In his sour-grapes postmortem of the 2012 presidential race, Republican Mitt Romney attributed his decisive defeat to expensive policy "gifts" that President Obama doled out to Democratic constituencies: African-Americans, Latinos, and young voters.
Stories in the Los Angeles Times and The New York Times smartly point out the problems with his argument. For instance, "Obama won several key states without large cities or minority populations," wrote Maeve Reston of the Los Angeles Times. "And he did so in part by asserting that it was Romney who was planning to disburse gifts--by virtue of a budget plan that included tax breaks heavily skewed toward the wealthy."
So let's take a moment to thank Romney for the gifts he bestowed upon voters in his failed campaign.
1) The race card. It arrived by air, not mail, but it was nonetheless a campaign hallmark when Romney's team falsely accused Obama of gutting welfare-to-work legislation signed by President Clinton. The Romney campaign knowingly exploited the anxieties of some white, working-class voters who see welfare as a handout to minorities (despite the fact that more whites than blacks get government assistance).
2) Class war. Another gift that wouldn't stop giving, Romney declared that his campaign wouldn't worry about the 47 percent of the electorate that was unlikely to vote for him because they paid no income taxes and were dependent on the government. Yes, there is an element of racial politics in this cynical construct, but we won't look a gift horse in the mouth. Fittingly, Romney finished with about 47 percent of the vote.