Mitt Romney campaigned for the presidency for a total of nearly six years during two election cycles. He spent and raised billions of dollars with the GOP to try to reach the highest office in the land. He was not the first in his family, his father, George Romney, ran unsuccessfully for president in 1968. On Tuesday night, after the polls closed and the numbers came in, he called President Obama to congratulate him on a well-fought victory.
There are three primary reasons why Romney failed to win the election, even at a time when the sluggish economy made someone as liked as Barack Obama vulnerable. Romney failed to connect with the American people, he was on the wrong side of social issues, and he failed to earn America’s trust.
Connecting with a population is horrendously difficult, but connecting with individuals shouldn’t be. For seasoned politicians, who possess a certain level of interpersonal skills, public speaking and interviews should be natural. Just watching Obama speak makes people feel like he is one of them. He doesn’t look like he’s acting. He is genuine. Romney was unable to morph into the smooth talking politician like Clinton or Reagan. His movements were robotic, his tone condescending, and his face had the tendency to reveal scorn over happiness. It was the same criticisms of his father, who lost the nomination to Richard Nixon in 1968. Romney’s money was a problem too, as he never could shake off the images of foreign bank accounts, vacation homes, and Wall Street excess.
Some could argue he was doomed from the start thanks to the Republican mantle. With the economy growing slowly yet steadily, any magical economic boost that Romney might have been able to engineer just wasn’t viewed by the public as being worth setting back civil and gender rights. Whether or not Romney actually wanted to repeal Roe vs. Wade (almost 100% sure he doesn’t) he would’ve been in a position to make that a reality. The tide also shifted with gay rights, with more than half of the nation supporting marriage equality. Republicans have not become more open, they have only doubled-down. Historically, Romney would have been on the right side of these issues, like when he was the governor of Massachusetts. But that brings us to the final reason why Romney lost, trust.
Romney has been on each side of every issue. Flip-flopping on abortion, gay rights, healthcare, gun control, you name it, Romney seemed to take a calculated bet that was more about him rising to power than championing any sort of cause. He is treating politics like a CEO treats a business, when the two could not possibly be more different. He even had to pick radical conservative congressman Paul Ryan as his running mate, to try to convince the far right wing conservatives that he was for real. Couple this approach with his unwillingness to disclose his tax returns, provide real information about his leadership at Bain (during and after the Salt Lake City Olympics), dodging any sort of military service during Vietnam, and making comments about 47% of the people in the country, and you get a guy that not many people are willing to give the keys to their car to. Romney wanted to have everything on his terms, which meant leaving us in the dark. As a result, he did little to garner the trust of anyone, not even those in the Republican party.
This is his last speech of the 2012 US Election: