Postmortem punditry: 15 reasons Romney's campaign failed

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 7 2012 2:00 p.m. MST

Charles Dharapak, Associated Press
Mitt Romney's loss may have surprised some, and different news sites across the nation are speculating as to why he lost the 2012 election.

Here are 15 theories from various news sites.
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Bellevue, WA

The 47% comments by Romney were characterized by Mitt to be "taken out of context." They weren't, really. They were spoken to a group of wealthy donors, and taped unknown to him at the time! How could they be other than what he truly believed? Ultimately, Romney's true self became the basis for his defeat!

Salt Lake City, UT

I think there are a decent number of people who were considering him but just couldn't get around to supporting him because they had unanswered questions about how exactly he'd pay for his tax cuts and how exactly he'd drive down the deficit when advocating for things like defense spending increases.

Midvale, UT

Rather than skirting the Mormon issue he should have embraced it. Had he emphasized the fact that Mormon ideals are one of the best examples of appropriating the "American Dream" he would have been able to convince more people that he was dedicated to the same ideals they were. But most importantly, had he been astute enough to run as a "Pioneer" and exploited his Mormon roots of an oppressed people so frustrated with the country in which they lived that they left it in order to practice their religion freely--pioneers who were radically dedicated to radical beliefs, the election results may have been different. While Romney truly did have some questionable agendas (abortion for example) I really don't think the election was about politics - it was about character and Romney was found lacking. Turns out Obama is still the radical pioneer.

Woods Cross, UT

Personality and character does matter. Mitt Romney looked like a totem pole on the campaign trail. I mean, Mitt really was so stiff he made Al Gore look good. Obama hugs people. He comes across as genuinely liking average human beings. "Good ol' boy" George W. Bush would have beat Mitt Romney easily. Ex-fighter pilot and POW John McCain thrashed him five years ago for good reason. Romney's life contains no narrative that can compel the average American. Describe Mitt's life without money involved and it is completely boring and uneventful.

Not only that, but the Republican party really needs to come to terms with current demographics. WASPish notions of America from the Reagan era are long gone. Obama lost the white male vote. It didn't matter. He gained the Hispanic vote and women's votes. He held the youth vote. Republicans need to realize that the future of the U.S. electorate is a young college-educated Hispanic female. Sell the party platform to her or you'll never see the White House again.

Murray, UT

I had a hard time voting a man for president; who does not keep his own money in US banks. Either he is trying to avoid paying taxes, or does not trust our economic system.
The president of the United States should not be so invested in other countries banks.

Riverside, CA

Most of these are just liberal talking points.

The one that has validity is the Latino vote. We've never had a hard liner president. The shrill opposition to any kind of concession on immigration has hurt the GOP. It's why candidates like George Allen and JT Hayworth and Sharon Angle lose. George W won twice making it clear he was moderate on the issue. So did Reagan. Romney ended up being the Meg Whitman candidate. It's a shame. He would have been a fine president.

Salt Lake City, UT

Romney lost because he was too much like Obama. The third debate on foreign policy, Romney agreed pretty much that everything Obama had done is the way he would have handled things.

Had Romney ran a campaign promising the things that Obama had promised to win in 2008, he might have won. What did Obama promise that the people wanted then that he has yet to deliver? Get the US out of wars, close Guantanamo Bay, get lobbyist influence out of Washington, single payer heathcare, greater transparency in Washington. Except for healthcare and economy, Romney and Obama are two peas in a pod. Both bought by the same corporate interests.

A poll shown lastnight 49% wanted obamacare repealed, 30% wanted parts of it changed, 20% were okay with it. Yet the people can't elect Romney who ran promising to repeal it.

Romney got 2 million votes less than McCain did in 2008, Obama got 10 million less votes than he did in 2008. That means 12 million people that voted in 2008 either did not vote or they voted third party candidate. If third party, maybe in the future the republican democrat hold on government might be broken. I hope.

Dammam, Saudi Arabia

It is funny, the day after the failure we all know the mistakes, that weren't known the day before?

They left out what I consider to be the biggest reason of all, the Republican primaries paraded a bunch of nutcases in front of the American people. Romney had to bend his politics to get the nomination and by that time he could not bend back to get elected.

The Republicans ran a moderate Democrat who was the governor of Massachusetts during a recession and they lost. To complete the Republicans need to become liberal in ways that the Democrats are not. American politics has this assumption of polarity. Right vs left. It is a tug of war with the Republicans automatically pulling in the direction opposite from the Democrats and then the Democrats hit them over the head about being caring.

Bellevue, WA

To Jim in Salt Lake City,

I think you are mistaken that Romney lost because he was too much like Obama. He SEEMED to be echoing Obama's positions in the debate you mention, but he was really pulling back from the overly aggresive attitude he showed in an earlier debate. My belief is that he doesn't come across as an authentic, caring leader in the way Obama does. We consider a leader's policies. But if we don't feel he cares about us, it's hard to trust him and follow him.

Bluffdale, UT

For me I didnt thing Mitt differentiated himself from Bush so why would we go back to Bush because Obama didn't clean up the mess fast enough ? He talked about closing tax loop holes but wouldn't identify a single one he would close and supported the tax breaks for the wealthy so wanting to add a trillion to defense would just end up increasing the deficit. He did a great job with the Olympics but I didnt see that he had a plan different from Bush.

Mcallen, TX

With the record of the passed four years, Romney's campaign didn't fail. The voters in America did.

Farmington, UT

No one seemed to mention that Obama was the media darling who could do no wrong. That was very obvious through the campaign and during the reporting of the vote tallies around the country from several different national media types. Why they have this love affair with Obama is anyone's guess. We'll see what they say in 4 more years. If things aren't any better by then, I'm certain it will still be Bush's fault.

Mad Hatter
Provo, UT

If Romney has campaigned for the Republican nomination as a moderate in the beginning, it would have probably provided him with the credibility to be elected in the general election. However, he would not have been the Republican nominee because the Republican Party wants an ultra-conservative.

When Romney became "severely conservative" to win the nomination, it became extremely difficult to etch-a-sketch himself back into being a moderate. In the first debate he became "moderate" Mitt. By the third debate he became "Obama" Mitt. People were confused. Which Mitt would they get? The wingnut extremists had given "severely conservative" Mitt the nod and the money, but he shape-shifted and moved to the center.

Now the Republican Party is stunned and angry. This was supposed to be a Republican year. The Party and its money men sank over a billion dollars into the Romney campaign and lost. The recriminations will go on for some time. Certainly, those movement conservatives on the extreme right will blame Romney, stupid Democrats, and want to double-down on getting a "real" conservative as the headliner next time. They'll continue to purge suspected traitors and become even more ideologically pure.


The whole Republican slate was weak. Romney, as a 'fat cat' Republican running shortly after a GOP administration ran the world economy off a cliff, was doomed from the start. But the rest of the field was so ridiculously weak that he barely prevailed (until of course reality caught up).

Salt Lake City, UT

@Romney's connection with Latinos

"One of Mitt Romney's Mexican cousins said on Tuesday that he thinks Mitt lost the election because of the tough stance that he took on immigration issues..."

What does "tough stance" mean? It means upholding the law! If Latinos are opposed to upholding the law, then that is not Romney's fault; it is the LATINOS' fault. We believe in the rule of law in this country. That is an American value, even if a given culture does not embrace that value.

"...unable to 'court' Hispanic voters?" Well, yeah, because surrendering the sovereignty of the United States to a culture that has contempt for U.S. sovereignty, in a foolish effort to garner that culture's vote, is WRONG.

The opportunity to "self-deport" is extremely generous, by the way. Persons with contempt for this country who trample upon and break its laws should be fined and imprisoned and their property should be confiscated permanently, and then they should be deported.

Layton, UT

Romney's party did him no favors in the primaries by choosing every candidate EXCEPT for him. Had they united behind him early on, I doubt he'd need to have made as many compromises on issues that Obama could use against him.

I also think Hurricane Sandy was a huge hit to his momentum. Which, if you figure, is an act of God, you gotta figure he did the best he could--but it wasn't meant to be. :)

Layton, UT

Oh... and I think Romney missed the boat in choosing Paul Ryan. He was uber-weakling, he didn't even carry Wisconsin... and it gave Obama the ammunition he needed to play the race card and scare a lot of voters away from Romney.

Durham, NC

To me.... Mitt just never was Mitt... never knew who the real guys was. He choose to run a campaign of ambiguity, thinking it wouldn't matter to mist. In many ways, he was correct in that a good number of the people who voted for him were voting party line, or voting against Obama. Where he struggled was getting people to vote FOR him. THe LDS block simply is not big enough anywhere but Utah and Idaho to have an impact.

i like Mitt as a person. I hope he continues to find ways to define himself and push causes he believes in. Had he run the campaign he ran the last 6 weeks, he would have had a chance. But the primaries did him in. Obama didn't have that chain around his knock.

Provo, UT


"Most of these are just liberal talking points."

As if those points are not valid?

Guess what? Those "talking points" won the election!

Bountiful, UT

"What Romneyland missed was that the race was never entirely a referendum on the struggling economy "It was also a referendum on fairness".

Yes, if they are going to chip away at the social net, i.e. Social Security which hurts only the poor and middle class, it doesn't stand to reason that the very rich don't do their share to carry some of the burden, which is why the wealthy are being asked to pay a little more in taxes.

To ask the poor and the middle class to suffer and let the wealthy not lift a finger is pattenly unfair.

Riverside, CA

I M LDS 2,

I don't think so. The talking points are just preaching to the choir. They would have voted for Obama no matter what. It was a close election and more votes in the Latino community would have made a difference.

Farmington, UT

91% of the black people voted for Obama. Can you honestly say 91% of them are better off economically than 4 years ago? Of course not. The economy started back just enough that it lost credibility as an issue. What did gain credibility was the popularity of a sitting president who promised to be everything to everyone, a.k.a. Obama care, tax the wealthy so the poor can have more, turn your head the other way with illegal immigration, etc.

It will be interesting to see if Obama really wants compromise or if the master of spend-us-blind and not get a budget passed continues the same gridlock of the past 4 years. I hope for the former; I really do.

Henry Drummond
San Jose, CA

The President's economic accomplishments have been unsatisfactory to say the least and yet Obama won eight out of the nine of the battleground states. Republicans have now lost the popular vote in four out five of the last elections. Obviously something is wrong here that goes beyond Mitt Romney's miscues and short-comings.

I trouble is that Romney had to get the Republican nomination first. To do that he spent five years taking position that were far from mainstream America. I don't think Ronald Reagan couldn't get the nomination in today's Republican Party. As long as candidates feel that their first duty is to get the approval of the Tea Party, its going to be pretty tough going. "Extremism in the defense of liberty" is indeed a vice folks. If Republicans don't stand up to it then they better get used to losing.

Durham, NC

Worf - you keep repeating the same old lines about a failed Obama administration, in particular the debt problem. The reality is so far as a percentage growth rate year over year, Obama has grown the National Debt - if you want to blame him for all of it - far less then the Reagan administration did during its 8 years. Reagan grew the debt level 3x during his presidency, and yet I don't see you proclaiming his a failure. Under the Reagan administration, we lost nearly 400 people to terrorist attacks in Lebanon in the base and embassy attacks.

I don't say this to belittle Reagan, because a presidency is far more than some cherry picked stats. But we can go down with every president that way. Your constant hammering of the same silly numbers means nothing without context. Obama has done good things, and he has done some things I don't agree with. Pretending it is all or nothing doesn't do justice to anyones argument. No one is all good, and no one is all bad.

Romney was a good man who ran a poorly conceived campaign.

Mcallen, TX

Comparing to others, doesn't accomplish, or justify anything. What a president did, decades ago, doesn't justify adding six trillion in less then four years.

Have you noticed how many workers have been laid off since the election, or the stocks taking a dive.


You know after reading all of these comments I can not help but think that I am so grateful that he did not make it. I was one of his biggest fans but to me it was a blessing for him. Our Country is in real trouble. Our President lies all of the time we can not trust him and those that work with him. We have so much debt that is only going to get worst and it is always somebody eles's fault never Obama's. I am mad that there was so many things that did not add up to the votes and I really do believe that there was more voter fraud this time around. Yet like I said in the beginning I am so glad that Mitt and Ann can move on with their lives and not have to try to clean up the mess that Obama and his team have created.

Salt Lake City, UT

When you rob Peter to pay Paul, you can always count on Paul's support.

Cedar Hills, UT

America 'chose' socialism and rejected capitalism. That is why Romney lost. Reagan would have lost too and so would JFK. Elections have consequences and when the ugly unemployment and debt numbers continue to roll in over the next 4 years you can bet the desperate cry in the streets will sound alot like those in the streets of Greece ..."where are my entitlements"??? "Where is my shovel ready job?"

Elections have consequences. The sad part of this is that the remaining 40% who do work and produce in this country are going to be the ones hit the hardest.

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