We’ve had nearly a week to digest the election. What we know is that President Obama won handily, having only lost Indiana and North Carolina from the states he had won in 2008. The popular vote was narrower, as most predicted, but his lead is still at nearly 3 percent of the vote. Overall, he is just about where the fundamentals said he would be. Nate Silver pretty much nailed this one.
The Democrats also gained a couple of Senate seats, for a 55-45 majority — not the Republican gains that had been anticipated at the start of the election season, but pretty much what we expected once the Todd Akin/Richard Mourdock show got underway. Red state Indiana actually elected a Democratic senator in what would undoubtedly have been a safe seat for Dick Lugar had he not been primaried by Tea Party candidate Richard Mourdock.
Still, we have learned some new things in the last week.
One is how surprised the Romney campaign was by what transpired. Apparently they believed and in fact encouraged the “unskewing of the polls” that supposedly showed a false Democratic advantage.
A second thing we have learned was how very uneven the campaigns and their ground games were. The Obama folks had been preparing for a long time for a tough campaign where every vote counted, and they did a good job getting those votes out. Despite touting a get out the vote strategy of their own, the Romney campaign was stuck with an untried system called “Orca” that crashed on Election Day.
And a third thing we learned is that it will be a while before the Republican Party settles on an explanation for what happened in this election. Currently they are divided by those who think the problem was that Romney was not conservative enough, and those who think the whole party has moved too far to the right. The smart analysis points to the closed information loop many conservatives live in and the need for a reality check. David Frum has some interesting thoughts about how his party should react.