The Mitt Romney Electability Myth

The single most recurring campaign slogan that Mitt Romney has reiterated to atomism is that he is the most electable and can beat President Obama. The mainstream right-wing pundits have concurred. Ann Coulter, Michael Savage, and Meghan McCain along with many others keep pointing to the fact that he was elected as a Republican in the very blue state of Massachusetts. That he has an awe inspiring power to woo or trick Democrats into voting for him.

The electability card, the most important card in Mitt Romney’s deck is in fact well overstated. It is of course true that Mitt Romney was a Republican Governor of a very blue state. However, this is not something to run home about, it is very common for the minority party to hold some kind of legislative body or seat in a state. For example, in the very blue State of New York, the Republican Party has control of the State Senate. They have had control of the State Senate for 86 of the last 96 years. It is the basis for the Republican Party in the State, they spend all their time and effort in controlling the upper legislature and maintaining their majority. Similarly Maine, which is a moderately liberal state that is largely under Democratic control during the last several decades has had a Republican in the Senate Seat Class II (the current seat held presently by Senator Susan Collins) for all but eight years since 1855.

The same is true of the governorship in Massachusetts. Since 1953, Republicans have controlled the Governor’s Mansion for 32 years, Democrats have held the Governor’s office for just 27 years. In more recent history, Republicans controlled the Bay State’s Executive office from 1991 to 2007.

Of all the Republican governors the one who faired the worst in a general election was Mitt Romney.

Romney garnered only 49.8% of the vote when he ran in 2002. The three previous elections Republicans received 50.8%, 70.9%, and 50.2% respectively. Romney was the only Republican Governor in 16 years to not receive a majority of the vote.

While running for President in 2008, Romney won just 11 of the 29 contests, of those he was victorious in, only 3 were not caucuses: Michigan, where his father had been governor; Massachusetts, where he had been governor; and Utah, which is overwhelmingly Mormon, the church he is a member of.

Despite a less than laudable record of electoral success, Romney continues to play the role of most electable to the best of his abilities. The more Mitt Romney shows off his electability card, the more it becomes apparent it is the only card in his deck.

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