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Mitt Romney can take some solace in his devastating loss on Nov. 6: at least he won the voters who really count. That's the thesis anyway of top adviser Stuart Stevens, who penned an op-ed in the Washington Post on Wednesday arguing that by winning wealthier and whiter voters, Romney secured the moral victory over Obama. "On Nov. 6, Mitt Romney carried the majority of every economic group except those with less than $50,000 a year in household income," Stevens wrote. "That means he carried the majority of middle-class voters. While John McCain lost white voters under 30 by 10 points, Romney won those voters by seven points, a 17-point shift." According to Stevens, "The Republican Party has problems, but as we go forward, let's remember that any party that captures the majority of the middle class must be doing something right." As a result, "Republican ideals -- Mitt Romney -- carried the day." The implied argument that poorer votes are inferior seems to undercut the campaign's central message over the last two years: that Romney's top concern was providing jobs for the jobless. The unemployed Americans Romney highlighted in ads, speeches and photo-ops make under $50,000 a year almost by definition and campaign videos like the one below are jarring next to Stevens' latest piece.
Stevens notably never mentioned jobs and unemployment in his op-ed, instead focusing on how Romney championed "the moral case for free enterprise and conservative economics." Unfortunately for Romney, poor and minority votes counted just the same as the allegedly superior votes Stevens favored. The result was an electoral college blowout for the president powered by strong turnout and margins among young voters, Latinos, African Americans, and women. But Stevens had an explanation for that, too. Obama was "a charismatic African American president with a billion dollars, no primary and a media that often felt morally conflicted about being critical. How easy is that to replicate?" This post has been updated.