By Bryan Caplan
The lessons people want to draw from Romney’s defeat:
1. He would have have won if he were more/less socially conservative.
2. He would have won if he were more/less economically conservative.
The lessons people should draw from Romney’s defeat:
1. He would have won if he were much more personally likeable.
2. He would have won if the economy tanked in the last three months before the election.
I say this even though I (a) strongly favor less socially conservative policies, (b) strongly favor more economically conservative policies, (c) dislike all politicians – especially the “likeable” ones, and (d) scrupulously avoid myopic retrospective evaluations.