You knew if Mitt Romney lost, this would be a possibility. The election would be just too close for it not to have a chance at happening. And now it has: Obama got 51% of the popular vote; Romney (drumroll, please) .. 47%.
Votes are still being tabulated, and some have thrown out Bizarro Superman theories of how Romney could actually (technically! maybe!) still emerge triumphant. But that’s all irrelevant. Because not only do we know Obama won, handily: unofficial tabulations indicate Romney’s final vote likely will be less than 47.5%. And what do you get when you round down that figure, mathletes? 47%: The number Mitt Romney used to (wrongly) characterize almost half the country as deadbeats.
The statements were made May 17. But the tape of the $50,000/plate fundraiser where he said them came out about 4 months later–and about two weeks after one of the worst-run, least effective conventions ever held by a major political party, where an empty chair upstaged the candidate.
In the tapes, Romney was heard telling his donors that the 47%
“were dependent upon government”
And that they
“believe that they are victims”
And believe that
“government has a responsibility to care for them”
“they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing to you name it.”
Mind you, he wasn’t just insensitive. He was wrong. The entitled, the poor that he described were mostly retired or working low-pay jobs. Oh, and most did pay federal taxes in the form of payroll taxes. So … whoops.
The quote didn’t, on its own, kill Romney’s chances. But for many voters, it unmistakably conveyed the worldview of a man unable to see that a member of the middle-class or the working poor might be just as hard-working, just as determined, as someone from his own privileged demographic.
Romney spent the last days of the campaign insisting that he cared about 100% of Americans. But with the popular vote counted, that fateful number 47% is stuck to him forever. A perfect irony.