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Old Nov 9, 2012, 11:07 AM   #1
Blue Velvet
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Clown Shoes: The Incompetence of the Romney Campaign

There are many reasons why Mitt Romney lost, but remember how we were told that he was an organisational genius? And that electing him would put a data-driven business guy in charge of the country?

Various stories emanating from the wreckage of the Romney campaign tell a different story:


Databases and GOTV

Quote:
Then at 6PM they admitted they had issued the wrong PINs to every volunteer in Colorado, and reissued new PINs (which also didn’t work). Meanwhile, counties where we had hundreds of volunteers, such as Denver Colorado, showed zero volunteers in the system all day, but we weren’t allowed to add them. In one area, the head of the Republican Party plus 10 volunteers were all locked out. The system went down for a half hour during peak voting, but for hundreds or more, it never worked all day. Many of the poll watchers I spoke with were very discouraged. Many members of our phone bank got up and left.

http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Governm...d-Its-Own-Vote

Quote:
Now a note about the technology itself. For starters, this was billed as an "app" when it was actually a mobile-optimized website (or "web app"). For days I saw people on Twitter saying they couldn't find the app on the Android Market or iTunes and couldn't download it. Well, that's because it didn't exist. It was a website. This created a ton of confusion. Not to mention that they didn't even "turn it on" until 6AM in the morning, so people couldn't properly familiarize themselves with how it worked on their personal phone beforehand.

Next, and this part I find mind-boggingly absurd, the web address was located at "https://www.whateveritwas.com/orca". Notice the "s" after http. This denotes it's a secure connection, something that's used for e-commerce and web-based email. So far, so good. The problem is that they didn't auto-forward the regular "http" to "https" and as a result, many people got a blank page and thought the system was down. Setting up forwarding is the simplest thing in the world and only takes seconds, but they failed to do it. This is compounded by the fact that mobile browsers default to "http" when you just start with "www" (as 95% of the world does).

By 2PM, I had completely given up. I finally got ahold of someone at around 1PM and I never heard back. From what I understand, the entire system crashed at around 4PM. I'm not sure if that's true, but it wouldn't surprise me. I decided to wait for my wife to get home from work to vote, which meant going very late (around 6:15PM). Here's the kicker, I never got a call to go out and vote. So, who the hell knows if that end of it was working either.

So, the end result was that 30,000+ of the most active and fired-up volunteers were wandering around confused and frustrated when they could have been doing anything else to help. Like driving people to the polls, phone-banking, walking door-to-door, etc. We lost by fairly small margins in Florida, Virginia, Ohio and Colorado. If this had worked could it have closed the gap? I sure hope not for my sanity's sake.

http://ace.mu.nu/archives/334783.php

Polling

Quote:
...they believed the public/media polls were skewed - they thought those polls oversampled Democrats and didn't reflect Republican enthusiasm. They based their own internal polls on turnout levels more favorable to Romney. That was a grave miscalculation, as they would see on election night.

Those assumptions drove their campaign strategy: their internal polling showed them leading in key states, so they decided to make a play for a broad victory: go to places like Pennsylvania while also playing it safe in the last two weeks.

Those assessments were wrong.

They made three key miscalculations, in part because this race bucked historical trends:

1. They misread turnout. They expected it to be between 2004 and 2008 levels, with a plus-2 or plus-3 Democratic electorate, instead of plus-7 as it was in 2008. Their assumptions were wrong on both sides: The president's base turned out and Romney's did not. More African-Americans voted in Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina and Florida than in 2008. And fewer Republicans did: Romney got just over 2 million fewer votes than John McCain.

2. Independents. State polls showed Romney winning big among independents. Historically, any candidate polling that well among independents wins. But as it turned out, many of those independents were former Republicans who now self-identify as independents. The state polls weren't oversampling Democrats and undersampling Republicans - there just weren't as many Republicans this time because they were calling themselves independents.

3. Undecided voters. The perception is they always break for the challenger, since people know the incumbent and would have decided already if they were backing him. Romney was counting on that trend to continue. Instead, exit polls show Mr. Obama won among people who made up their minds on Election Day and in the few days before the election. So maybe Romney, after running for six years, was in the same position as the incumbent.

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-250_162-...Num=2&tag=page

Money

Quote:
Back in spring, the Romney campaign's biggest worry was money. So the campaign's finance chair, Spencer Zwick, huddled with political director Rich Beeson to craft a complex schedule that took Mr. Romney to the cities that were prime real estate for fundraising.

It meant visits to places like California, Texas and New York—none of which were important political battlegrounds—while only allowing for quick side trips to swing states that Mr. Romney would need to win to become president.

On one level the strategy worked: Mr. Romney ultimately garnered some $800 million or more, putting him in close competition with Mr. Obama's robust fundraising effort.

But Mr. Romney paid a deep political price. The fundraising marathon reduced his ability to deliver his own message to voters just as the Obama campaign was stepping in to define the Republican candidate on its terms. Mr. Romney's heavy wooing of conservative donors limited his ability to move his campaign positions to the center, to appeal to moderate and independent donors.

The search for cash led him to a Florida mansion for a private fundraiser where Mr. Romney would make the deeply damaging, secretly recorded remarks where he disparaged and dismissed the 47% of Americans who don't pay taxes.

In the end, Mr. Romney lost nearly every swing state.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000...729306074.html


This is what happens when klutzes are put in charge. America, you just dodged a hail of bullets.
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Old Nov 9, 2012, 11:18 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Blue Velvet View Post
This is what happens when klutzes are put in charge. America, you just dodged a hail of bullets.
I feel like it was...
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Old Nov 9, 2012, 11:36 AM   #3
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As much as I dislike the GOP, there are things that must be really terrible about being their candidate. It starts with an argument over who is the most conservative followed by a partial rebranding to ensure the candidate is palatable to swing state voters. At times I wish voting was compulsory so that part of the issue wasn't pandering to to extremists in hope of a strong turnout.
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Old Nov 9, 2012, 12:28 PM   #4
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It's very hard to be a candidate of a party that is silently half moderate, while the other half is kicking and screaming about how stop signs infringe on their freedom. I guess Romney did the best he could by not committing to either.
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Old Nov 9, 2012, 02:02 PM   #5
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It's very hard to be a candidate of a party that is silently half moderate, while the other half is kicking and screaming about how stop signs infringe on their freedom. I guess Romney did the best he could by not committing to either.
Bull ****! As the candidate for president, he should have taken a leadership role, not a pweese vote for me role.
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Old Nov 9, 2012, 02:05 PM   #6
MadeTheSwitch
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Originally Posted by Blue Velvet View Post
There are many reasons why Mitt Romney lost, but remember how we were told that he was an organisational genius? And that electing him would put a data-driven business guy in charge of the country?

Various stories emanating from the wreckage of the Romney campaign tell a different story:


Databases and GOTV
http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Governm...d-Its-Own-Vote
Wow. That comment section on that site was eye opening. There were a few good comments, but most of them want to blame someone else for their own failings. "It was hackers"!! Most of them don't want to even see the Romney campaign as incompetent in any way shape or form. Just watching them these many months they have seemed disorganized. So these internal horror stories are not surprising. I guess the stupid claims of illegal voting and hacking aren't surprising either, but if they want to win elections in the future they will have to do a bit of soul searching, not blame the other guy for their loss.
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Old Nov 9, 2012, 02:23 PM   #7
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I guess the stupid claims of illegal voting and hacking aren't surprising either, but if they want to win elections in the future they will have to do a bit of soul searching, not blame the other guy for their loss.
I dunno, I kind of blame the other guy for Obama's win. Objectively speaking, the GOP could have put almost any of their fools forward and won. Palin, Cain, Bachman, Perry, etc... it shouldnt' have mattered.

Thankfully, they chose the one candidate with absolutely no "fire" and no "convictions."

(edit) In case anyone connected to the "right" is here, yes, I'm suggesting that you guys should have gone farther to the right, and you should certainly go way, way to the right next time too.
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 07:44 AM   #8
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Can't find the article I read but it basically said financial expert Romney, who raised more money than Obama, wasn't able to get as many ads on the air as the Obama campaign managed their money a lot better. It also spoke to Romney paying his campaign people rates that were much higher than ever before thus leaving less money for ads and other campaign initiatives. Hardly the fiscal genius he tried to have us believe he was.
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 08:31 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by rdowns View Post
Can't find the article I read but it basically said financial expert Romney, who raised more money than Obama, wasn't able to get as many ads on the air as the Obama campaign managed their money a lot better. It also spoke to Romney paying his campaign people rates that were much higher than ever before thus leaving less money for ads and other campaign initiatives. Hardly the fiscal genius he tried to have us believe he was.
I heard something about that too, but the impression I got about the ad buys was that the Obama campaign was able to pre-buy and lock in lower rates before Romney had a lock on the nomination, which is a great advantage the incumbent has, especially in a long protracted primary.

E.g. http://adage.com/article/campaign-trail/romney-outspent-obama-advertise/238241/

Quote:
Bargain buying
The Obama campaign was frank about expecting to be outspent in the fall. However, as the incumbent, and for lack of a primary challenger, it also had the luxury of time to plan for being outspent. That plan included 1) advertising heavily early in the race in order to define Romney before he defined himself, before the airwaves became saturated in the fall, and before ad rates really soared; and 2) laying down orders early. Not all of their early orders cleared at the original prices, but many did.

Once Labor Day passed and stations were required to charge candidates lower rates to advertise, Obama's dollars stretched further compared not only with the Republican outside groups that paid premium rates, but also -- somewhat surprisingly -- to the Romney campaign, which chose to retain more flexibility in what they bought and more certainty in what they paid in exchange for skipping opportunities to pay less.
Overall, I think Jon Stewart put it well. Paraphrasing. "Months and mega bucks later nothing has really changed."

Seems like a very poor "investment" particularly for the GOP and their associates.

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Old Nov 10, 2012, 11:10 AM   #10
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The article I read said that the GOTV Project ORCA was an internal campaign secret. They didn't want it to leak out that they had it so they never beta tested the site. Election day was the first time it was brought live.

As someone who works in IT, I can tell you that is hysterically incompetent!!!!

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Originally Posted by rdowns View Post
Can't find the article I read but it basically said financial expert Romney, who raised more money than Obama, wasn't able to get as many ads on the air as the Obama campaign managed their money a lot better. It also spoke to Romney paying his campaign people rates that were much higher than ever before thus leaving less money for ads and other campaign initiatives. Hardly the fiscal genius he tried to have us believe he was.
Romney gave out $200,000 bonuses to his top campaign staff. He ran his campaign like they do on wall street. Incompetently.
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 11:40 AM   #11
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The article I read said that the GOTV Project ORCA was an internal campaign secret. They didn't want it to leak out that they had it so they never beta tested the site. Election day was the first time it was brought live.

As someone who works in IT, I can tell you that is hysterically incompetent!!!!

Wow. Talk about flawed decision making. Glad he's nowhere near the White House.
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 01:41 PM   #12
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Too bad Romney didn't employ more community organizers.
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 02:01 PM   #13
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http://arstechnica.com/information-t...n-it-meltdown/

Another article on Orca (the IT "whale"). The comments come from a more technical audience, though not entirely devoid of partisanship.
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 03:34 PM   #14
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I dunno, I kind of blame the other guy for Obama's win. Objectively speaking, the GOP could have put almost any of their fools forward and won. Palin, Cain, Bachman, Perry, etc... it shouldnt' have mattered.
There's no way that those people could have won against Obama. None. The first one couldn't finish her term as Governor and didn't even step up to the plate this time, the others couldn't make it out of the starting gate and Bachman barely won her own reelection even with redistricting. A national stage would never have gone for her. Or any of the other ones. The best hope would have been Huntsman but he was driven out early on.

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Originally Posted by rdowns View Post
Can't find the article I read but it basically said financial expert Romney, who raised more money than Obama, wasn't able to get as many ads on the air as the Obama campaign managed their money a lot better. It also spoke to Romney paying his campaign people rates that were much higher than ever before thus leaving less money for ads and other campaign initiatives. Hardly the fiscal genius he tried to have us believe he was.
The story I saw on TV said Romney's campaign had bought ads on a more local level at higher rates rather then buy nationally at a cheaper one. And yeah, that doesn't make him look like such a great financial guy in hindsight does it?
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 07:30 PM   #15
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As much as I dislike the GOP, there are things that must be really terrible about being their candidate. It starts with an argument over who is the most conservative followed by a partial rebranding to ensure the candidate is palatable to swing state voters. At times I wish voting was compulsory so that part of the issue wasn't pandering to to extremists in hope of a strong turnout.
It's the only possible outcome when you have a two party system in a country of 311 million. Typically you'll find 5-10 parties in countries no larger than a single U.S. state. The number and diversity of demographics a US presidential candidate has to appeal to is staggering. The logical solution would be to keep the message very generic, broad and inclusive, but the GOP painted themselves into a corner by allowing the evangelical kooks to hijack the party, so now, if you want free market capitalism you also have to swallow the whole birthed/anti-gay/****-the-environment/creationism-in-schools-plz thing.
Only a shape-shifting alien can represent such a party, so Romney was actually the perfect candidate.

They could take the high road and refuse to kiss up to the extremists, and just go with a conservative message with broad appeal, but they're sooo afraid of failing to "energize the base". Well, if this so-called base is so dumb that they'd rather let the other side win than support a close-but-no-cigar candidate from their team, they deserve to live in gay Marxist Estados Unidos de America, world capital of abortions and 80% sales tax.

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The story I saw on TV said Romney's campaign had bought ads on a more local level at higher rates rather then buy nationally at a cheaper one. And yeah, that doesn't make him look like such a great financial guy in hindsight does it?
As Jon Stewart pointed out the other day, regarding the 8% failure of government investments in alternative energy (which Romney used to make a point about governments sucking at business), 22% of the companies that Romney invested in via Bain have gone bankrupt. And don't get me started on all the morons who poured astronomical amounts into Rove's SuperPAC. All they've done is demonstrate that some businessmen suck at investments...

Last edited by Anuba; Nov 10, 2012 at 07:44 PM.
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Old Nov 11, 2012, 11:54 AM   #16
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It's the only possible outcome when you have a two party system in a country of 311 million. Typically you'll find 5-10 parties in countries no larger than a single U.S. state. The number and diversity of demographics a US presidential candidate has to appeal to is staggering. The logical solution would be to keep the message very generic, broad and inclusive, but the GOP painted themselves into a corner by allowing the evangelical kooks to hijack the party, so now, if you want free market capitalism you also have to swallow the whole birthed/anti-gay/****-the-environment/creationism-in-schools-plz thing.
Only a shape-shifting alien can represent such a party, so Romney was actually the perfect candidate.
You've had the same two parties for a very long time with no others able to gain any kind of leverage at a national level. We've had third party candidates with some moderate amount of support. The electoral college system means that they'll never see votes at the national level. They might show up in the popular vote, yet it leaves the current parties in too comfortable of a position. I get what you're saying in that fixing this wouldn't immediately change everything. Apart from that, I don't see the GOP as a party of free market capitalism. They still support a large amount of corporate welfare. They simply favor different industries. They still show favoritism to certain defense contractors. I'd like to see how things settle at the moment.
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