Posted by Thomas Nephew on 9th November 2012
The Wall Street Journal’s Sara Murray and Patrick O’Connor propose a surprising, but well-reported theory why Romney lost the 2016 election. Despite 2012 being the most expensive election in American history at $6 billion (NYTimes), Romney’s campaign failed for lack of money! – lack of money at the right time, that is:
The GOP nominee emerged late last spring from a long and bruising Republican primary season more damaged than commonly realized. His image with voters had eroded as he endured heavy attacks from Republicans over his business record. He also felt compelled to take a hard line on immigration—one that was the subject of debate among his advisers—that hurt his standing with Hispanic voters.
The Romney campaign decided to prioritize fundraising, but…
… in the eyes of top aides in both campaigns, that early summer period when Mr. Romney was busy fundraising was perhaps the biggest single reason he lost the election. The Obama campaign spent heavily while Mr. Romney couldn’t, launched a range of effective attacks on the Republican nominee and drove up voters’ negative perceptions of Mr. Romney. The problem: Mr. Romney had burned through much of his money raised for the primaries, and by law, he couldn’t begin spending his general-election funds until he accepted the GOP nomination late in the summer.
Digby, at “Hullabaloo,” dismisses the theory (“the silliest rationalization for his loss yet”), wondering why Romney didn’t dip into his own millions, if he was in such dire straits in the early summer. She’s one of my favorite pundits — she ought to be writing for the Post or the Times — and this is a good question that should have been answered in the article. (A possible answer is that even rich people prefer spending other people’s millions when possible, and their own only when necessary.) But Digby might also admit it’s pretty telling that what Romney actually did — whether because he was cheap, or because he had to — was to fundraise in the early summer, instead of campaigning in swing states or fighting back hard with ad buys of his own.