Real reason for the Republican wave: Mitt Romney's endorsements! (says Romney's pals)

Mitt Romney's allies are contrasting his endorsement record to Hillary Clinton's. Is he serious?

By Jim Newell
Published November 11, 2014 4:21PM (EST)
Mitt Romney                          (Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)
Mitt Romney (Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)

Every analysis you've read about why the Democratic Party fared so poorly last Tuesday night has been wrong.

You've surely read hundreds of opinions by now, loyal Internet reader. It was Obama's unpopularity dragging everyone down. Democratic candidates were weak. The red/purple Senate battleground map was suffocating. There was a revolt in blue states against taxes. Democrats ran on nothing. Democrats weren't progressive enough. Democrats were too liberal. Democrats were too focused on flogging social issues; not enough time was spent on developing a coherent economic agenda. Minimum wage increases are popular but not central to said lacking coherent economic agenda. Republicans didn't nominate as many doofuses this time. Mainstream liberalism has no solutions for the tectonic geopolitical shifts decoupling productivity gains from wage increases. Money, in, politics. Benghazi.

A load of hokum, all of it. The reason that the Republican candidates did so well on Tuesday night was because former one-term Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney endorsed so many of them.

This is the line that Mitt Romney's weird friends, who insist on "laying the foundation" for a third presidential run with or without his consent, are trying to push. "A group of Romney supporters," according to the Washington Post, "began circulating a memo" shortly after the election. Circulating to whom? Commuters on the subway? No one ever knows. Presumably some sort of important circle of Republican political people, who circulate paper in their circle and then into wider, concentric circles, until the paper reaches an outer circle into which a Washington Post reporter is plugged in and may "obtain" it.

The circulated memo showed that 66 percent of the 76 candidates whom Romney endorsed won their midterm elections. Again, this has nothing to do with them being Republicans in a Republican year. The Republican Party was nothing, and these candidates known to nobody, until the Mittster issued press releases on their behalf. Concerned voters nationwide considered their local voting guide pamphlets but were still perplexed. Where did they turn? To Google, to see which candidates had been endorsed by Mitt Romney. That's how they made their decisions. These findings are backed by science, data and math, all of it.

Like most things in politics for the next two to 10 (to infinity) years, the Romney allies' claiming of credit on behalf of their man for the 2014 Republican Wave is part of a larger narrative about Hillary Clinton. This was the intention of the circulated memo about "winning percentages" of people who weren't running for anything. The same memo also showed that of the 39 candidates Hillary Clinton endorsed, only 33 percent went on to win. Again: Hillary Clinton's low percentage may have something to do with the fact that Republicans swept most of the close races this cycle, because they weren't actually close, because the cycle was favorable to them? Pfft, no. What it means is that Mitt Romney is twice the political force that Hillary Clinton is. It's right there in the numbers -- 66 percent to 33 percent. Mitt Romney is going to beat Hillary Clinton by 33 percentage points in the 2016 presidential election.

Is Mitt Romney going to run for president? It's getting to that point where we may have to confront the possibility that Mitt Romney is running for president. Sure, these are just some data geek "allies" of Romney who may have freelanced this statistical analysis without his permission. He doesn't seem to be stopping them from pumping him up, though.

The whole Jeb-or-Mitt thing may be real. It may all be happening, the jostle over the "default 'reasonable' humanoid whom Wall Street people like and therefore represents something front-runner-esque" slot. From the Post:

According to three Republicans who spoke on the condition of anonymity to be candid, Romney’s associates are convinced that if former Florida governor Jeb Bush does not run, Romney could consider another White House bid. He has told friends that he feels positive about the likely GOP field, but also worries that many of the contenders may not have what it takes to beat Clinton.

Sure, but many of the contenders may have what it takes to beat Mitt Romney.

Jim Newell

Jim Newell covers politics and media for Salon.

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2014 Elections 2016 Elections Editor's Picks Endorsements Hillary Clinton Jeb Bush Mitt Romney Mittmentum