively impacted including independents (46%) and pro-choicers (43%).
The Romney Camp also failed at putting together strong coalitions on the ground in a key state like Ohio. The Romney for President website includes coalitions like: Educators for Romney, Energy voters for Romney, Ranchers & Farmers for Romney Former Obama supporters for Romney, Healthcare professionals for Romney, Jewish Americans for Romney, and Catholics for Romney.
Latino and black conservatives, I am told, approached the Romney campaign with coalition building ideas and they were met with a cold shoulder.
The coalitions, however, at least in the key state of Ohio, never really materialized to become effective. According to a source, when the Romney camp attempted to form a Catholics for Romney, it only got as far as a conference call.
The same is apparently true when Ohio based Romney coalition groups like Women for Mitt or Young Americans for Mitt Romney tried to establish themselves. Essentially, although people saw massive crowds in Ohio towards the end of the campaign, there was never a real ground game happening the entire time via micro targeting.
In 2004, the Bush re-election campaign was disciplined in this respect, when it came to building strong coalitions with various groups who could address a spectrum of issues that were important to the candidate. The Bush campaign installed infrastructure throughout the states along with city captains who delegate campaign responsibilities, while the Romney camp relied on small victory centers in various states that were run from Boston.
This election cycle, from the very beginning, was not about who could bring out only their 50 percent. It would be about who could rally up 50 percent +3 or more and Romney was not willing to get off the economy only message to bring in those extra percentage points.