Feature

How Obama won

And what, if anything, McCain could have done differently to save his campaign

President-elect Barack Obama made history on Tuesday, said John Dickerson in Slate, but “so did his strategists.” Team Obama designed and relentlessly executed a plan that carried him through a “brutal primary and general election” and pulled in “a host of new voters.” Obama out-organized, outspent, and “out-hustled” John McCain in key states like Ohio, where he won over working-class whites. He beat McCain among women by 14 points.

Obama also won a formidable, modern "multiracial coalition” that should make Republicans nervous, said Ben Smith and Jonathan Martin in Politico, including urban and suburban Hispanics, Jews, African Americans, and young whites. That said, racism “turned out to be a footnote.” Obama’s use of cutting-edge technology also swamped McCain.

“Any presidential victory is partly personal,” too, said The Wall Street Journal in an editorial, and McCain couldn’t match “Obama’s rhetorical skills and unique appeal.” Of course those skills allowed him to “disguise the details of what was the most left-of-center Democratic agenda since the early 1970s.” He enacts that agenda at his peril.

Yes, Obama’s “ability to adapt to circumstances and make everything sound moderate and reasonable” helped him, said Philip Klein in The American Spectator, but many Republicans still blame McCain for blowing the election. That’s unfair. He made some serious blunders, but voters blame Bush and the GOP for the economy, and “no Republican could have won under these conditions.”

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