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News from the Votemaster

Republican Attacks on Romney Continue Unabated

After Mitt Romney's remarks about Obama giving "gifts" to minorities, women, and young people, virtually no prominent Republican has come to his defense. Instead, attacks on him have only increased. Even in the absence of them, it would be much easier to blame the election loss on his being a poor salesman, rather than on the fact that a majority of the voters didn't like what he was selling. But now it has gotten much worse. Losers are often criticized, but one has to go a long way back to find any losing candidate who has been repudiated as much by his own party as Romney. Even George McGovern, who was beaten far worse than Romney, was not the subject of such bitter attacks as Romney. The Democratic Party quickly moved to the center after McGovern's loss in 1972, but McGovern personally was not the subject of the kind of vituperation we are seeing now. When he died last month, McGovern was largely regarded as a hero, someone who flew 35 missions over German-occupied territory in WWII and after he entered politics, someone who fought for what he believed in, even if it wasn't popular at the time. It is hard to imagine any future obituary of Romney saying: "He didn't win, but he spent his life fighting for a cause that millions of others believed in." More likely is: "He made a lot of money in private equity and he thought that qualified him to be President. Because then-President Obama hadn't been able to dig the economy out of the hole he inherited from George Bush, Romney almost made it." The obituaries for Twinkies are probably going to be better than what Romney gets, and Twinkies are the ultimate symbol of junk food.

Bold prediction: Romney will not be a speaker at the 2016 Republican National Convention. In fact, he will not even attend it.

Obama Campaign Was Data Driven

While President Obama is a fine orator, a large fraction of the credit for his victory should go to the computer and data nerds who built up an unprecedented (and somewhat scary) database listing every voter in every swing state. Along with each name is a slew of data, harvested from public databases, commercial sources, social media Websites, and many other sources. From all this data, for every voter, four numbers were distilled using top-secret algorithms:

Using this database, campaign workers could send a mailing to a voter customized to have maximum impact. Being rated as a dedicated Obama supporter who never missed voting might get you a request to donate $20. Being an Obama supporter but being an inconsistent voter might get you a flyer about how George Bush won the presidency based on 537 votes in Florida. Vegetarians might get a flyer with a photo of Michelle Obama in her vegetable garden with text from her saying how important vegetables are, and so on. The database cost $100 million to build and the Republicans don't have one (yet). The Democrats got to this point first because the academics and data analysts who built it tend to be Democrats, but with enough money, the Republicans will no doubt have their own version in 2016. That may be good news for television viewers, because the more the campaigns focus on this kind of microtargeting, the fewer annoying ads they will run on TV.

Final House Results Are Coming In

Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-CA) has conceded defeat to Democrat Scott Peters in CA-52, which is located in the San Diego area.

In Arizona, Rep. Ron Barber (D-AZ), who won a special election after Gabrielle Giffords resigned from Congress to focus on her rehabilitation from gunshot wounds, appears to have triumphed against Republican Martha McSally. He currently leads by 923 votes and the remaining absentee ballots to be counted are from Pima County, where Tucson is located, and which is Barber's base.

Another race which was still somewhat up in the air is one that firebrand freshman Rep. Allen West (R-FL) is trailing Democrat Patrick Murphy by 1,900 votes. West asked a judge to force a recount in one of the counties in his district and the judge denied his request. West has still not conceded, however.

Democrats are going to have at least 199 seats in the new House to the Republicans 234. Two races are still undecided.

Congressional Gender Gap Grows

Although Mitt Romney might consider these "gifts," the strong allegiance of women to the Democratic Party has earned women positions of power in Congress. The new Senate will have 20 female senators, an all-time high. Of them, 80% are Democrats and 20% are Republicans. In the House, the 74% of the congresswomen are Democrats (58) and only 26% are Republicans (20). The Democrats also take their women more seriously: the House minority leader is Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and the #4 leadership position in the Senate is occupied by Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA). The only Republican woman in a leadership position is Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), who is #4 in the House leadership.

Also of note is that in the state legislatures, there will be 500 more Democratic women than Republican women starting in January. State legislatures are important not only because they pass state laws, but because candidates for Congress and statewide offices often come from the state legislatures. This imbalance at the state level suggests that the Democrats are likely to hold their majorities among female senators and congresswomen for years to come.