The Real Lesson of the Election
Also by Jack Cashill today: The Myth of the Missing Three Million Republicans
Each year I drive across the eastern half of the country twice, including the states of Ohio and Indiana. Without benefit of signage it would be hard to tell them apart. Each has an industrial base in the north and a heartland dedicated largely to agriculture. Each state is 86 percent white and has a Republican governor. Over the last 25 years, I think I have stopped at every McDonald's on 1-70 and 1-71, and the service is uniformly upbeat and amiable along the whole route.
In 2008 both states voted for Barack Obama for president, Ohio by four percent, Indiana by one percent. In 2012, Ohio voted for Obama by a two percent margin, but Indiana voted for Romney by a 10.5 percent differential. Some 250,000 fewer Hoosiers voted for Obama in 2012 than in 2008, and Romney topped McCain's total by nearly 70,000 votes.
Despite the filter of a hopelessly corrupt media, huge numbers of Indiana citizens saw through the Obama ruse.
In this unproductive week of finger pointing and teeth gnashing, I am prepared to argue that Indiana tells us potentially more about America's future than Ohio.
In the week before the election, I was invited to speak at my alma mater, Purdue University. As I drove around West Lafayette, what caught my eye was the absence of Obama signs. I did not see one, not even in the faculty neighborhoods. As Obama's unpopularity grew during the last four years, his team at some point decided to concede Indiana. From their perspective, Indiana lacked one tactical asset that Ohio had -- early voting.
Early voting is a boon for the vote harvesters. The vote harvester's mission is to gather unthinking collectives of potential voters -- nursing home residents, college students, skid-row dwellers, recent immigrants -- and get them to vote. Harvesting does not necessarily mean fraud, but it clearly encourages the same. In James O'Keefe's Project Veritas videos, we saw how easy it was for even a congressman's son -- in this case, Pat Moran, son of Jim -- to cross the line from harvesting to cheating.
Early voting makes harvesting all the more economical. Fewer people on the ground can get more accomplished. At an Obama rally at Ohio State, my friends in Columbus tell me, the Obama campaign provided a steady stream of busses to take rally-goers right to the polls, one stop shopping.
As reported on these pages, the Obama campaign in Ohio also bussed in gaggles of Somalis, who were given slate cards and told who to vote for. These people may or may not have been citizens, but they clearly had less idea what they were doing at the polls than the students, and that take some doing.
Students are often spectacularly clueless. Revealing Politics' Caleb Bonham and Lacey Meeks attended an Obama event on the campus of Ohio University a month after the raid on the Benghazi consulate to see what Obama supporters thought of the President's response. The video they created is both amusing and depressing, but it is not at all surprising
"I have no idea," laugh two girls when asked what they think about the Benghazi incident. "I am really uninformed about that," says another. "When did that happen?" asks still another. "I don't even know what this is honestly," says a fellow. When asked about Ambassador Chris Stevens, several just shrug their shoulders and say, "Who's he?"
In fact, college students have always been ignorant. In uncontested states like Indiana, they usually don't bother voting. The election of 2008 was the exception. Obama hit the student world like Justin Bieber, who was also discovered in 2008. That year, students voted because they were excited. In 2012, they voted because they were trucked to the polls. They added the leftward drift to the exit polling data. Given their lack of land lines, it is unlikely that anyone had polled them before.
This pattern was repeated in all the states with early voting. In Florida, Ohio, Nevada, Iowa, and North Carolina, more registered Democrats voted early than Republican -- in some states, by as much as 50 percent more.
This election is over. We lost. But let us not write off the republic quite yet. Obama had nearly 7.5 million fewer votes in 2012 than he had in 2008. A whole lot of people obviously wised up. Yes, Romney had 1.3 million fewer votes than McCain, but 1.1 million of those votes were in California and another half-million were in New York, two states where Republicans have all but given up.
More to the point, Obama had a lower percentage of the vote in 2012 than in 2008 in every single state but New Jersey. The Sandy photo op would seem to have paid off. It might have even saved his election.
Until the dust settles, I would ask the Republican punditry to cease trolling for more votes among new classes of the clueless -- they will always prefer Democrats -- and invest their energy instead in educating the ignorant and tightening the electoral process.