Can Mitt Romney Still Win?

WASHINGTON – The national press is working overtime. “He can still win” and answers to the question surrounding that notion now blanket the American media.

Joe Scarborough asked Howard Fineman on Thursday, “Is it over?” “No,” said Fineman, dutifully keeping the “he can still win” narrative alive.

This would be understandable if Mitt Romney was aggressively driving his campaign to change its current trajectory. He is not.

The other problem is the cascade of polling showing battleground states shifting to Obama leading, with the latest Pew poll delivering a death knell number for Mitt Romney. On who “connects with ordinary people,” Obama is +43%, with Romney only at 23% who believe he connects. This is a killer.

Mitt Romney’s response to the catastrophe he’s living and we’re all watching was a USA Today op-ed that doesn’t even crack 500 words.

Then suddenly on Thursday night, the campaign took the candidate out of moth balls to deliver a barn burner in Florida, so just maybe they’re seeing what professional political analysts like myself have been writing about all week. Romney’s Univision interview had the candidate uttering “My campaign is about the 100%,” after the 47% remark that was heard ’round the world.

The cumulative affect of Romney’s lack of political skills and his campaign’s complete ineptitude has led to a definite shift in the presidential race towards Obama being the very clear frontrunner, which is backed up by every single poll of battleground states, as well as comparing both candidates character traits. National polls mean nothing, because we have an Electoral College system, which puts super emphasis on battleground states,

On Thursday, Nevada’s Dean Heller, up against Shelley Berkley for the Senate, became the latest Republican to walk away from Mitt Romney’s 47% remark.

Paul Ryan went rogue on Thursday, calling the description “obviously inarticulate.” Not even Sarah Palin stuck a shiv in John McCain publicly when things got bad for her.

But on goes the it’s far too early to pronounce Romney a loser chant, even if everything points to exactly that reality.

The best you can say is Mitt Romney is now the underdog, though it would be the first time in world history a man on his way to being a billionaire fit into that club.

It’s understandable what’s going on, because how democratic would it be in the new media, social media era in which we now live to stamp D.O.A. on a presidential candidate before a vote’s been cast?

The American political system in this environment is withering, while revealing the paucity of choices of candidates for office, because few can survive the juggernaut. There are no discussions in the media about Obama making a proposal to which Romney can respond, leading to a debate on issues as the drama unfolds across multiple platforms. Instead it’s all about gamesmanship, the latest sound bite, and who can banter better about turning the the economy around when both candidates are short on actual plans. And let’s face it, we should really be talking to Wall Streeters, because they’ve got us all by the balls.

That was supposed to be Mitt Romney’s case for his candidacy. So what happened?

Over the last weeks, actually starting with Mitt Romney’s foreign policy trip, a word that describes it in the literal sense as well, Romney’s serial mistakes have resulted in President Obama drawing even with him on who can best handle the economy. If that isn’t illustrative of the farce of our economic battles nothing is; one man screws up, the other man benefits; no policy prescriptions were debated to cause the switch. On likability Mitt Romney remains in no man’s land.

Women are giving the Republican national ticket the finger with both hands, which is richly deserved. No one cares if you are against abortion, but people do tend to object strenuously when you start campaigning on forcing a woman to give birth after she’s been raped or is a victim of incest. The notion is not only barbaric, it is cruel.

Any professional political analyst looking at the recent polling data has to come to one conclusion: Barack Obama is clearly ahead in the Electoral College challenge, which is the only thing that matters. Mitt Romney’s continual ineptitude, as a candidate and the CEO of his own campaign, has now relegated him to underdog status, with a hard fight needed to regain ground he’s lost.

Chuck Todd is the first of the media gang that shapes the narrative in American politics to make the turn to what I’m talking about here, citing polling evidence over weeks and weeks to prove the reality Mitt Romney is now facing.

“He can still win,” as everyone across the media continues to chant in unison, but the hill he’s now got to climb to change the trajectory in states that matter, coupled with the demographic divide he chose not to court with his pick of Paul Ryan, is only passable for a political triathlete, which Romney is not.

The best that can be hoped for is a debate miracle.

Until that manifests, or President Obama makes a campaign altering mistake, it’s time for political writers, infotainment hosts, pundits and conservative bloggers and talk radio bloviators to let go of the “he can still win” narrative until Mitt Romney illustrates he’s going to do something to actually change the dynamics now playing out.

Barack Obama is now leading. Full. Stop.

Mitt Romney is the underdog, with the odds stacked against him, because he made it so himself.

“He can still win” at this point is a hail Mary narrative made by the media who doesn’t want to shiv the democratic process, joined by desperate Republicans, conservatives and right-wingers who just can’t believe they’re on the way to getting beat again by Barack Obama.

Because of Mitt Romney and the way he’s running his campaign, that’s exactly what’s likely to happen.

Taylor Marsh, a veteran political analyst and former Huffington Post contributor, is the author of The Hillary Effect, available at Barnes and Noble and on Amazon. Her new-media blog www.taylormarsh.com covers national politics, women and power.

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  • slamfu

    No, he can not. His time would be best used to preach Mormon values for the remainder of this election cycle :)

  • http://taylormarsh.com TAYLOR MARSH, Guest Voice Columnist

    Heya slamfu.

    It’s really hilarious to see the national media, of which I’m a part, try to keep the horse race alive.

    Just imagine if media tried to move the conversation to policy, as a friend posited on Twitter today.

  • slamfu

    Well we still have over 6 weeks to go, and I am eagerly awaiting the next breathtaking gaffes to be made by Romney, his campaign, and whatever lesser known but weirdly ignorant GOP official(Allen West, Santorum, Bachmann, etc…) that decides to speak his or her mind and further show us how far off the path that the current leaders of the GOP have strayed. You just know there are plenty more to be had, I will repeat I expect at least one per week. Biden’s mouth simply can’t compete with the gaffes of the right, although he does try his best.

  • petew

    I am a confirmed Democrat, but even when a candidate attempts to throw a hail Mary pass, there is always the possibility that it may be received. So, because I have seen many polls fluctuate and candidates change leads so often in the past, I am hesitant to prematurely plan for Romney’s political funeral.

    Another good point to remember is that, to Romney’s base, what he said remains entirely accurate and understandable. To give the Devil his due, lower income Americans who do not pay federal taxes, ARE, probably less likely to be greatly influenced by a Romney tax reduction plan because by definition, it will not deliver them substantial benefits such as those that will go to wealthier Americans. However,what I find most damning is the fact that Romney indiscriminately lumped in all of the voters who still have jobs and pay into the SS fund trough paycheck withholding. He also fails to mention that many seniors and disabled Americans, are unable to work, yet have a strong work ethic and do not consider themselves to be totally dependent people who, refuse to take responsibility for their lives–along with the point that even these unemployed elders and disabled people, may not consider it too cool to betray future generations by adopting Ryan’s economic plan, just because those of us over 55 are promised no changes in our benefits–such statements made in poor judgement, therefore, have the ability to influence swing voters who might previously not have been bothered by Romney and Ryan’s proposed health care policies.

    What really offends me is the fact that, many wealthy conservatives in the GOP completely accept the biased portrayal of those depending on entitlements or other safety nets, as lazy people who just don’t want to work. Not only have these “dependents” probably worked many jobs that have taken federal taxes from them during their lives, but most of them have strong work ethics and would gladly take adequate employment if they could. My own father, who died in 1973 held many physically taxing jobs in his life, and also had wages withheld for SS during every year that the program had, up to then, been actively taking them for the retirement plans of people like him. Unfortunately, soon after his retirement he had a massive heart attack and never lived to see most of his benefits.

    It is really insulting for Romney to also lump him, as a retired person, being someone who would not care greatly about tax cuts for the upper classes. Sure, the issue of giving millionaires greater tax breaks would probably not have successfully wooed his vote, but the idea that a man who held many difficult jobs including, sailor, lumberjack, dairy farmer as well as, electrician, and who always responsibly provided for the care of his three children, should be called someone who refused to take responsibility for his life, is greatly insulting!

    Romney probably does not even fully understand why so many people are angered by his stereotyping of those who do not support him, simply because, he and his base absolutely agree on the welfare and safety net issues. Republicans will likely view the video as a perfectly acceptable discussion about campaign policy, that should have been discussed by Romney anyway. So, his base will most likely not be discouraged.

    The real danger, as I have said, is the possibility that Romney has permanently offended swing voters with his inaccurate and negative remarks against many lower income people. But then again, anything can happen in politics and it is much too soon for Democrats to be declaring, “mission accomplished!”

  • slamfu

    Well to be fair, what I said in the first post is a bit tongue in cheek. I do acknowledge there are many different ways this can still break Romney’s way, but considering the number of missteps from his campaign and the lack of them from Obama’s, something big would have to happen for Romney to walk away with a win in November. But you are right, anything is possible.

  • Willwright

    Just thinking he really was their strongest candidate, imagine if Herman or Michelle had gotten the nomination.

  • Rambie

    I’m with PeteW, there is still weeks yet to go. The GOP spin machine is going to work overtime to gloss over this. There is still the debates and chances for “got ya’as” from the Republicans.

    I agree there is more hope for Obama to win a second term than there was just a month ago. But I’m not planning any victory parties just yet.

    Plus we still need to consider Congress. If the Obstructionists –who used to be Republicans– keep the House, and Heaven forbid, get the Senate too we’ll still be screwed.

    I hope if the GOP lose this fall that the remaining moderate Republicans and Libertarians will join together.

  • http://cma-steadystate.blogspot.com steadystate

    Had Romney decided to approach this election from a centrist position, he’d likely be blowing Obama out of the water (amongst independents at least). The problem is that it doesn’t satiate the appetite of “the base” which the GOP has allowed to run around like rabid dogs while never suggesting they lay down, chomp on a bone and shut up for a while. Perhaps Romney’s loss (hopefully) in November will show the GOP that they need to pursue a more inclusive agenda that is about working with the Democrats and our President to achieve common – if somewhat compromised – goals. Perhaps it will provide reason for Fox News to shift to an actual balance, and perhaps it will dry up the coffers of Limbaugh and Beck… we can all dream.

  • Rambie

    We can hope Steadystate.

    For now we have Romney going brown-face to pander to Latino’s last night.

    I don’t think that’s a lighting issue. Was the makeup artist just over zealous or was this on purpose?

  • http://cma-steadystate.blogspot.com steadystate

    Rambie, maybe he and Boehner have been hitting the tanning beds, Jersey Shore-style. Romney is a Snooki fan, after all.

  • Jim Satterfield

    If Romney loses the GOP base will take as a lesson that once again the Republican candidate just wasn’t conservative enough. They are incapable of admitting that they are in fact far to the right, not truly conservative and that they are not in fact a majority.

  • ordinarysparrow

    The Romney campaign is the largest redistribution of wealth we have seen in a long time in this country….taking from all the super pac fat cats without them not getting anything back in return….there is more than a little secondary gain going on for the national media to keep this one alive, redistribution of wealth….

  • ProWife

    Petew,
    First of all, thanks for your service to this great country.
    Secondly, If it gives you any solace, my elderly mother who was planning to vote for Romney did not appreciate being called an irresponsible mooching leech.