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It happened again. For the second time in the 21st century, a candidate the majority disliked became president. The only difference was that this time the margin of victory wasn’t 537 votes, but 1. In 2012 Mitt Romney became the nominee against incumbent Barack Obama. Obama was the favorite to win, and in the months before the election he led the polls by large margins. Everything changed when Gary Johnson started his campaign. Johnson wasn’t interested with winning votes, but focused only on swing states where he could take votes from Obama and help Romney. “Better a red than a blue”, after all. Although Romney’s large debate wins and successful interviews combined with Johnson’s aggressive campaign closed the gap, the final two weeks indicated a totally unpredictable race. Obama led the polls in the popular vote, but the projections showed a tight race hinging on the states of Minnesota and Wisconsin, with Romney needing both two win. When the polls closed, however, nobody expected the results that came in. Of the Romney leaning states, Obama flipped Oregon and Nevada by slim margins. Obama defended Michigan and Virginia by under 1%, and picked up the swing state of Minnesota. These upset Obama wins made Romney’s position very weak, and the early polls showed what looked to be an Obama landslide. However, election night was far from over. Romney gained in swing states as the night progressed, and received vital victories in Ohio and Florida, both of which he carried by under 1%. These wins kept him in contention, and his upsets in New Hampshire and Wisconsin gave him a slim chance to pull through. With both candidates neck and neck, and many states flipping in huge upsets, the election came down to the state of North Carolina. The initial results out of North Carolina had Romney ahead by 1,395 votes, which triggered an automatic recount. This, combined with absentee and military ballots, slimmed Romney’s lead down to 1 vote. With this razor-thin margin the state chose to cease counting ballots, and a Supreme Court decision voted 5-4 to uphold the 1 vote lead. Romney lost the popular vote by 1%, but became the 45th president by narrowly winning several states. Many regarded Gary Johnson as a spoiler candidate in this election. His decision to spend the final weeks campaigning in North Carolina and Florida are blamed for the states’ flipping for Romney. Subsequent polls and historians have questioned whether Obama would have won without Johnson being in the election, but no proof of the spoiler effect has been found in the election of 2012. Despite his defeat, Obama railed against the unfair result, and began preparation for a return to the White House in 2016.
The Historical Scenario Commission updates for 1992-2020 are now completed! The HSC has updated 1788-2020; thus, all of our elections are now playable with many what-if options, events, endorsers, etc. This concludes this round of updates. *Note: There will be one last "Final" update, which will likely take up all of 2018 to finish. This final update will go over every minute detail of these scenarios, perfecting and improving them. Your feedback will help towards this update. I hope some of you will volunteer. Only fully committed, determined forum users apply.