And young people rebelled at being written off as society's leeches. They are working full time for poverty wages or desperate for jobs that don't exist, part of that sponger demographic — the 47% — that Romney privately mocked.
I don't know if it's mean-spirited, shortsighted or simply wishful thinking, but the Republican Party is pandering to a base that is rapidly shrinking in a country that's learning to tune them out.
It would be nice to think that this botched campaign reflects the pull of the party's fringe, and is easily correctable.
But the GOP has been tacking right for decades. Obama's ascent to the presidency just escalated the phenomenon by helping to launch the tea party wing, whose mission was getting him out of office.
According to Emory University professor Alan Abramowitz, who has studied the tea party for years, that ultra-conservative activist segment now dominates the Republican Party.
Tea party folks donate more money, attend more meetings and rallies, and pester elected officials more than other party regulars. They are rabidly against abortion and gay marriage and tend to hold hostile attitudes toward blacks and gays.
And more than half of Republicans — 63% of party stalwarts — consider themselves supporters of the tea party movement.
That explains why the muscle-flexing of the "new America" in this election drove party leaders bonkers.
There was Karl Rove on Tuesday night, having a temper tantrum when Fox News called Ohio — and the race — for President Obama. Rove had funneled hundreds of millions of dollars to Republican candidates and had very little to show for it.
And there was Bill O'Reilly whining that this country is "not a traditional America anymore," implying that Republicans value hard work and fair play, and those other people just "want stuff."
And Morris, excusing his roundly mocked projection of a Romney landslide by admitting that the "new America" caught him by surprise.
He thought that the election four years ago was nothing but a "one-off," that voter-turnout demographics would "go back to 2004," he said.
I guess he figured the groups that cinched Obama's first term — minorities, women, young people — were only there for the party.
Which means Republicans weren't beaten only by arithmetic this time. They lost through willful blindness.