This is not to bash Mitt Romney. He personally elevated his game in the last month, and he is a decent man. But his failures here were eminently predictable. Oh, by the final week, I thought he had overcome his problem in this area, almost by default. But I was wrong then -- because I was right all throughout last year and through the winter and spring of this year. In a very long blog post, here was one of my key paragraphs:
But it is the blue-collar worker, or small-business retailer, who (polls show) votes more often on cultural cues (not necessarily social issues per se, although that is sometimes the case, but more on stylistic cultural cues and concerns) than on other factors. Again, this is obviously a gross over-generalization (as is most 30,000-foot-level political socio-analysis), but these are indeed, as Rick Santorum keeps saying, the people who swing elections in states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Missouri. The are far more likely to swing behind Santorum (or Gingrich, or Perry) than behind the stiff rich guy with a "weird" religion and no middle-cultural social affinities ("shooting... small varmints" and flipping on homosexual "marriage").
Romney's campaign never fixed that problem. Given Romney's background, personality, and demeanor, it might have been impossible to do so, even with the best of campaign messages and tactics. but there it is: Disaffected white voters stayed home rather than vote for Romney, even though such people usually will turn out to vote against the guy in power who they usually blame for their less-than-ideal economic/other circumstances. They were not going to vote for Obama no matter what, not because of his race but because he had produced poor results. If they had voted, they would have voted against Obama. But Romney never "connected" with them, so they didn't vote. That's why the election was lost.