When all the votes are counted, could Mitt Romney really end up achieving perfect poetic justice by finishing with 47 percent of the national vote? Yup. Dave Wasserman of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report says new votes in from Maryland put Romney at 47.56 percent. He predicts with certainty that with all of New York and California counted, Romney will end up below 47.5 percent of the vote.
Rounded, of course, that would put the final tally at 51-47. Anticipating this moment, Markos Moulitsas has inaugurated the “Romney 47 percent watch.”
At risk of piling on, a 47 percent finish would represent a perfect conclusion to the Romney political saga. If Romney ran a campaign of unprecedented dishonesty and lack of transparency, virtually all of it was geared towards misleading people about the true nature of his — and his party’s — actual beliefs and governing agenda. This was the case on multiple fronts, from Romney’s dissembling about the size of the tax cut he’d give to the rich, to his evasions about the overhaul he and Paul Ryan planned for the safety net, to the obscuring of the massive upward redistribution of wealth represented by the Ryan agenda — the GOP’s central governing blueprint for nation’s fiscal and economic future.
It was fitting that Romney himself unmasked his own apparent beliefs and the broader ideological implications of the larger GOP agenda and the ideas driving it — in private remarks to those who would likely benefit from his policies most. As Jonathan Chait put it at the time:
This is not a random gaffe, a joke gone bad, or even a terrible brain freeze. It is Romney exposed for espousing a worldview that is at the heart of his party’s mania. The idea he summed up at that fund-raiser was a combination of right-wing fever dreams ...the Ayn Randism, the fact-free class warfare, the frantic rage at a changing America. The Republican Party is going down because its candidate was seen advocating exactly the beliefs that make the party so dangerous and repellant.
Romney’s widely criticized post-election remarks — in which he claimed Obama won by giving core Dem constituencies “gifts” — were essentially a reprise of the 47 percent remarks. Romney reiterated in overly blunt terms what many Republicans and conservatives have been saying for years — and got disemboweled by his own party after detailing these views out loud, a fitting coda to his candidacy.
And consider the numbers themselves. The Romney victory was always based on the hope that a whiter-than-2008 electorate would ensure that Obama’s victory was a demographic fluke. Yet Obama’s constituencies — many of whom make up Romney’s fabled 47 percent — turned out to add up to the majority, confirming that these ongoing changes are real and inexorable, a sign of what America is really becoming. If Romney’s described electorate — the job creators and the makers of America who were supposed to be enraged at all the moochers and the takers — ends up totalling 47 percent, we will have come full circle.