There was a particular moment when John McCain lost the presidency. No, it wasn’t when he chose Sarah Palin.
It was when President Bush called for a Wall St bail-out. Up to that point, McCain and Obama were pretty much tied. The Wall St bail-out from the start was very unpopular with voters. If McCain had strongly opposed it, he would have separated himself from the dead weight of association with Bush, he would have made it clear he was for the average person rather than the elite, and, most important, would have done the right thing. Unfortunately, McCain didn’t know anything at all about economics, so he did what he thought was his duty and threw away the race.
There wasn’t any one moment in the last race like this, but Romney also failed to reach low income voters, the very people who have suffered the most from the tragic mistakes and crony capitalism of the Bush and Obama presidencies. He was painted as both an elitist and a crony capitalist by Obama and never completely shook off the charge. He then lost because millions of low income voters who were expected to vote for him did not come to the polls. Romney made some tentative steps in the right direction. He actually said, “You’ve got to stop the spread of crony capitalism.” But then he held back. He held back because he didn’t believe it, or didn’t want to offend, or didn’t want to offend donors, or for some other reason.
In the article below, Victor Davis Hanson does an excellent job of describing what a truly populist Republican candidate would look like.