Top economist Stan Veuger of the American Enterprise Institute claims that Obama should’ve lost in 2012–and only won because of the IRS’s illegal harassment of Tea Party groups.
Though Congress is still investigating what exactly happened at the IRS–and who was involved–Veuger argues that the dampening effect on the Tea Party in 2012 would’ve been more than enough to throw the election to Obama.
The IRS played a critical role in dramatically slowing Tea Party growth in the run-up to the 2012 election. Starting in mid-2010, shortly before the Tea Party led conservatives to an unprecedented landslide victory in Congress, the IRS decided to single out Tea Party groups for extra scrutiny.
For the following two years, the IRS approved the applications of just 4 Tea Party groups–while sending hundreds of applicants into a byzantine approval process that took months, if not years, and cost many thousands of dollars. Time and money that these groups could have been dedicating towards 2012 election efforts.
Veuger explains how tremendous of an impact that is: “We compared areas with high levels of Tea Party activity [in 2010] to otherwise similar areas with low levels of Tea Party activity, using data from the Census Bureau, the FEC, news reports, and a variety of other sources. We found that the effect was huge: the movement brought the Republican Party some 3-6 million additional votes in House races.”
Obama’s margin of victory–across a much larger electorate–was just 5 million nationwide.
Basically, according to Veuger, “the bottom line is that the Tea Party movement, when properly activated, can generate a huge number of votes-more votes in 2010, in fact, than the vote advantage Obama held over Romney in 2012.”
“The data show that had the Tea Party groups continued to grow at the pace seen in 2009 and 2010, and had their effect on the 2012 vote been similar to that seen in 2010, they would have brought the Republican Party as many as 5 – 8.5 million votes compared to Obama’s victory margin of 5 million.”
Had Obama’s IRS not sucked the life out of the Tea Party movement, it’s possible that Mitt Romney–or perhaps another conservative candidate altogether–would be President of the United States right now, instead of Barack Obama.