By Amanda Litvinov/photo by ChrisMRichards
Mitt Romney is chalking up yesterday’s Republican primary wins in Arizona and Michigan as victories, but a closer look at the results quickly reveals that his campaign still doesn’t have much horsepower when it comes to motivating middle class voters.
When yesterday’s primary voters are divided by income, Mitt Romney won among those making six figures a year, but he lost with every other income group. His most revved up supporters are those who earn more than $200,000, the people whose interests are clearly protected in his economic proposals.
Romney narrowly won the popular vote in Michigan, but Santorum could also take a victory lap: This is a race for delegates, and as of this writing, it looks like Romney and runner-up Rick Santorum will end up with roughly an equal number of delegates. That’s certainly not a strong win for Romney considering this is the state where he grew up, where his father resuscitated General Motors and served as a popular governor, and most significantly, where he outspent Santorum 2 to 1.
Perhaps Romney’s recent wrong turns—flaunting his wealth while boasting that he has two Cadillacs at two different homes, and awkwardly attempting to relate to the everyman by mentioning he is friends with NASCAR owners—turned off some voters. But he had already veered off course much earlier, when he wrote these reckless words in November 2008: “Let Detroit go bankrupt.”
Romney was willing to let the U.S. auto industry fail, which would have put working families in Michigan and elsewhere on the road to ruin. Many economists discredit Romney’s defense that the industry could have resurrected itself with the help of private lenders, and the Obama administration’s actions to save U.S. automakers have been widely hailed successful. Three years later, GM is the world’s top auto company and Chrysler is posting profits for the first time in a decade. The industry has hired as many workers as were laid off during the recession and accounted for significant factory production gains last summer, a signifier that the American economy was recovering.
President Obama’s support of American workers extends far beyond Detroit and the state of Michigan. He recently thanked workers for saving the nation’s auto industry, and credited unions with forging “the American middle class — that great engine of prosperity, the greatest that the world has ever known.”
Obama said ultimately his decision to steer Detroit’s recovery was not a difficult one. “I placed my bet on the American worker,” he said. “And I’ll make that bet any day of the week.”
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