President Obama lost the vast majority of American counties. His shirt tails were perhaps the shortest ever. In the end, he won in most of the swing states by an old formula; a form of giant, specialized patronage in which he invited an entire industry into his domain.
His party lost seats in the House and has to count various independents to hold a tenuous superiority in the Senate. If two GOP Senatorial candidates in Red states had not decided to lecture on forced intercourse, the “lead” in the Senate would be virtually non-existent.
And, for the GOP, there loom Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, 30 Republican governors and abundant proof this is still a center-right country that will simply not accept a sudden convert to “severe conservatism.” Whatever Republicans do in 2016, it must not include nominating a persistent moderate (practicing the same policies called “liberal” when the other party does them) and then trying to energize the base with a more conservative VP candidate, ala Palin to McCain and Ryan to Romney. They are on to you, Louie, and it will not work.
For all the talk of Hispanics changing the landscape, one should spend some time on this fact. Hispanics are a conservative people. Get right on Visiting Worker programs, immigration reform and watch how quickly the electoral math changes.
Yesterday I forecast a small Obama victory. The final results, not in yet, may show that Romney won the popular vote but was swamped in the electoral college. This is the essence of a close vote.
Simply put, no one should feel terribly cocky about these results. There is a lot left to do.